7 Ways to Stop Heartburn Without Antacids

Skip the expensive medicine and use these simple methods to get rid of your heartburn for good.

August 7, 2017
woman heartburn
sdominick/Getty Images

Heartburn is miserable. It can make you feel bloated, nauseous, and as if your whole chest is on fire. 

All that fiery pain is probably why most people assume heartburn is caused by too much stomach acid. Guess what? It's actually most often caused by too little stomach acid, combined with problem foods and poor gut health. 

More: 13 Simple Home Health Remedies That Actually Work

But the truth is, when you wake up in the middle of the night in agony and gasping for breath, the only thing you care about is making the burn stop—not what caused it! And your instincts are spot on. You definitely need to resolve acid reflux; over time, it can lead to a cascade of digestive problems, including bacteria overgrowth, inflammation, and leaky gut

Here are seven practical, natural ways you can stop heartburn without reaching for over-the-counter acid blockers. (That's crucial, since acid-reducing medications have been linked to serious immune issues, osteoporosis, and premature death!)

citrus fruit
PeopleImages/Getty Images
1. Limit offending foods

Some foods can cause the esophageal sphincter to relax, allowing stomach acid to seep back into the esophagus. These offending foods include tomatoes, citrus, chocolate, coffee, and tea. I know it's hard—I love some of them, too! But try removing them for a period of time so you can feel better again—and follow this elimination diet to start. 

More: Top 10 Foods That Trigger Heartburn & Acid Reflux

dieting weight loss
ilarialuciani/Getty Images
2. Shed excess pounds

In addition to its other problems, being overweight greatly increases your risk of developing symptoms of reflux. Swap heartburn for fat loss by eating a combination of lean protein, healthy fats, plenty of non-starchy veggies, and slow-low carbs. Having a protein shake for breakfast is my number one needle mover for fast, lasting weight loss. That's important when you need to drop excess pounds and your risk of heartburn along with them! 

More: 13 Strategies to Banish Belly Fat for Good

sugar donut
saraidasilva/Getty Images
3. Lower your sugar-impact

Multiple studies prove that lowering your sugar impact can improve acid reflux disease (follow these 19 ways to give up sugar to start). In fact, research shows that eating high-sugar carbohydrates might worsen reflux even more than dietary fat or coffee, and that a diet low in carbs relieves symptoms. Include some low-sugar impact carbs on your plate, like beans, squash, and berries. 

More: 15 Painless Ways to Crush Sugar Cravings

gluten bread
Ivan/Getty Images
4. Drop the gluten

It's estimated that about 30 percent of the population has some form of gluten sensitivity, and that triggers many of the same symptoms of reflux. In fact, in one study, subjects who eliminated gluten noticed a "rapid and persistent improvement in reflux symptoms." That's why it's key to uncover your food intolerances and eliminate foods like gluten that are most likely to cause stubborn weight gain and uncomfortable symptoms like acid reflux. 

More: 9 Sneaky Sources of Gluten

supplement vitamins
digicomphoto/Getty Images
5. Take smart supplements

Most of us make fewer digestive enzymes and stomach acid as we age, which means we can't break down proteins as well. The result? Acid reflux and other digestive issues. Taking a high-quality digestive enzymes supplement with meals can improve protein breakdown and help combat symptoms like gas, bloating, and heartburn. 

More: 10 Rules to Know Before You Start Taking Any New Supplement

stress work
Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury/Getty Images
6. Address your stress

You're probably already well-aware that stress and anxiety can lead to acid reflux and other gut issues. Research proves it, as subjects who are exposed to prolonged stress have significantly increased pulse rates, blood pressure, and reflux symptoms (in addition to many other scary effects). So make relaxation a top priority! Take your bike for a spin, have a picnic lunch in the park, or read a book that you love.  

More: 8 Ways You Can Manage Stress Right Now

Ghislain and Marie David de Lossy/Getty Images
7. Get high-quality sleep

One study showed a downward spiral: a bad night's sleep worsened symptoms of reflux the following day, which in turn led to a further decline in sleep quality. To prepare yourself for a solid night's sleep, power down your electronics about an hour before bed, relax in a warm bath with Epsom salts, or drink a cup of naturally soothing chamomile tea. 

More: 50 Tricks to Sleep Better Tonight

Instead of resorting to antacids the next time you feel the burn, start with these lifestyle shifts and all-natural supplements—you'll be on your way to relief from acid reflux for good! 

See Next