While heartburn typically has very little bearing on overall health, it can be one of the most uncomfortable and unwelcome issues to deal with on a regular basis. Heartburn is caused by acid reflux, a condition in which stomach acid travels back up to the esophagus. This causes a burning or stinging sensation in the chest (often near the heart), and can be triggered by a number of factors, from food and drink choices to physical activity and overall lifestyle. Fortunately, the answer for how to get rid of heartburn may be easier and more intuitive than you think. Here are a few of our favorite tips (both long-term and short-term) to overcoming this pesky experience.
Read on for our essential guide on how to eliminate heartburn.
For Instant Relief
Heartburn can spring up in an instant. For immediate relief, try chewing gum. According to digestive expert Atif Iqbal, MD, the production of saliva produced by chewing gum can help to accelerate the body’s response to heartburn. Another solution? Drink baking soda and water. Much like an antacid tablet, baking soda helps to neutralize the acid that causes heartburn. Finally, switch to loose-fitting clothing. Clothing that squeezes the abdomen—whether it’s a belt, wrap dress, or your favorite pair of skinny jeans—can disrupt the natural movement of fluids within the body, increasing the likelihood of acid traveling in the wrong direction.
For Long-Term Relief
Getting rid of heartburn doesn’t have to be a major overhaul, but many of the lifestyle factors that can mitigate heartburn have extraordinary benefits. Some of the ways to banish heartburn through lifestyle choices include getting more exercise. A healthy body weight is essential to minimizing heartburn, and there are actually some specific exercises that are well worth trying.
For a healthier heart, quit smoking. Smoking has been shown to exacerbate heartburn (and can contribute to acid reflux’s more medically serious iteration, GERD). And, as always, watch your diet. This is perhaps the least fun tip associated with getting rid of heartburn, but an essential one nevertheless. Take a look at your food intake. For some, highly acidic foods such as red wine, citrus fruit, and tomatoes are common triggers.
When to Get a Second Opinion
If heartburn is a frequent occurrence—more than twice a week—consult with your doctor. In most cases, this common condition is nothing to worry about, but it never hurts to make your health a priority.
Up next, keep reading for seven practically medicinal foods that help ease stomach pain.