Acid reflux and heartburn are sometimes caused by an underlying medical condition, or even a medication you’re taking in some cases. But, more often than not, they’re triggered by things like your diet and lifestyle choices — making the occasional bout of heartburn fairly common.
Common triggers of heartburn include:
Overeating or eating too quickly
Lying down too soon after eating
Consuming certain foods, including caffeine, carbonated beverages, alcohol, peppermint, citrus, tomato-based products, chocolate and fatty or spicy foods
Stress and anxiety
10 home remedies for heartburn
If you’re trying to avoid acid reflux or get rid of heartburn fast, here are ten ways to ease — and even prevent — your symptoms:
1. Eat a ripe banana
The high potassium content of a banana makes it a fairly alkaline food, meaning it may help counteract the stomach acid irritating your esophagus. However, unripe bananas are less alkaline, starch-heavy and may actually be an acid reflux trigger for some people. So be sure to choose a banana that’s ripe. Other alkaline foods that may help offset heartburn include melons, cauliflower, fennel and nuts.
2. Chew sugar-free gum
Chewing gum increases saliva production. This works to help reduce heartburn since saliva can help promote swallowing — which can help keep acid down — and neutralize the stomach acid that’s refluxed into your esophagus.
3. Keep a food journal and avoid trigger foods
As mentioned, certain foods and drinks can trigger acid reflux and heartburn. You can help identify the specific foods most likely to give you issues by keeping a food and symptom log. Once you do identify them, avoid these foods and drinks whenever possible.
4. Resist the urge to overeat or eat quickly
When it comes to preventing heartburn, watching portion sizes at meals can go a long way. Having a large amount of food in your stomach may put more pressure on the valve that keeps stomach acid out of your esophagus, making acid reflux and heartburn more likely. If you’re prone to heartburn, consider eating smaller meals more frequently. Eating quickly can also be a trigger of heartburn so be sure to slow down and take time to chew food and drink beverages.
5. Avoid late meals, snacking before bed and eating before exercising
Laying down with a stomach full of food can trigger acid reflux and make heartburn symptoms worse. Avoid eating within 3 hours of your bedtime so your stomach has plenty of time to empty. You may also want to wait at least two hours before exercising.