Thursday, June 4, 2009

Natural Remedies for Acid Reflux

My husband and other members of his family have been long-time sufferers of acid reflux. And despite my best efforts to help him control his heartburn through some small diet changes, he continues to take a daily dose of medication against my better judgement. I am back on a kick again.

As I have done a bit of reading about natural remedies for acid reflux, it is clear that there are lots of thoughts on the subject and that no "one-size-fits-all" solution has yet to be identified. In fact, most experts say that you need to experiment and see what works for you. If one remedy doesn't seem to help try the next.

Below is a list of 10 home remedies you may want to try. Keep in mind that these are not medically proven solutions, but may be worth a shot.

1. Drink a glass of milk. Even though opinions differ on whether it should be whole or skim milk, this is an accepted and often recommended measure for immediate relief for heartburn and acid reflux.

2. Drink water. The water will dilute the stomach acid and wash down anything that might be planning on defying gravity, so a big glass ort wo of water after your meal might do the trick.

3. Chew almonds. A few almonds, taken in the morning and/or after meals, chewed very well, have been hailed as the new miracle treatment for acid reflux by some people.

4. Chamomile or fennel tea. The soothing effects of chamomile or fennel tea are also known to provide acid reflux relief. The tea should best be sipped, not gulped, and should be of a moderate temperature, not too hot or cold.

5. Eat an apple. Eating an apple after a meal has also been found to alleviate acid reflux. Choose organic apples and chew well.

6. Candied ginger. Chew a piece when you're feeling the acid reflux kick in. You can also put a piece of candied ginger in your tea and let it sit for a bit before drinking it if you don't like eating candied ginger.

7. Apple cider vinegar. Swallow two to three table spoons undiluted for an acute attack, or dissolve the same amount in warm water to drink to prevent acid reflux from recurring.
Note: Concerns with swallowing undiluted vinegar include the fact that it can start to eat away tooth enamel. Our recent post on fruit juice/honey apple cider vinegar by Body Ami recommends diluting a few teaspoons with 8 or more ounces of water.

8. Papaya enzyme. Available in the form of papaya enzyme pills, this enzyme has helped end acid reflux symptoms for some people.

9. Aloe. Despite its consistency which takes some getting used to, aloe juice also is some acid reflux patients favorite remedy.

10. Chew gum. After your meals, chew sugarless gum for 30 minutes. This stimulates saliva production which in turn like water that you drink dilutes the contents of your stomach and helps wash down anything from your esophagus into your stomach.

I also read that eating a piece of celery before and after a meal helped one person. Hey, why not try it!

I personally feel that diet is the key to controlling acid reflux and often press on this point when discussing this issue with my husband. It makes sense that a more alkalizing diet (mainly fruits and veggies) would at least help relieve this constant heartburn. Below is a table of foods that should be avoided as you try to get your acid reflux under control.

Foods To Avoid

Fruit • Orange juice • Lemon • Lemonade • Grapefruit juice • Cranberry juice• Tomato
Vegetables • Mashed potatoes • French fries • Onion, raw
Meat • Ground beef, chuck • Marbled sirloin • Chicken nuggets • Buffalo wings
Dairy • Sour cream • Milk shake • Ice cream • Cottage cheese, regular
Grains • Macaroni and cheese • Spaghetti with sauce
Beverages • Liquor • Wine • Coffee, decaffeinated or regular • Tea, decaffeinated or regular
Fats / Oils • Salad dressing, creamy • Salad dressing, oil & vinegar
Sweets / Desserts • Butter cookie, high-fat • Brownie • Chocolate • Doughnut
Processed Snacks • Corn chips • Potato chips, regular

Note: This is by no means a complete list, and in your personal situation, you may either find you can eat the foods from the "Avoid" group with no problem or have problems with foods not listed. It is a good idea to keep a Food Diary. For approximately two weeks, write down what you eat, when you eat and any symptoms you may experience. This will help you and your doctor plan your diet and decide on any change in eating habits you may need.

- Shannan

1 comment:

Hanlie said...

I used to get acid reflux and what worked for me was a glass of barley grass juice (I use the powdered product). It makes sense - even dogs or cats will eat grass when they have digestive problems... Of course, since starting an exercising and changing my diet I don't get acid reflux or heartburn anymore.

This blog is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this blog is intended to replace the advice of a physician. We recommend consulting a physician before embarking on diet changes or a fitness routine. In addition, we recommend that you thoroughly research alternate points of view and make your own decisions as an informed consumer. You are ultimately responsible for your health.