Although heartburn has nothing to do with the heart, the primary symptom is a burning sensation around the heart area, or just below the breast plate. It can rise into the esophagus and even affect the throat. For some, heartburn is an uncomfortable sensation. For others, it causes acute pain and damage to the esophagus, and it can last for days.
Avoid using over the counter antacids. Prolonged use of these products can cause severe kidney damage and other problems resulting from aluminum and sodium bicarbonate.
What Causes Heartburn?
Most people believe too much stomach (hydrochloric) acid causes heartburn. Usually, however, the problem is too little acid. Eating only small meals after 3 p.m. and avoiding all caffeine, fried foods, spicy foods, and tomato sauces in the evening can eliminate many of your serious gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) problems.
Additionally, some behaviors cause heartburn and, in these cases, the only way to prevent and relieve heartburn is to change those behaviors. Overeating, for example, is a major cause of heartburn, as the excess food causes pressure changes in the stomach that push food up into the lower part of the esophagus.
Natural Treatment and Prevention
Let’s start with some ways to treat heartburn. Here are some ways to quickly recover and restore your normal stomach pH. Try different ideas from this list until you find a solution that works for you:
- Drink a cup of cold milk. The milk will coat your stomach and esophagus, providing quick relief from the burning acid.
- Take a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (acetic acid) to aid digestion and stop the heartburn.
- If you need a little more help, take a teaspoon of baking soda (not baking powder, which is full of deadly aluminum) in half a glass of warm water and drink. This will cut down gas and heartburn.
- Try carbon tablets for reducing acid and gas.
Here are some keys for preventing heartburn:
- Don’t stuff yourself when you eat; remember that your body will consider even small amounts of food late at night (or after exercising) as overeating.
- Chew your food well. Your digestive enzymes simply can’t handle large chunks of food, so heartburn often will develop from improper chewing.
- Avoid eating caffeinated foods and drinks (chocolate, coffee, tea) and foods containing refined carbohydrates (white bread, refined white sugar, pasta). These foods and drinks can all cause heartburn, as can fried foods, tomato sauce and drinking two or more glasses of beer or wine at night.
- Avoid combining sugars with other foods. Wait before eating dessert. Also, avoid combining fruit and fresh salads with other foods, so wait after eating them as well. Coffee and wine should also be drunk by themselves.
- Take a daily enzyme or probiotic—friendly bacteria to help with digestion.
- Don’t smoke. In addition to creating a myriad other health disorders, smoking, especially before meals, can lead to heartburn.