When you're suffering from heartburn, food might seem like the enemy. However, you'll find many home remedies in your kitchen that can actually reduce or prevent heartburn.
Home Remedies from the Cupboard
Almonds. Chewing 6 or 8 blanched almonds during an episode of heartburn may relieve the symptoms. Chew them well, though, to avoid swallowing air and causing yourself more discomfort.
Baking soda. Take 1/2 teaspoon in 1/2 glass water. Check the antacid use information on the box before using this remedy, however.
Warning! If you're on a salt-restricted diet, do not use baking soda. It's loaded with sodium. And do not use it if you're experiencing nausea, stomachache, gas, cramps, or stomach distention from overeating.
Cream of tartar. For an acid neutralizer, mix 1/2 teaspoon with 1/2 teaspoon baking soda in a glass of water. Take 1 teaspoon of the solution as needed.
Brown rice. Plain or with a little sweetening, rice can help relieve discomfort. Rice is a complex carbohydrate and is a bland food, which is less likely to increase acidity or relax the sphincter muscle
Soda crackers. This is an old folk cure that actually works. Soda crackers (preferably unsalted) are bland, they digest easily, and they absorb stomach acid. They also contain bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar, which neutralize the acid. Tip: You know that package of soda crackers they always give you at the restaurant, that you leave on the table? From now on, take them with you. These come in handy when you're plagued by heartburn and can't seek immediate relief.
Vinegar. Mix 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1 cup warm water. Drink at the first sign of heartburn.
Home Remedies from the Drawer
Paper and pen. Keep a food diary. This can tell you which foods or food combinations cause that heartburn.
Home Remedies from the Faucet
Water. Drink water in between meals, not with meals. If you drink fluids with meals, you increase the volume of stomach contents, which makes it easier for heartburn to happen.
Home Remedies from the Refrigerator
Apples. They cool the burn of stomach acid. Eat them fresh, with the skin still on, or cook them for desserts.
Apple honey. This is a simple remedy that will neutralize stomach acids. Peel, core, and slice several sweet apples. Simmer with a little water over low heat for three hours until the mixture is thick, brown, and sweet to the taste. Refrigerate in an airtight container and take a few spoonfuls whenever you have the need.
Buttermilk. This is an acid-reliever, but don't confuse it with regular milk, which can be an acid-maker, especially if you are bothered by lactose intolerance.
Cabbage. Like apples, this is a natural fire extinguisher for stomach burn. For the best relief, put the cabbage through a juicer, then drink it.
Fruit juices. Skip juices from citrus fruits, but try these stomach-cooling juices for heartburn relief: papaya, mango, guava, pear.
Papaya. Eat it straight to reap the benefit of its natural, indigestion-fighting enzyme papain. Or drink 1 cup papaya juice combined with 1 teaspoon sugar and 2 pinches cardamom to relieve acid.
Warning! Pregnant women should not eat papayas; they're a source of natural estrogen that can cause miscarriage.
Potato. Mix 1/2 cup raw potato juice with 1/2 cup water, and drink after meals. To make raw potato juice, simply put a peeled raw potato through a juicer or blender.
Pumpkin. Eat it baked as a squash to get rid of heartburn. Fresh is best. Spice it up with cinnamon, which is another heartburn cure. Or, make a compote of baked pumpkin and apples, spiced with cinnamon and honey, for a dessert that's both curative and tasty.
Yogurt. Make sure it has live cultures in it. Because of the helpful and digestive-friendly microorganisms in yogurt, it may sooth the acid-forming imbalances that can lead to heartburn.
Home Remedies from the Spice Rack
Cardamom. This old-time digestive aid may help relieve the burn of acid indigestion. Add it to baked goodies such as sweet rolls or fruit cake, or sprinkle, with a pinch of cinnamon, on toast. It works well in cooked cereals, too.
Cinnamon. This is a traditional remedy for acid relief. Brew a cup of cinnamon tea from a cinnamon stick. Or try a commercial brand, but check the label. Cinnamon tea often has black tea in it, which is a cause of heartburn, so make sure your commercial brand doesn't contain black tea. For another acid-busting treat, make cinnamon toast.
Ginger. A tea from this root can soothe that burning belly. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons ginger root to 1 cup water; simmer for ten minutes. Drink as needed.
Sage. A sage tea can relieve stomach weakness that allows acid to be released back into the esophagus.
More Do's & Don'ts
Eat smaller meals. The more food in your belly, the more likely that bulk will push stomach acid right back up.
Eat slowly, chew thoroughly. Sometimes heartburn will flare because the food is simply too large to get through the digestive tract and it, along with the acids, is forced back up.
Don't eat right before bedtime. Give your stomach a two- or three-hour break before you sleep. And if you're plagued by the burn at night, sleep with your head elevated on pillows.
Let the gravity be with you. Stay upright so the gastric contents are forced to stay down. In other words, don't head for the couch after you eat. If you must snooze, try the recliner, but don't recline too steeply.
Loosen the belt. Tight clothing and belts can create enough pressure to cause heartburn.
These home remedies should help you keep your heartburn under control. However, if your heartburn is frequent and severe, be sure you talk to your doctor about it.