Most of us are used to grabbing anti-acids at the local corner store these days and don’t even ask the advice of a healthcare practitioner and we self-diagnose. While these over-the-counter anti-acids are effective; they may not actually solve the underlying issue in the long-term. There are quite a few alternative remedies, which can address what is becoming more prevalent - acid reflux is now thought to be more often caused by having not enough acid in your stomach, rather than having too much. Standard over the counter remedies only temporarily address the symptoms.
Whether you've overindulged in a spicy dish, rich or fatty foods, there are natural remedies that soothe heartburn. It is important to note that the contents of your stomach are supposed to be acidic in order to facilitate the breakdown and proper digestion of food. Unfortunately antacids are not the solution in many cases as they neutralise stomach acid.
One of the most important things to take into consideration is how you start your day. Ditch the early morning coffee and start the day with a glass of clean water with freshly squeezed lemon juice. This is one of the best ways to help the body naturally balance acidity levels.
Look out for liquorice, which has natural stomach soothing and healing properties. Please note that if you have high blood pressure it is important to use only DGL liquorice, as normal liquorice has blood pressure elevating effects. There are also natural liquorice tablets that one can chew before meals as an alternative to supplementation. Always consult a qualified healthcare practitioner before commencing supplementation.
One of the best remedies is aloe. Aloe is known for its burns treating properties. Aloe Vera juice helps to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract and soothe the throat and stomach lining. It is recommended to drink it before meals, but in a pinch drink a sip or two after a meal if you are in distress. Just be sure that whatever brand you invest in has had the laxative component removed.
Slippery elm is a remedy with which I have seen excellent results with. Slippery elm helps soothe and thicken the mucosal linings of the digestive tract. Slippery elm works by coating the digestive tract. Interestingly Slippery elm also contains antioxidants that may treat other inflammatory bowel conditions. One of the other effects of Slippery elm is that it helps increase mucus secretion, and in time it will help protect the gastrointestinal tract against ulcers and excess acidity. Always consult a qualified healthcare practitioner before commencing supplementation.
If you are really struggling with low acidity then consider betaine hydrochloride. Follow the instructions on the packaging carefully. Betaine hydrochloride aids the digestive process. Always consult a qualified healthcare practitioner before commencing supplementation.
At the end of the day, if you struggle with recurrent heartburn there are a number of dietary changes that have to be made in order to ensure that you reduce the occurrence of heartburn. Cut out all sugary foods, cut out all processed or refined items. The next most common offenders are caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. So ditch the coffee and cigarettes and the glass of wine.
Try not to upset the bacterial balance in your stomach and digestive tract. Include the following in your diet: eat plenty of vegetables, fruit and other good quality organic foods. It is important to eat foods that help the bacterial balance in the digestive tract. An excellent choice is Tempeh, which is made from naturally fermented soybeans and as an added bonus it also contains all the essential amino acids. Also try Miso, a fermented paste made from barley, rice or soybeans and Kefir a fermented milk drink.
Please be aware that if you struggle with heartburn or acid reflux more than twice a week then you may be struggling with a more serious problem. Make sure you see a gastroenterologist to ensure that you are not suffering from GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). GERD is a serious condition where the acids from the stomach travel back up into the oesophagus causing inflammation, irritation and scarring, and this can cause narrowing of the oesophagus. The symptoms of GERD include hoarseness, burning, irritation, nausea, and coughing, wheezing, food getting stuck in the oesophagus and eroded tooth enamel.
As always hopefully some of these natural alternatives and dietary changes help address the issue. And as ever consult a qualified healthcare practitioner, who knows your medical history, before commencing any supplementation.
About The Author:
After eight years in the retail side of the health industry, much accumulation of knowledge and information I changed industries completely and gone back to my graphic design roots. I still wish to help inform people on natural alternatives, as well as help people when they are choosing to use natural alternatives to treat disorders, diseases and distresses.
(Read more posts by Charlie)