Heartburn is a uncomfortable burning sensation in the throat or chest just behind the breastbone. It is due to acid reflux, in which stomach acid leaks into the esophagus. This generally occurs due to incomplete closing of the valve between the esophagus and the stomach. People suffering from heartburn may have a bitter taste in mouth, and feel sick and bloated. Some people have sleep problem, and a dry cough (especially at night). Heartburn often occurs after a heavy meal, and is more likely after lying down or bend over. Common causes of heartburn include foods such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, onions, garlic, vinegar, and anything fatty and spicy. Anxiety, insomnia, obesity, pregnancy, wearing tight clothes, excessive smoking and drinking alcohol, and stress also contribute to heartburn.
See also: Acid Reflux
- Burning sensation in chest moving up towards the throat.
- Usually occurs after eating and sometime at night.
- Sensation that food is coming back into the mouth.
- Bitter taste at the back of the throat.
- Pain worsens when lying down or bending over.
Home Remedies for Heartburn
- Almonds: Eat few almonds when having heartburn. You can also take almond milk. Almond neutralizes stomach acids that cause heartburn.
- Banana: Eat banana for relieving heartburn. Bananas are particularly beneficial as they have natural antacid effect.
- Milk: Drink a glass of chilled milk which is a quick remedy for heartburn.
- Lime juice and baking soda: Add 10 drops lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon organic sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (at last) into 1 cup of water and drink immediately to neutralize heartburn.
- Rice pudding: Eat a bowl of rice pudding made with milk which helps to absorb stomach acid.
- Ginger and honey: Taking ginger root with honey after meal is also effective.
- Aloe vera and baking soda: Take 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel with a pinch of baking soda for immediate relief.
Do’s for Heartburn
- Include whole grains, raw vegetables, and raw nuts and seeds in your diet. The essential nutrient and fiber helps in relieving gastric symptoms and also helps to heal gastric mucosa.
- Drink 8-10 glasses of water a day to neutralize the excess acidity in the stomach and maintain good digestive health.
- Eat small, regular meals rather than occasional big meals.
- After eating, stay upright; take a walk.
- Consider weight loss, if you are overweight.
- Sleep with your head raised, which help to prevent acid reflux.
- Manage stress level by practicing deep breathing exercise, and meditation. The release of cortisol hormone during stress affects the acid level of the stomach making acid reflux worst.
Don’ts for Heartburn
- Avoid saturated fats, hydrogenated oils, fried and greasy foods, processed foods, heavy sauces, and red meat.
- Minimize or cut out citrus fruit (such as oranges, lemon, grapefruit), tomatoes, mint, onions, garlic, vinegar, green and red peppers. Pay attention to see if symptoms flare up when eating these foods.
- Avoid caffeine, chocolate, alcohol and carbonated drinks.
- Avoid hot spicy food, pickles, and fermented food.
- Don’t wear tight-fitting clothes or belts.
- Don’t smoke; it may aggravate heartburn.
- Don’t sit hunched up at your desk; this will encourage heartburn. Try not bend or stoop over.
- Never go to bed or lie down immediately after a meal which tends to aggravate the symptoms. Stay up for three hours before bedtime.
- Symptoms become worse, or do not improve after a week or two.
- Getting recurrent bouts of heartburn.
See doctor immediately if:
- Having prolonged chest pain, sweating, and shortness of breath.
- Blood in vomiting or passing black stools.
- Have difficulty in swallowing.