So you’ve got Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), you keep getting heartburn whenever you eat, as well as chest pain, coughs, and repeated sore throats. You’re bringing up food and stomach acid and having a meal has just become a pain. What, then, can you do about it? If you don’t like the idea of taking GERD medications to control your symptoms but you’d prefer to find safer and more healthy ways to correct the problem; lifestyle changes and natural remedies could promote healing that would allow for relief.
If you are overweight or obese this can weaken your muscles at the bottom of your esophagus due to the increased pressure that this weight creates. This can mean that it doesn’t close properly after you have eaten food, letting stomach acid leak out. Losing weight is, therefore, an essential part of combating GERD symptoms.
LEARN MORE: Scale Down for Relief
Avoid high-fat foods
Even if you are an average weight, it is still important to avoid eating too many high-fat foods. You may love curry or pizza or cooked breakfast but they’re notorious for causing acid reflux. This is because they take longer to digest and require the production of more stomach acid. Eating lights foods and smaller portions more frequently can reduce this acid.
Check for food allergies
GERD is more common in people with food allergies such as celiac disease (allergy to gluten). If you’re having acid reflux, pain and indigestion when you eat it may be because you are allergic to the food you are eating.
Avoid alcohol, chocolates, and mint
Alcoholic drinks, chocolate, and mint (peppermint and spearmint) have muscle relaxing effects and can loosen your esophagus and cause heartburn.
Avoid acidic fruit juices
Since your objective is to reduce your stomach acid, you should stop drinking acidic fruits and their juices, especially citrus juices such as orange and grapefruit juice and orange juice. You should also avoid fizzy drinks and carbonated water as these can distend the stomach, trigger regurgitation, and cause pain.
Improve your diet
Eating more organic vegetables and non-citrus fruits (in small portions), especially those high in B vitamins like spinach, kale, and beans. Organic non-GMO tofu or organic lean meat should be eaten for protein as well as ocean caught fish or flax seeds for omega 3 and coconut oil or olive oil for ‘good’ fats. Bread, pasta, rice, and other starches should always be whole grain unless you are allergic. Water – an essential life-giving ingredient on earth – is vital to your health. You should aim to drink eight glasses of water every day.
LEARN MORE: 5 steps to an acid reflux diet
The importance of probiotics
Recolonizing your intestinal flora with ‘friendly’ bacteria is one of the ways you can encourage a healthy gastrointestinal system. You can take probiotics as a supplement or get them by eating live, natural yogurt or kefir. Friendly bacteria eliminate ‘bad’ bacteria without the side-effects of antibiotics. They also help in the normal digestion of food.
LEARN MORE: Probiotics for acid reflux
Ginger for stomach ulcers
Extract of ginger can help prevent stomach ulcers that frequently occur with GERD. It does this by inhibiting the growth of H Pylori, the ‘bad’ bacteria responsible for the formation of ulcers. In fact, according to a research study, ginger works better than medication! Why not try drinking a cup of ginger tea before you eat or maybe add ginger root to some of your meals?
Baking soda pain relief
If you’re in agony and want some non-drug relief from heartburn, you can mix a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and drink that to neutralize your stomach acid. This is meant as an occasional remedy and should not be taken every day as you need a certain amount of stomach acid to digest your food.
Slippery elm powder
Slippery elm is sometimes used to treat GERD. The powdered variety can be made into a medicinal tea by adding two tablespoons to two cups of water and leaving to ‘stew’ for a few minutes. If you are taking medications or you are considering using slippery elm for a child, please see your healthcare provider first as herbal remedies may interact with certain medications and can have side-effects.
Cranberry supplementation can kill H pylori so could be taken to stunt the growth of the bacteria and prevent ulcers. It could also relieve pain as it contains salicylic acid – the therapeutic ingredient in aspirin.
Take a comprehensive approach to relief
As you can see, there are many safe and natural options for GERD relief. However, there is also no silver bullet. A comprehensive approach will provide the best results, and that includes: 1) weight loss, diet modification, lifestyle changes, less powerful medications, and natural home remedies. You should also consult with your doctor or a GERD expert to assist you to design your plan to relief and good health. You can do this……get started today!
RefluxMD wants to thank Helen Bacon, a freelance writer, for her interesting and informative article.