The Best Home Remedies for Indigestion and Reflux

Have you ever felt the discomfort of indigestion? A burning pain in your chest and an acidic taste in your mouth are two of the most common symptoms of indigestion. However, there are also more severe symptoms linked to indigestion such as vomiting, nausea, and difficulty swallowing.

Some people suffer from chronic indigestion due to conditions such as acid reflux or IBS, while others may only experience it a few times in their lives after consuming a large or difficult to digest meal. Regardless of how often it happens, you will want to get rid of it fast.

For those who dislike taking western medications such as Pepto-Bismol or TUMS there are a host of home remedies that you can try. Before we get into some commonly used home remedies, lets go over what indigestion is. In addition, if you suffer from chronic indigestion or heartburn you will want to seek medical advice.

What is Indigestion?

Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia, is when you have an intense discomfort or pain in the upper abdomen or chest. Chronic indigestion is typically a sign that you have underlying health problems such as the following:

  • Stomach ulcers
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome 
  • Pregnancy
  • Thyroid diseases
  • Side effects of medication

Causes of Indigestion

Indigestion can be caused by eating too much food, lying down too soon after eating, drinking too much alcohol, consuming foods that are high in fat or acidity, smoking cigarettes, and being stressed.

Many people believe that indigestion is caused by too much stomach acid, but this is not always the case. In fact, some cases of indigestion are due too little acidity in the stomach.

In reality, it is the acidity inside the foods that causes discomfort. Spices, caffeine, carbonated beverages, and greasy foods are all high in acidity and this may irritate your stomach.

What are the Symptoms of Indigestion?

Mild cases of indigestion may be slight acid reflux and bloating around your abdominal area. Severe cases include vomiting, nausea, and a burning sensation in the stomach and chest.

Home Remedies for Indigestion

If you don’t have any medication in your home and you or a loved one is experiencing bouts of indigestion then try one of the following remedies

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has become an extremely popular home remedy for various ailments including kidney stones and heartburn. Additionally, people use apple cider vinegar to lose weight and to improve their skin and hair.

In one research, participants were given a gum to chew containing apple cider vinegar extract. Researchers noted marked reduction in the symptoms of bloating, indigestion, and heartburn following the use of the gum.

The possible benefits of apple cider vinegar on indigestion might be due to its ability to promote gastric emptying. The longer the food stays inside your stomach, the more like you are to suffer from bloating and indigestion. Another reason is that apple cider vinegar helps increase the acidity in the stomaching making it easier to break down foods.

The best way to take it is to add two tablespoons of organic unpasteurized apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water. It’s important not to drink the vinegar neat because it will burn your throat and cause toothache.

Furthermore, it’s advised to consume apple cider vinegar in moderation because excessive consumption can cause brittle teeth and bones.

Fresh Ginger

Ginger is packed with antioxidants and is used as a natural remedy to ease nausea and indigestion. Ginger can also reduce muscle pain and soreness because it boasts anti-inflammatory properties.

Since ginger has a wonderful and spicy taste, it can be put into foods, smoothies, beverages, and even desserts, such as ginger cookies. However, the best way to consume ginger is in its unprocessed. For example, by putting some pieces of the root in warm water and drinking it as a brew.

Gingerol is the main bioactive compound in ginger and it works to improves gastric motility. This means ginger helps food travel though the digestive tract more smoothly and quickly. Ginger can also balance stomach acids to improve digestion and minimize the effects of indigestion.

A common cause of indigestion is having an H. pylori infection in the stomach. Ginger helps eliminate these bacteria and provides relief from indigestion symptoms. Constipation is another common yet overlooked cause of indigestion; ginger helps to speed up digestion and prevent constipation.  

Lemon Water

Lemon is an excellent source of vitamin C and is a powerful antioxidant. One lemon can provide 18 mg of vitamin C which contributes to the recommended daily allowance of 65-90mg per day. The antioxidants found in lemon are called polyphenols and studies show that these polyphenols improve insulin resistance and reduce body fat.

The lemon water improves digestion and prevents the build-up of bodily toxins due to its high acidity and natural antibacterial properties. Some people drink lemon water to improve their bowel movements to reduce the effects of constipation.

If you’re struggling with indigestion or constipation simply cut one or two slices of lemon and add it to a glass of warm water. Wait a few minutes for the lemon to steep and then drink the water before every meal.

Honey and Cinnamon

Pure honey is a sweet golden syrup made by bees and it comes directly from the honeycomb. Honey has myriads of health benefits because it’s packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Some people use honey for burns and cuts on the skin while others use it for stomach pains and ulcers.

Raw honey contains many vitamins and minerals such as the following:

  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Riboflavin
  • Pantothenic acid

Because of all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, the honey can be used as a natural medicine for many ailments such as diarrhea, sore throat, and more. However, you must only use pure honey to reap the full benefits.

Research suggests that honey improves the health of the protective layer of mucous lining the stomach, which can reduce the chances of acid irritating the stomach walls. Honey also causes a tremendous improvement in the diversity of ‘good bacteria’ (probiotic bacteria) living inside your gut. These bacteria help improve your digestive health and reduce the symptoms of indigestion.

To double up the benefits of honey, you should mix it with cinnamon, which is another spice renowned for its medicinal properties. Cinnamon has been a remedy for gastrointestinal problems, indigestion, and heartburn for many years.

The cinnamon spice lowers cholesterol levels and is used to treat type 2 diabetes. So when you mix honey and cinnamon you’re essentially creating a natural superfood that will assist with many illnesses.

To make this home remedy for indigestion, simply mix a tablespoon of honey and a teaspoon of cinnamon in a glass of hot water. Drink one glass of the mixture every time you’re suffering from indigestion.

Unfortunately, this isn’t an ideal remedy for vegans because of the honey. However, all the other remedies on our list are vegan friendly.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is a daisy-like flower that has been used as a medicine for thousands of years. While you can take it in many variations, it is most commonly consumed as a tea because of its pleasant taste.

The chamomile plant has many calming properties that help with insomnia, anxiety, and indigestion. It is also packed with antioxidants that improve digestion and lowers the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Chamomile tea is used to cure many stomach ailments. Research suggests that using chamomile tea causes a dose-dependent decline in stomach acid production which can help reduce symptoms of heartburn. Chamomile also increases the production of stomach mucous lining, which both protects the stomach and relieves symptoms of heartburn and indigestion.

If you suffer from chronic indigestion, organic chamomile tea would be a good addition to your diet. It’s advised that you only drink organic chamomile tea that doesn’t contain any other ingredients.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is known to neutralize stomach acid and to cure heartburn fast. It also relieves stomach bloating and cramps.

In one study, participants with different types of heartburn were given a tablet containing a mixture of ingredients including baking soda. All participants showed a significant reduction in their symptoms with the use of baking soda.

Baking soda is non-toxic, but it should only be taken in moderation. The side effects if you take too much baking soda include stomach ulcers, vomiting, and constipation.

Simply mix half a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water. Don’t drink the baking soda-water drink again for at least three hours.

Try Probiotics

Your gut contains trillions of bacteria. In fact, there are as many bacteria in your gut as there are cells in your whole body.

There exists both good and bad bacteria, but the more good bacteria the better. When the number of bad bacteria, such as candida, outweigh the good bacteria it is called ‘gut dysbiosis’ and can lead to a host of gastrointestinal symptoms from bloating to leaky gut.

Researchers have identified that a variety of gastrointestinal conditions including GERD and dyspepsia can be the result of an imbalance between these bacteria. Taking a probiotic or eating foods that contain probiotics, such as fermented products, will increase the number of good bacteria in the gut, which can improve symptoms of indigestion.

Drink Plenty of Water

Your body requires water to absorb nutrients and to aid with digestion. Dehydration can cause constipation and increase the risk of weak muscles, fatigue and dizziness. Health care professionals suggest that women drink 2.5 liters of water a day and men should consume 3.7 liters daily.

If you drink plenty of water, it will promote healthy digestion and can ease heartburn too. Some people prefer to drink warm water because it can speed up digestion. But cool water is perfectly fine.

You can add cucumber and mint leaves to your water to make it taste better and increase the soothing effect on the stomach. Both mint and cucumber are shown to assist in settling an upset stomach.

Take Hot Baths or Use a Hot Water Bottle

If you don’t have any of these natural remedies in your home, consider taking a hot bath. The heat will relax your muscles and reduce the effects of indigestion.

Another way to apply heat to your stomach is by using a hot water bottle or a heat pad. Ensure the bottle or heat pad is wrapped in a cloth or blanket so that it doesn’t burn your skin and then apply it to your stomach for 15-20 minutes.

Studies show that most chemical reactions in the body will accelerate when temperatures rise. Therefore, the digestion process will increase when you take a hot bath or apply heat to your body from a pad or hot water bottle. 

When You Should See a Doctor?

It’s natural for people to get indigestion every once in a while. But chronic indigestion could be a sign that you have underlining health problems such as IBS, gastrointestinal diseases, or even stomach cancer.

So if your indigestion persists or you notice any of the following symptoms, you should visit a practitioner:

  • Difficulties swallowing food
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stool that’s dark in color
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pains that won’t go away

It should be noted that some of the above-mentioned symptoms might be the cause of your indigestion. Furthermore, if any of the home remedies don’t work for your indigestion, visit your doctor to get the medicine you need.

Final Thoughts

Stomach pains and discomfort are upsetting and can disrupt your life. Prevention is better than treating and adding these food-type remedies to your meals can help you combat your indigestion before it begins. In addition, you should focus on eating healthier, less processed foods that are rich in nutrients so that you don’t experience frequent indigestion.

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