If you’ve experience indigestion and heartburn, you know exactly how it feels and the pain can escalate really quickly too. It’s a burning pain in your chest that worsens when you lie down or bend over. The usual culprits are spicy or fried foods, as well as caffeine and alcohol.
Besides reaching for over the counter medication, there are heaps of things that can work wonders to soothe the discomfort. You may have heard of tips such as drinking ginger tea, and eating some warm oatmeal to neutralise the acid but here are some less common ones you can also try.
Some people swear by this. As soon as you feel heartburn pain coming on, try chewing on a piece of gum until the flavour runs out. According to those who have tried it, symptoms of heartburn should go away in just minutes. Chewing gum helps to produces more saliva which is helpful in such a situation. TIP: Look for a natural brand that uses xylitol instead of sugar as a sweetener.
Plain crackers are great for absorbing and neutralising the acid in your stomach. When you feel like you’re about to experience heartburn, start munching on some plain crackers, at least 2-4 pieces. Choose crackers that are less oily and has no toppings on them such as water crackers. TIP: Always keep crackers handy in a ziplock bag.
Kefir and aloe
Digestive health expert Dr Gerard E. Mullin, suggests a mix of a teaspoon of aloe juice with a few ounces of Kefir, a fermented milk drink. “This mixture can help relieve symptoms because the juice from the aloe plant reduces inflammation and heals the GI tract, and the alkalising kefir counteracts acid,” he says. (But avoid consuming too much aloe juice as it can prompt diarrhoea and stomach pain.)
When heartburn strikes, consider steeping fennel into a tea, says Robynne Chutkan, a gastroenterologist. Simply place two teaspoons of fennel seeds and honey and steep both in boiling water. Then place the strained tea in a big container for a half hour. You can even keep it in the fridge and heat it up for when you need to soothe your stomach. TIP: chew fennel seeds throughout the day to both freshen your breath and keep stomach acid in check.
Hot water bag
Yes, the good ol’ hot water bag can be so reliable for so many things from soothing back pain to warming up the bed. For heartburn, fill it up and position it on the upper right abdomen area for best results. This will help your liver and gallbladder function to help digest what you have eaten. TIP: Put a sleeve on the hot water bag to insulate it and to keep it from feeling too hot on your tummy.
Prone to heartburn?
Here are some things to avoid:
- Wearing tight clothing: This can put pressure on the area where those tricky valves sit between the stomach and esophagus.
- Lying down after meals: Try to eat meals a couple of hours before lying down for naps or bedtime so your body has enough time to fully digest.
- Overeating: It causes a full belly to put more pressure on the valves, making them work harder to keep stomach juices where they belong.
- Alcohol and coffee: Try to avoid wine, and acidic liquids such as vinegar, orange juice and yes, coffee too.
- Spicy food: Acidic spices like chili powder and black pepper aren’t very good for those prone to heartburn.