1. Eliminate refined carbohydrates, sugars and the numerous processed foods containing them from your diet.
Stop eating the regular American diet, in other words. This is frequently the major cause of heartburn! It really is incredible how easily and quickly heartburn can be stopped by a low carb diet. When stomach acid is low, too many carbohydrates are able to ferment inside the stomach and emit gases that may increase the pressure inside of the stomach which can cause bad breath, gas, bloating and acid reflux. This can also set the stage for additional digestive problems inside of the intestines.
2. Consume traditional proteins and fats.
When it comes to the low-carb equation, this is the other side of it. It is also somewhat implied by our first point. In addition to being excellent sources of nutrition, traditional proteins and fats help to reduce cravings for refined carbs and sugar. Fats provide anti-inflammatory effects to our digestive tract’s lining and protein helps drive digestion as well. Hydrochloric acid activates pepsin, which is the enzyme inside of stomach which digests proteins. Therefore, in order for protein to work properly, strong acid production is needed.
Maybe there is a reason why protein and fats occur in nature together so frequently?
Traditional protein and fats include:
- Wild fish
- Meat from pastured and wild animals
- Cultured and raw dairy (if tolerated)
- Organic, pastured eggs
- High quality oils – extra virgin olive oil, palm oil, coconut oil, tallow, lard
- Whole seeds and nuts, prepared properly
3. Go gluten-free.
No. 1 and No. 2 above should help dramatically. However, if they do not, you should consider going gluten-free. The main protein in barley, rye and wheat is gluten. It is almost impossible not to notice that there is a major epidemic currently going around in regards to gluten sensitivities and allergies.
No one is exactly sure why this is the case, but we do know that gluten is an extremely complex protein and a digestive system that is already compromised can hinder its digestion. In addition, over the last 50 years, hybridization has dramatically altered wheat. It is believed that what is really wreaking havoc inside our bodies are those new types of wheat.
Americans eat a ton of gluten. The very foundation of our standard American diet are cookies, crackers, bagels, muffins, pizza, pasta, breads, pancakes and breakfast cereals.
Start our with a two week trial of a gluten-free diet and see how it goes. For some people, just removing gluten from their diet is all it takes for their heartburn to completely disappear practically overnight.
4. Consume additional amounts of fermented beverages and foods.
Fermented beverages and foods do wonderful things for our digestion in both our intestines and our stomach. Fermented foods are actually alive, and are full of billions of beneficial bacteria populating inside of the digestive tract. Those bacteria are what turn cucumbers into pickles or cabbage into sauerkraut. The chemical changes have amazing health benefits which include helping to prevent heartburn. Try any of the following fermented foods as a small digestive boost in between meals, as a main meal or as a side dish:
- Whole milk yogurt that contains no added sugar
- Pickled beets
When it comes to pickles, make sure you drink the pickle juice also! It might disgust some of you, but it is inexpensive and can be incredibly effective. It can be just as effective or more so to drink fermented beverages as it is to eat fermented foods.
5. Consume liberal amounts of homemade bone broths.
These are real digestive powerhouses, loaded with gelatin, anti-inflammatory amino acids and minerals that can help to soothe as well as repair your digestive tract’s lining.
Easy to digest soups with bone broths can help ease the stomach’s burn, particularly if you have initial digestive difficulties when you eat more traditional proteins and fats.
Also, if heartburn is something you have been suffering from for quite some time, there is a good chance that you have some other digestive issues also. It is in fact rare for somebody to come in with just a problem with heartburn. They usually have intestinal problems also.
That makes a lot of sense once you understand why and how low acidity inside the stomach can set up other digestive problems in a domino-like effect.
In terms of minerals, as previously mentioned, one known side effect of using acid blockers long term is increased risk for bone fractures. That makes a lot of sense once you understand that stomach acid is needed for extracting minerals from your food.
6. Instead of taking an antacid, try using apple cider vinegar instead.
If you have started to become dependent on antacids, you can try to take apple cider vinegar instead. This gives your stomach a small digestive boost. Mix together 1 to 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in water and drink right before your meals.