In case of heartburn and acidity, there are some foods and plants that can act as real natural antacids and help relieve symptoms.
We have all tried at least once in our life a condition described as “stomach acid”: this term refers to a localized discomfort in the first part of the digestive system and characterized by an acid aftertaste that goes up from the stomach to the throat. It is often accompanied by retrosternal burning, and sometimes even with nausea or vomiting.
Heartburn, another term with which we can identify the annoyance just described, can be a sporadic event, linked to a wrong meal (too abundant, too rich in fat…) or much more frequent, when associated, for example, with other conditions such as gastritis, hiatal hernia, hypochlorhydria etc.
The unpleasant sensations we experience are due to the presence in the esophagus of part of the gastric secretion: it is characterized by a very acid pH, which inflames the mucosa of the other organs. When this discomfort occurs regularly, it becomes essential to be able to take advantage of remedies for stomach acid : in the absence of these, in fact, even sleep and more generally well-being could be affected. We remind you that, in these cases, it is always essential to first contact your doctor.
Characteristics of an antacid
As an antacid remedy for the stomach we mean any substance capable of improving the unpleasant sensation felt by the patient in the esophagus or throat. Not all substances have the same functioning: in general, in medicine an antacid for the stomach is considered a substance capable of neutralizing the acid pH of the stomach, but there are also molecules with different mechanisms of action and which can be considered, vulgarly speaking, anti-acidity. Some of these molecules, for example, act by forming a protective layer on the gastroesophageal mucosa, others allow to speed up the emptying of the stomach, preventing reflux.
When the situation is not particularly serious, it is possible to resort to natural antacids and to change some habits, including anticipating dinner time, sleeping with the head slightly raised and inserting anti-acidity foods in one’s diet. So let’s see which are the best natural antacids.
10 natural antacids against stomach acid
Faced with the plethora of antacids for reflux and heartburn, we want to show you some particularly effective natural remedies that can help with heartburn. We remind you that before taking any remedy it is advisable to seek the advice of your doctor.
1. Sodium bicarbonate
Sodium bicarbonate is considered by many to be the best natural antacid, easily available and inexpensive: it can also be purchased at the supermarket. It works by neutralizing the acidity due to gastric juices as it has an alkalizing effect. It is recommended to take it after meals, by dissolving 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate in a glass of water. It is suitable for everyone, but in the case of children it is essential to discuss with the pediatrician and in the case of the adult it is important to consult the doctor if there are other concomitant therapies.
2. Apple cider vinegar
Organic and unfiltered apple cider vinegar is recommended in case of reflux in the amount of 1-2 tablespoons dissolved in a little water, to be taken 30 minutes before main meals. This recommendation is especially valid in those suffering from hypochlorhydria (therefore with stomach pH too little acid), because it allows to increase acidity and therefore improve the transit of the bolus in the stomach, speeding up gastric emptying. The same treatment is, for example, suggested in patients with Parkinson’s disease, who frequently report gastrointestinal symptoms.
3. Soluble fibers
The intake of soluble fiber has many benefits, including that of exercising a protective role in case of gastroesophageal reflux. The use of these fibers are in fact associated with a lower production of hydrochloric acid by the stomach (useful, therefore, in case of hyperacidity). Among the most readily available soluble fibers are glucomannan, psyllium or partially hydrolyzed guar gum. They are available in both powder and supplement form. It is suggested to take them diluted in a little water 15-20 minutes before main meals.
Honey has a powerful anti-inflammatory action, which improves the symptoms of reflux and reflux esophagitis. It also carries out an antibacterial activity, which is useful as heartburn is very often associated with H. Pylori, in turn the main actor in many gastritis. We suggest you choose a quality product, choosing possibly organic honey, of the variety you prefer (eg wildflower, acacia, chestnut). You can use 1 teaspoon of honey dissolved in water with a little lemon, or to sweeten herbal teas, several times a day.
The mucilages present in the mallow allow to create a “film” that protects the walls of the stomach and esophagus from gastric acids. This film is obtained when the mucilages come into contact with water. We suggest you take mallow through herbal teas : get the product prepared by your trusted herbalist; then use the mallow leaves (1 level spoon) to prepare an infusion, leaving them for 10 minutes in a cup of boiling water. To be taken 3 times a day.
Chamomile has anti – inflammatory and soothing properties. It also contains azulene, a molecule that allows you to quickly restore the integrity of the membranes. Also in this case we suggest you buy the dried flowers in your trusted herbalist’s shop and prepare chamomile-based herbal teas. Infuse 1 tablespoon of flowers in a cup of water for about 5 minutes and drink before meals.
Ginger is an excellent natural digestive and can be used to improve the symptoms of indigestion that are often associated with heartburn, such as nausea. In addition, there are ginger-based supplements on the market indicated in case of reflux. Ginger can be used fresh to prepare herbal teas, to be consumed after meals, or you can use the herbal products on the market.
Several studies show the effectiveness of licorice (extracted or deglycerized) in dyspepsia. It is known to increase the amount of mucus, the layer that protects the cells that line the gastro-digestive system. Furthermore, licorice has anti-ulcer and antimicrobial properties against H. Pylori, the causative agent of many gastritis, which are frequently linked to heartburn. It can be taken in the form of herbal tea or as herbal preparations, easily available on the market. To be avoided in case of hypertension.
The marshmallow root works similar to that of the aforementioned mallow: the mucilages have an emollient activity and protect the walls of the gastrointestinal tract. It is advisable to leave a tablespoon of marshmallow roots to soak in a cup of water overnight and then boil the mixture the following day. Alternatively, it is possible to make a decoction by letting the roots boil for 10 minutes, then filter and drink while lukewarm. To be consumed at the end of each meal.
10. Extra virgin olive oil
The extra virgin olive oil, consumed raw during the main meals, can be a help to prevent stomach acid. In fact, it has great anti-inflammatory properties, useful in case of inflammation of the esophageal mucosa and also stimulates the production of bile by the liver, so as to improve digestion. We suggest you to use extra virgin olive oil, cold extracted and to take 1 tablespoon raw at the end or at the beginning of the main meals.