Remedies for Heartburn Relief: What To Drink

Remedies for Heartburn Relief: What To Drink


Heartburn is a burning sensation in your chest caused by stomach acid refluxing (coming back up) into the esophagus (the hollow muscular tube that connects your throat to your stomach). Over 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month.

You may experience heartburn every once in a while from overeating or eating too fast. Some people get occasional heartburn, but some experience it more regularly if they have a condition like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or chronic acid reflux.

GERD is a gastrointestinal condition in which stomach acid flows back into the esophagus and causes damage. Frequent heartburn is considered a symptom of GERD. If stomach acid travels further past the esophagus into the mouth and nasal passages, GERD symptoms can progress into laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR).

Hydrating beverages can soothe irritation in the esophagus, increase hydration, and provide nutrients that balance out the acidity in your stomach. Your healthcare provider may suggest lifestyle changes, including changing the kind of beverages you drink, to help with your heartburn.

Staying hydrated can prevent heartburn from returning. Drinking more water helps your stomach fully digest the foods you eat. Water flushes out stomach acids that can reflux into the esophagus. Sipping water throughout the day can keep the esophagus from building up with stomach acids and improve your overall digestive experience.

According to a study, consuming at least 16 ounces of alkaline water daily may prevent heartburn. Alkaline water is known for its high pH (a measure of hydrogen in a substance). A beverage with a higher pH has a lower acidity. Alkaline water is less acidic than pure water. The high pH in alkaline water makes it ideal for reducing some of the acidity in your stomach and esophagus that can lead to heartburn.

Alkaline water may inactivate pepsin, a substance that breaks down proteins in the stomach. Pepsin also travels back into the esophagus with other stomach acids during acid reflux. By preventing less pepsin from traveling into the esophagus, alkaline water reduces damage and irritation to your esophagus and throat. More research is needed to know the full effects of alkaline water on gastrointestinal health.

Some teas help with heartburn relief. Research suggests that medicinal plants like ginger and rosemary may alleviate heartburn. Most herbs have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the discomfort you feel with heartburn. Herbs like ginger root help with indigestion, which can lead to heartburn.

Curcumin, a compound in turmeric, may help prevent acute reflux esophagitis (when stomach acid and toxic elements damage the esophagus). Sweeter-tasting options for heartburn relief are also available. Plant-based ingredients like carob powder and marshmallow root in teas can soothe the gastrointestinal tract and esophagus.

Ingredients such as licorice root, turmeric, and calendula can be soothing. They have anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce acid reflux. These herbs may be especially helpful for people with erosive esophagitis (an inflamed or damaged esophagus lining), which can worsen heartburn.

Aloe Vera Juice

Aloe vera is known for its wound-healing benefits for the skin, but it can also help balance the acid in your stomach. In aloe vera juice, aloe vera acts as an antioxidant that can prevent peptic ulcers (sores that form on your stomach lining) from growing. Heartburn is a common symptom of peptic ulcers.

More research is needed to know how effective aloe vera is for treating heartburn and other gastrointestinal symptoms.

Beverages that are high in carbonation, caffeine, and excess sugar can trigger heartburn. Drinks high in fat and alcohol content may also be less hydrating. Ingesting drinks with these properties may trigger heartburn by aggravating stomach acids flowing back into the esophagus. Some drinks may make heartburn worse. It might be a good idea to limit how often you consume these drinks.

Although it may make you feel more alert, coffee may worsen existing heartburn. Balancing your coffee intake with how much water you drink can help prevent heartburn and other GERD symptoms like indigestion.

Coffee

Coffee is one of the main drinks to avoid for heartburn relief. High levels of caffeine and acid in coffee trigger heartburn. Drinking too much coffee with caffeine can cause sleeplessness and an upset stomach. Sleeplessness from drinking too much coffee can also increase your risk of heartburn. Balancing your coffee intake with how much water you drink can help prevent heartburn.

Alcoholic Drinks

Alcohol relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a high-pressure valve where the stomach meets the esophagus. When your LES is relaxed, stomach fluids can go backward into the esophagus and cause heartburn. The likelihood of you experiencing acid reflux increases with the more alcohol you consume in a short period of time.

Alcohol also slows the digestion process. Food stays in your stomach longer, leading to gas and heartburn. There is still more research needed to know how much alcohol worsens gastrointestinal symptoms.

Citrus and Other Acidic Juices

Citrus fruits have a lot of acidity that can make heartburn worse. However, some researchers do not believe all acidic beverages cause heartburn. Cranberry, grape, and apple juice all have a lot of acidity.

High acidity levels in citrus fruit beverages can irritate your stomach lining and esophagus. When met with more acid from a citrus-based beverage, it may take longer for your esophagus to clear stomach acid.

Carbonated Beverages

Carbonated beverages may increase gas, bloating, and heartburn. Carbonation increases pressure in your stomach and LES valve. How much the carbonation in a beverage affects your heartburn varies from person to person.

Milk-Based Beverages

Although milk is a great source of calcium and protein, the high fat content in some milk can worsen acid reflux and its associated heartburn. Milk-based beverages like eggnog and milkshakes are also high in cholesterol and fat, possibly contributing to esophageal damage.

Beverages with a high fat content can increase the risk of gastric juices staying in the esophagus longer, worsening acid reflux and heartburn. However, drinks made with low-fat milk may be less likely to worsen heartburn.

If you are experiencing heartburn, being mindful of what you eat and drink can help you avoid uncomfortable symptoms. For example, teas with licorice root in them may be too high in sodium for people with high blood pressure (hypertension).

It is also important to be mindful of preexisting conditions like GERD and lactose intolerance that can make heartburn more likely. If you have an allergy or sensitivity to lactose, you should avoid all drinks with cow’s milk.

You can regularly monitor the foods and drinks you consume to reduce heartburn symptoms. This includes eating adequate food portions, spacing out your meals, and eating more of a high-protein diet.

Reducing heartburn may include the following:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Manage stress
  • Get adequate rest

See a healthcare provider if you experience heartburn two or more times a week. Frequent heartburn may be a sign of untreated GERD or esophagitis.

If left untreated for too long, these conditions may also lead to gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers, and inflammation. Untreated GERD can also lead to Barrett’s esophagus (a condition that damages the lining of your esophagus).

Staying hydrated is a helpful first step to relieving your heartburn. Drink lots of water and turmeric or ginger tea. Try your best to avoid drinking alcoholic, acidic, or high-fat and sugar beverages often.

For a daily beverage, consider alkaline water. It is a great source of hydration with very low acidity levels. Speak with your healthcare provider if you experience heartburn more than a couple of times a week.

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