Sunday, September 9, 2012

Treating heartburn naturally


According to this website
"Heartburn occurs when foods mix with acid to form a liquid that rises into the esophagus, causing chest pain or a burning sensation in the stomach."
Heartburn is also known as acid reflux, or GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease).


The following websites recommended some foods that help treat and/or prevent heartburn and aid digestion, including apple cider vinegar, ginger, probiotics and aloe vera juice.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a great natural remedy not only because it is cheap and easily available in supermarkets, but it is also effective in treating heartburn without any side effect.

"Apple cider vinegar is regarded as an excellent digestive aid by many alternative practitioners and nutritionists, but not so much by MDs and mainstream dieticians.

Use an apple cider vinegar that has not been pasteurized or filtered for best results. Before each meal, one or two tablespoons downed in a half glass of water can be beneficial. Water with meals should be room temperature for optimum digestion."

"Dr. Group recommends organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon in a little bit of water, to eliminate heartburn. This seems counterintuitive in that apple cider vinegar increases stomach acid to aid digestion before meals. But there are many testimonials claiming it works."

"One of the most highly recommended acid reflux remedies is apple cider vinegar. Sip a tablespoon of the unfiltered, unpasteurized variety in 8 ounces of water during meals. Why does this work? There are two theories. One is that many people actually have insufficient stomach acid. In this case, the LES (which is pH sensitive) may open when it shouldn't allow stomach acid up into the esophagus. Acidity in the vinegar communicates to the LES to stay shut keeping stomach acid where it belongs. An alternative theory is that the vinegar dilutes stomach acid somewhat (since it is less acidic), mitigating reflux symptoms but not enough to impair digestion.

In addition to directly affecting digestion, apple cider vinegar provides an array of vitamins and trace minerals and promotes a more alkaline environment in the body while it helps destroy harmful bacteria. The result is better health including improved digestion."

"Other folk traditions rely on ginger for acid reflux since it helps calm stomach acid and relax the muscles of the esophagus. Try sipping a tea made with fresh ginger root and a pinch of cinnamon as a restful way to relieve GERD symptoms."
Aloe Vera Juice
"The king of natural GI tract and stomach disorders is Aloe vera juice. Aloe vera juice needs to be shopped wisely. The cheap adulterated ones with preservatives or pasteurized stuff won't cut it. Get only pure, whole unpasteurized aloe vera juice. Yes it's pricier, but worth it.

Stomach ulcer sufferers swear by it. There have been many, many reports of Celiac disease and Crohn's disease sufferers curing themselves with aloe vera juice, as well as some experiencing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

With a disease as intense as Celiac, Crohn's or IBS, it takes several days to a few weeks of daily use to get results."
"Aloe vera cures ulcers, IBS, Crohn's disease and Celiac disease Polysaccharides in the aloe vera plant have curative effects on numerous digestive disorders. The Internet is a storehouse of information and testimonials about aloe vera curing IBS, ulcers, Crohn's disease and other disorders of the digestive tract. This is one of the best-known applications of aloe vera gel.
Taking aloe certainly isn't a magic bullet cure, of course. It won't reverse your disease after drinking one glass of aloe vera gel. It needs to be used regularly. Most people report positive results in 3 - 30 days, depending on the condition.

Aloe vera ends acid reflux disease
Acid reflux isn't really a disease. The drug companies just call it that to convince everyone that they need to take medications to ease the symptoms. But in reality, all you probably need is aloe vera. Drink aloe vera gel on a regular basis, and your heartburn symptoms will usually vanish within a few days. Of course, it would also help if you'd stop eating fried foods and processed foods."
"Increasing probiotics is always a good idea. Homemade milk or water kefirs, and foods such as miso and homemade sauerkraut are potent and economical probiotic foods. Less economical but conveniently accessible probiotic supplements are also available."

• helps body absorb nutrients (opposite action of soda) in first 4 to 6 hours, before gastrointestinal acids reach them.
• helps expel food within 24 hours, before it starts becoming a toxin in your system, affecting your immunity.
• aids with lactose intolerance, helping intestinal microbes produce vitamins (very important for people with IBS and Crohn's disease).
Avoid Antacids or Acid Blocking Medications Where Possible
On another note, as I have learnt the past couple of years researching on heartburn, the antacids or acid-blocking medications prescribed by medical doctors usually have side effects, and may only provide temporary relief, and may worsen the condition in the long run.
"I go on to explain to the patient that, while their medication may be working temporarily, the damage that it's causing to their body can be extremely dangerous over the long term. Stomach acid plays an important role in both digestion and our overall health and by blocking its production we are essentially starving the body of life sustaining nutrients."
Practise Good Eating Habits Regularly

So, treating heartburn with natural remedies are highly recommended. Waiting for 1-2 hours after eating a meal before lying down to take a nap or sleep is important too. When I lay down too soon after dinner late at night, I would feel a slight burning sensation in my throat when I belched and the partially digested food is regurgitated from my stomach before I swallowed back the food. I would remind myself to elevate my pillow and waited at least half an hour more before lying down to sleep, so as to avoid any heartburn in future.
"So, what is the first resort in heartburn treatment? Aim to prevent it in the first place, and for that, a change in eating habits is a good place to start. Many foods have a reputation for causing heartburn, including onions, garlic, hot and spicy foods, fatty or greasy foods, fried foods and highly acidic foods, like tomatoes and citrus. Chocolate and coffee are also common culprits. In addition, the way you eat is sometimes just as important as what you eat. People who eat especially quickly, who lay down after a big meal or who simply eat too much, are often more prone to heartburn. When you eat too much too fast, without chewing well, the stomach must produce more acid to break down food, creating problems for you down the line. Therefore, in addition to paying attention to the types of foods you eat, and avoiding those that trigger heartburn, you must also be aware of portion size and how quickly you eat,"
This website on natural remedies summarises three simple steps to get rid of heartburn and GERD forever:
  1. Reduce factors that promote bacterial overgrowth and low stomach acid. (such as avoiding artificial sweeteners such as fructose)
  2. Replace stomach acid, enzymes and nutrients that aid digestion and are necessary for health. (such as adding apple cider vinegar to water, drinking lemon juice, etc)
  3. Restore beneficial bacteria and a healthy mucosal lining in the gut. (such as taking probiotics)
Related link: 
How to Treat Acid Reflux Naturally

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