Acid reflux is a common problem among Americans nowadays. Also known as gastric esophageal reflux disease (or GERD for short), most of us refer to it as “heartburn” because of the uncomfortable burning sensation it causes in your chest.
All is not lost though! Thanks to our newfound understanding of the condition, there are now plenty of natural support strategies for acid reflux that should alleviate the issue in no time. Today, we’re going to detail the best of them.
The Baking Soda Test
A common (yet understandable) misconception about acid reflux is that it’s a result of having too much hydrochloric acid in your stomach.
In reality, the exact opposite is often true! New evidence indicates that it’s usually a by-product of your stomach secreting an insufficient amount of hydrochloric acid.
That’s where a classic DIY test involving baking soda comes into play.
To see whether or not you have low stomach acid, try mixing ¼ teaspoon of baking soda in 4-6oz of cold water after you wake up in the morning (make sure you haven’t eaten or drunk anything else beforehand!). Drink the solution and then grab a stopwatch with 5 minutes on the clock.
The goal? See how long it takes you to belch.
This test is far from foolproof, but if you start belching within 2 to 3 minutes, then you probably have adequate amounts of hydrochloric acid in your stomach. If you don’t belch until 3 minutes or after, then you may have low acid levels. And if you haven’t burped within those 5 minutes, then you can stop timing!
Top tip: Do this test 3 days in a row to get more accurate results.
An Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle
An anti-inflammatory lifestyle is a proven and natural approach for combatting acid reflux. There’s a lot to say on this topic, but the food you eat will make a big difference.
Try eating a diet that’s full of clean protein sources (such as wild-caught fish, plain Greek yogurt, lean beef, free-range poultry, and legumes), phytonutrient dense vegetables, and healthy fats (such as avocados, coconut products, nuts, olive oil, and omega-3 fish oil supplements).
You can also combine this with anti-inflammatory herbs and spices, including turmeric, ginger, garlic, and oregano. Then there are pink salts (the non-processed variety), sea algae, and cereal grasses (like wheat or barley) to think about, all of which are packed with important trace minerals.
While you’re at it, you should stop consuming things like refined grains, deep-fried and processed foods, as well as sugary drinks, grain-fed meats, and certain oils (such as sunflower oil).
Timing’s also key.
Make sure you eat your final meal of the day at least 2 hours before bed. That should let gravity do its work and pull food through your system. Lastly, try to avoid eating meals that are excessively large!
Fermented products can be a major help here too. Fermented vegetables (such as sauerkraut or kimchi) are another known anti-inflammatory.
Then there’s raw apple cider vinegar (with the fermented mother intact), which is high in good bacteria, acetic acid, and digestive enzymes. Drinking 2 teaspoons of it mixed with water prior to a high-protein meal will bolster your stomach acid levels in preparation for digestion.
10 Steps to Beat Acid Reflux Naturally
To finish, here are 10 quick-fire tips and strategies to help alleviate your heartburn and beat acid reflux naturally.
- Develop an Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plan
- Try Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar
- Invest in Digestive Enzyme Supplements
- Eat Fermented Foods Daily
- Try Fermented Tonics and Beverages
- Avoid Eating Before Bedtime
- Boost Hydrochloric Acid Levels with Lemon and Ginger
- Drink Green Juices and Smoothies that are Easier to Digest
- Avoid Solid Foods When Stressed
- Use Hydrochloric Acid Supplements