Heartburn – Home remedies

It is common to have a heartburn after a sumptuous meal. How do we get rid of the heartburn that follows? Sharing some tips that have helped me over years.

When we eat spicy food, foods that leave a gassy effect (cabbage, chickpeas etc), too much of carbohydrates, too much of protein, not a well balanced meal, meals that are difficult to digest, foods that create discomfort (due to our lifestyle), we end up with a heartburn. This post is to help with quick relief tips and tricks for those having occasional heartburns. If you have constant heartburns, please reach out to your physician.

1. Lack of a balanced meal:

Indian spicy food is usually followed by Lassi (Yoghurt/curd based drink) or curd rice (yoghurt rice). Similarly, every country has a way to balance the flavors and taste. We end up picking an appetizer, entree and dessert from different cuisines and there starts our food and flavor imbalance.

2. Lack of a routine:

We end up eating meals late at night, not giving our liver enough time to rest and wake up in the morning, skip breakfast and try to eat a full meal for lunch – practically stuffing our stomachs and end up with a heartburn right after. Feeling full for an extended period of time, we end up skipping snacks and again back to late dinner. Some of us also have the habit of skipping dinner and breakfast and staying course with lunch. All these habits add up over a period of time, causing stress to the body – leading to heartburn.

3. Mistaken identity:

Sometimes heartburn can be mistaken for a heart attack. The gassy feeling in your chest, inability to breathe properly, not able to take a full deep breath, makes it hard for those around us to know whether we are suffering from a heart attack or GERD (severe heart burn due to skipping meals for extended periods of time is the most common cause).

So, when we have a heartburn and find it hard to breathe, how can we get back to normal..? I have shared these tips with my colleagues, family, friends and relatives and have seen it work well. Sharing only the ones that have consistently worked well for many of them.

Tips for addressing heartburn when it occurs

  1. Drinking sparkling water or soda helps us burp out the excess gas.
  2. Eating a handful of roasted fennel seeds (typically we find it outside Indian restaurants) helps digest and/or burp out the excess gas
  3. Eating Imli goli (Tamarind jaggery balls) after eating a rich and heavy meal helps digest and push down the gassy feeling. The sense of instant relief is felt within 2-3 minutes of eating 4-5 balls.
  4. Blending 1 cup yoghurt / curd with 3 cups of water, adding a pinch of salt and a pinch of asafoetida, and drinking it, helps create a cooling effect and soothes the heartburn.

If you cannot have dairy, try the other tips above.

Imli goli ( Available in Indian groceries)

How can we prevent the occurrence?

  1. Ensure you eat something every 3-4 hours
  2. Have an early dinner, sleep early and ensure you have a full breakfast early in the morning
  3. Try not to skip meals
  4. Avoid late dinner
  5. Understand what foods you ate that triggered the heavy heartburn (like cabbage, roasted veggies, barbecue foods/sauces, chickpeas, excess beans/lentils, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, milk, spicy food, excess grains)
  6. If you are prone to frequent heartburns, maintaining a journal of what you eat can help you avoid certain types of foods that can trigger it the next time around

If you have constant heartburns, or the above tips have not worked for you, please reach out to your physician. This post is not intended nor replace medical advice.

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