Heartburn has plagued us all at one point in time or another. We think back on what we ate and try to figure out the cause. We reach for the antacids, which can be great for immediate relief, but what if you could begin treating heartburn naturally?
Medically, heartburn happens when the door between the esophagus and the stomach isn't tightening as it should. Generally, this little gateway opens up to allow food in or air to be released from the stomach as needed. However, when it's opening too much or not closing tightly enough stomach acid can be released into the esophagus. This causes the burning sensation beneath the breastbone that we're so familiar with.
Why does the valve become dysfunctional?
- Overeating. When the stomach is too full, the door cannot close as tightly as it needs to. Imagine a closet overflowing with clothes.
- Certain foods can relax the valve including coffee, tomatoes, citrus, garlic, onions, chocolate, alcohol and peppermint.
- Meals high in fats and oils (animal or vegetable)
- Certain medications
How do you treat it? The idea is to help balance, soothe the tissues and close the door.
- BALANCE: Balance your stomach's pH. Bringing down the acidity of your stomach can greatly reduce the burning sensation if stomach acid does get released into the esophagus. This apple cider vinegar drink helps to balance the pH levels in your stomach. When you have acid burning your esophagus, it may seem counter-intuitive to ingest more acid. In many cases though, acid-reflux is caused by having not enough acid in your stomach, rather than having too much.
- SOOTH: Licorice has long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to augment digestion, stop coughing and ‘fire’ in the throat, relieve spasms,and harmonize the effects of other herbs. Slippery Elm contains considerable mucilage, starch, sugars, tannins and trace minerals. It is used as a demulcent (soothes inflamed or damaged tissue) and nutritive tonic.
- CLOSE THE DOOR: Avoid or reduce intake of trigger foods such as peppermint, alcohol, citrus, garlic, onions, coffee...etc. Eat slowly during meals to prevent overeating.