Acid reflux and it’s more serious cousin, GERD, affect many Americans, causing any number of symptoms, from a burning sensation in your chest to difficulty swallowing to a sore throat.
For many people, this is a persistent problem, made worse by other risk factors which include obesity, hiatal hernia, smoking, asthma, diabetes, and connective tissue disorders like scleroderma(1).
If you’re experiencing acid reflux symptoms more than three times a week, you should talk to a doctor about it – but if you’re only experiencing mild and relatively infrequent symptoms, natural home remedies might be able to provide some relief.
1. Chewing Gum
“Chewing gum could induce increased swallowing frequency, thus improving the clearance rate of reflux within the esophagus,” one study writes(2).
“Chewing sugar-free gum for half an hour after a meal can reduce acidic postpradial esophageal reflux.”
Make sure it’s sugar-free gum, though; gum with sugar won’t have the same effect.
2. Assorted Herbs
If your acid reflux is related to an irritable bowel disease like ulcerative collitis, chewing on certain herbs may help treat the underlying cause.
Eating herbs like fennel and cumin is safe, and while there haven’t been any clinical trials testing the efficacy of those herbs on acid reflux alone, they may work similarly to chewing gum in that they increase the frequency of swallowing(3).
3. Adjust Your Diet
Foods that can exacerbate acid reflux are numerous and include spicy foods, fatty foods, mint, chocolate, tomato-based foods, coffee, and citrus fruits(4).
Avoiding these foods and eating a leaner diet that is rich in calcium can help reduce the frequency of acid reflux symptoms.
For many people, lifestyle adjustments are the first course of action suggested by a doctor when they’re diagnosed with GERD – medication alone can only do so much, after all.
Other lifestyle suggestions include weight loss, avoiding food three hours before bedtime, and quitting smoking and alcohol.
One of the more severe symptoms of acid reflux can be nausea and vomiting – these are especially prevalent if you have GERD.
Fresh ginger, either eaten directly or consumed in tea, has a long history of being used to help with nausea and vomiting, and it’s safe to consume even in large quantities. It’s often recommended as a treatment for pregnant women who are experiencing nausea and vomiting associated with GERD(5).
Managing Acid Reflux
While some of these individual remedies may help, managing acid reflux requires a more holistic approach than just sticking to one treatment.
Lifestyle changes, diet changes, even adjustments to the way you sleep may be necessary for managing acid reflux or GERD.
The good news is that there are many non-invasive treatments. If you’re experiencing acid reflux on a regular basis, talk to your doctor about other treatment options.[mks_toggle title=”sources” state=”close “]