After a delicious meal and a festive family get together, there is nothing worse than the debilitating discomfort of heartburn. It’s that burning sensation in your chest, just behind your breastbone. Heartburn can easily be triggered by the foods that you eat, especially those that are fatty, spicy, or highly acidic. No matter what the cause is, it is undoubtedly inconvenient and extremely uncomfortable. Heartburn that occurs occasionally is no cause for alarm. However, when it recurs frequently you may want to have that examined by your doctor.
Our favourite digestive aids and remedies for fast relief from heartburn include:
Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw, cloudy, unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy for heartburn. Taken before a meal, apple cider vinegar does help to prevent heartburn from occurring, but it can also be taken acutely when you feel the burn. Mix 1 tbsp in room temperature water and swallow quickly. Note that if you have a stomach ulcer, apple cider vinegar is not appropriate as it will exacerbate your symptoms.
Licorice root supplements (sadly, not the same thing as licorice sweets) are commonly used to manage heartburn. Believed to help increase the mucous coating of your oesophageal lining, licorice protects your oesophagus from being damaged by stomach acid whilst providing relief. Note that taking licorice supplements or deglyceyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) supplements may elevate your blood pressure slightly so it is not safe if you already have elevated blood pressure.
It’s well known that ginger helps to relieve nausea, but did you know that you could use it to provide relief from heartburn too? You can make a soothing ginger tea by mixing raw ginger root or ginger tea bags in boiling water. Alternatively consider adding grated ginger to your favourite meal to prevent heartburn in the first place.
Indigestion and heartburn may occur when your stomach is struggling to fully break down your meal. To counter this, you may supplement with digestive enzymes to take the burden off of your stomach juices.
Aloe Vera is a gel-like liquid that is very soothing for the lining of your digestive tract, and helps prevent further inflammation. Ideally take half a cup before your meal if you suspect you may develop heartburn, but it can also be taken acutely.
Siberian Pine Nut Oil
Siberian pine nut oil is made up of fatty acids that are anti-inflammatory, healing and protective for your stomach lining. As an effective antioxidant, Siberian Pine Nut Oil has also been known to help erradicate H Pylori infections (a common cause of reflux and stomach ulcers).
Bicarbonate of Soda
This is a remedy you almost certainly have in your pantry, right now. Also known as baking soda, bicarb is a natural antacid. Take 1 tsp of baking soda in a glass of water to neutralize stomach acid and temporarily alleviate your heartburn. Simple and effective.
Other Quick Tips
After the festive season, our digestive systems may be a little “out of whack”, so you may experience more indigestion than usual. It you are struggling with heartburn regularly then some quick diet tips are to avoid excess caffeine and alcohol, deep fried foods, refined flour and sugar, canned foods, and even raw tomatoes. You may also want to wear loose clothing to prevent any pressure on your stomach. Finally, you should also avoid lying down until 2 – 3 hours after your meal.
When heartburn strikes, there are many home remedies and lifestyle adjustments that can provide you with much needed relief. Prevention is always going to be preferable, however, so make sure to take note of the quick tips provided above.