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While occasional heartburn, or acid reflux, is normal after indulging in rich food, it doesn’t have to be a part of daily life. If you’re regularly popping antacids, it’s time to change up your game. Antacids aren’t discriminatory enough and shouldn’t be relied on to cure your problem. You need a balance of digestive acids to have a healthy stomach and antacids kill all stomach acids, which can actually make your reflux worse.
Instead, keep a stash of natural acid reflux remedies in the household so you can consume them regularly to manage the “bad” acid and leave the good stuff alone to help you break down food and toxins.
Juicing celery helps flush the entire digestive tract of problematic acids. Try juicing it up with ginger (see below) for even more relief. If you have chronic indigestion, try having celery juice once a day for a month to see if you notice any relief.
There’s a reason you crave ginger ale when your stomach is upset. Ginger has proven anti-nausea benefits, as it reduces bloating and helps the body expel gas and aggravated acids in the stomach. To brew it up in tea, coarsely chop one ginger root about the size of the average adult thumb, steep it in 6-8 ounces of boiling water for 5 minutes. Feel free to add honey to sweeten it up. Drink this soothing tea daily to help moderate your symptoms.
To get the benefit of celery and ginger at once, make this soothing juice as a preventative measure or when you start to experience symptoms.
3 ribs celery, washed and cut into thirds
1 medium-sized chunk of ginger root (3-4 inches long)
Note that the carrot and the apple also help balance stomach acids, but are mostly there for flavor. If you can handle the bitterness of the celery and ginger alone, go for it. This will make a very small glass of juice (about 3 ounces), easy to down in one dose.
3. Warm Water
When it comes to any type of indigestion, water is your friend. Often, digestive imbalance is caused by dehydration, lack of sleep, stress and poor diet. Rather than reaching for your GERD medicine, fill a microwave-safe 12-ounce with water and warm it in the microwave for just under a minute, until it’s lukewarm. Drink it down as quickly as possible. As the water works its way through your esophagus and stomach, it helps your body naturally cleanse itself. Try following it up with another glass of warm water in the same dose after you use the restroom.
Chamomile, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways. Often, stress plays a huge factor in IBS and indigestion. Chamomile has calming properties that also has some benefits for your digestion. Drink a soothing cup of chamomile tea after every meal. Try using the dried blooms for a more concentrated dose. If not, there are plenty of varieties of tea. Throw in some fresh mint for even more digestive relief.
5. Eat Smaller Meals
Pain is one of the body’s natural defense systems. When you experience discomfort, your body is literally telling you something. If you only have acid reflux symptoms after you eat, you may be over doing it. Start reducing your portion sizes for your largest meal of the day (for most of us, this is dinner). Stop going for second servings regularly and cut down on side orders at restaurants. Slowly, you will notice a difference.
6. Probiotic Supplements
A stomach overrun with digestive acids has a much harder time maintaining a balance of healthy bacteria. As you head down the path to managing your acid reflux, you may need to take a consistent regimen of probiotics for 6 months to a year. Try this: because each supplement contains different varieties of flora, get two different types and alternate them to give yourself a healthy mix.
7. Digestive Enzymes
If you love your coffee or your craft beer (no judgment!), the sugar and acid you’re consuming could naturally upsetting the balance of healthy digestive juices. So, supplement them. Enzymes also helps increase your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, something else that acid reflux diminishes. Keep chewable papaya enzymes in your desk or your purse, and look for a supplement that contains natural bile (bile helps you break down food), papaya, pineapple, and other ingredients that support digestion like ginger, aloe vera and pepsin.
If you’re serious about fixing your tummy, get serious about at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Your body processes toxins while you’re sleeping and pushes them out through your renal system. When you disrupt that process, those toxins, carried in the lymph system, essentially (and this is a vast oversimplification) remain stagnant. Also, a lack of sleep can make you feel hungry, which can in turn case you to overeat. If you need help sleeping, melatonin supplements can help. If it’s a chronic issue, it’s really time to see a doctor and discuss a sensible protocol to get your sleep schedule back on track.
9. Modify your Diet
Yes, you have to change the way you eat. Embrace it as fact. It is what it is. It doesn’t make you a bad person, and it’s not a judgment, but it is time to confront the reality that your acid reflux isn’t going anywhere until you eat differently.
Here are the 10 Commandments of good eating to follow to prevent acid reflux.
1. Never eat in front of the T.V.
2. Eat at least two hours before bedtime.
3. Avoid desserts before bed.
4. Avoid fast foods, processed foods, and fried foods.
5. Avoid caffeine.
6. Avoid processed foods high in fat and sugar.
7. Eat more slowly.
8. Avoid alcohol.
9. Stay hydrated.
10. Keep to a regular meal schedule as much as possible.
Yes, these are lifestyle changes. Your health matters. Make them gradually and make note of which ones have the biggest impact for you.
10. Fiber Supplements or High-Fiber Foods
Dietary fiber is like a sponge that pulls unwanted toxins and acid out of the body on its way through. Very few of us get the recommended 20-30 grams of fiber/day. Bottom line for IBS sufferers: Get a fiber supplement and make sure you’re eating enough high-fiber foods every day.
Managing indigestion is easy if it’s occasional. If it’s chronic, it’s time to take some inventory, make some minor lifestyle changes and invest in some natural remedies for your acid reflux so you can live a more comfortable and productive life.
Have questions? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.