Heartburn – Simple and Effective Ways to Support Your Digestive System and Calm a Rebellious Stomach #WellbeingWednesday
The beautiful weather is here, and with all this summer fun, comes digestive issues. Late night or irregular eating patterns as well as overindulgence’s in food and drink, can create upper digestive complaints, such as heartburn and GERD (reflux). While over the counter medications help in the short term, their side effects can be long term. These medications deplete your body of essential vitamins and minerals, alter your gut bacteria, and deplete your digestive enzymes. So, for today’s Wellbeing Wednesday tip, I will share with you some C.
Try 1-2 tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar in a ¼ cup of warm water before dinner. This simple drink supplies your body with enzymes, supports healthy stomach acid, and kills off unwanted yeast. The problem with GERD is not the body producing too much stomach acid, it is in fact the opposite, the stomach not producing enough acid. The stomach tries to compensate with the decreased acid levels by over-producing acid, and now you experience heartburn. If you’re not a fan of vinegar, the flavour is something to get used to, but I promise what your taste buds won’t like, your tummy will.
Lemon water first thing in the morning. I know I’ve mentioned this health tip so many times before, but it really is such a great and simple way to start your day. It not only ensures you start your day hydrated, but the bitter flavour stimulates the liver, which in turn stimulates digestion. Take a ¼ of a wedge of lemon and squeeze it into a glass of warm water. Make this your goal daily for 2 weeks, you just might notice a difference.
Try including pineapple or papaya into your diet daily. Pineapple is rich in bromelain, an enzyme known for its anti-inflammatory properties as well as relieving indigestion. Papaya contains papain, an enzyme that helps digest food from the stomach, as well as reducing heartburn and reflux. Aim to eat ½ a cup of fresh fruit daily.
Back off the Mint. I know, we believe that mint tea is really great to help with digestion, and it is, but not for those suffering from heartburn or reflux. Mint relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, making the reflux worse. Swap that mint for chamomile, which soothes digestion or licorice tea, that coats the mucous lining of the stomach and blocks the burning sensation associated with excess acid production. Licorice also reduces extra pepsin production when taken in tea or as a capsule after a meal, a definite bonus for those suffering from GERD.
Try some Slippery Elm Tea. This is a wonderful herb to consider with reflux, as its mucilaginous properties coat and soothe the entire digestive tract, bringing relief quickly to an irritated digestive system. Simply boil 1 tbsp of loose herb in a tea strainer and steep in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. This herb is safe for people of all ages, but is not recommended for pregnant women.
Back to the Basics. Sometimes it’s just remembering the simple things. Try to avoid eating 2-3 hours before bed, eat several small meals throughout the day, identify food triggers (alcohol, caffeine, spicy, acidic foods) and remember to chew your food really well.
I hope these natural tips help calm and soothe your digestive system, so you can enjoy this beautiful summer weather.
Rachel Schwartzman is a naturopathic doctor, acupuncturist and birth doula. She is passionate about bringing health to children and families in simple and effective ways. rachelschwartzman.com