Finding instant heartburn relief naturally that truly works can feel like a hopeless quest.
But it really is possible to get natural relief for heartburn fast and end your dependency on antacids or PPIs without the pain of acid reflux.
In this post I’ll show how to relieve heartburn naturally with a 6 week acid reflux diet PLUS quick DIY:
- Heartburn relief drinks
- Natural heartburn treatments
- Old fashioned heartburn remedies
- And clever techniques to help heartburn fast at night.
Acid reflux and heartburn are complex conditions but many of us can get huge amounts of relief fast with simple changes to our diet and lifestyle. I hope these remedies help.
Table of Contents
This post is not qualified medical advice. Heartburn can have serious medical consequences.
- 6 Week Acid Reflux Diet
- DIY Heartburn Relief Drinks
- Natural Heartburn Treatments
- Traditional Heartburn Remedies
- Help Heartburn Fast At Night
6 Week Acid Reflux Diet
It is possible to tackle the causes of acid reflux and heal the damage it has done to our food pipe in as little as 6 weeks with 4 simple steps:
- Cut out junk food
- Avoid the worst food for heartburn including stuff you think is healthy
- Enjoy plenty of the best food for heartburn in everyday meals
- Make simple lifestyle changes.
These pretty easy tweaks to what and how we eat really can give instant heartburn relief naturally.
Junk Food & Heartburn
The 5 biggest triggers for heartburn and acid reflux are all junk and highly processed food:
They are not the only food that aggravates heartburn but are big easy wins for instant heartburn relief naturally as they just bring pain and not nutrition to our table.
If you don’t eat junk food jump to the other worst food for heartburn.
Sodas & Soft Drinks
All sodas – including diet free – are a disaster for heartburn as they:
- Are super acidic, cola has a ph of 2
- Trigger a big unnecessary release of the enzyme pepsin which we need to digest meat and dairy
- Put pressure with their bubbles on the gateways into our stomach
- AND are horribly full of inflammatory sugar and sweeteners!!
Other soft drinks are also a lethal combination of acid and sugar.
Avoiding all soft drinks is an essential first step in the 6 week acid reflux diet. They are NOT worth the pain.
Sugar & Fructose Syrup
Sugar triggers inflammation in our gut which puts excess pressure on the little muscle that stops stomach acid getting into our food pipe.
High sugar levels also damage nerves in this muscle – the LES sphincter – and stop it closing.
High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which now sweetens lots of food also seems to stop the LES muscle from closing our stomach properly.
Radically cutting sugar intake on the 6 week acid reflux diet is one of the best ways to relieve heartburn fast.
Deep Fried Food
It puts the gateway muscle between our food pipe and stomach into a spasm so it can’t close properly.
There are debates about whether specific oils cause the problem but the big culprit seems to be the very high temperature that deep fried take aways are cooked at.
So on the 6 week acid reflux diet totally avoid deep fried takeaways and go easy on other fried food.
Highly Processed Food
Our stomach also takes longer to break down synthetic chemicals in processed food which triggers excess gastric acid. Excess acid and poorly digested food escape as reflux.
Cooking everything from scratch is hard but we can get better at choosing healthier processed food.
On the 6 week acid reflux diet cook what you can from scratch and avoid any convenience food with long lists of ingredients you can’t pronounce!!
Food preservatives protect us from all sorts of nasty bugs in our food.
But many are highly acidic and some ENT specialists believe a big increase in use since the 70s has contributed to the rapid rise in heartburn.
Now obviously we’ve always used acidic citrus juices and vinegars to preserve food so the problem is really they are in everything from pre-packed salads to supposedly healthy wholemeal bread.
We can’t totally avoid preservatives but we can aim for a better balance.
Choose fresh food rather than packaged food as much as you can on the 6 week acid reflux diet.
OK so this first part of the acid reflux diet has no big shocks but we now need to look at some more surprising triggers of acid reflux and heartburn.
Worst Food For Heartburn
Some of the worst food for heartburn is actually nutritious food, healthy in moderation including:
- Fruit Juice & Smoothies
- Onions & Garlic
- Coffee & Caffeine
- Herbal Teas
We basically need to avoid all of these for 6 weeks to relieve heartburn and let our food pipe heal.
Click on any of the links to read why they trigger acid reflux. Or jump to the best food for heartburn to learn what to enjoy eating instead.
Fruit Juice & Smoothies
We have come to see a big glass of juice for breakfast as super healthy.
But the nutritional benefits of the fruit is outweighed by very high levels of glucose and acidity.
Guzzling great glasses of juice and smoothies both saturates our stomach with acid and aggravates damage to our food pipe lining.
We need to avoid fruit juice and smoothies completely on the 6 week acid reflux diet and going forward choose whole fruit rather than juice.
A couple of portions of fruit daily is a great part of a balanced diet.
But most fruit, which is highly acidic, will aggravate damage to our food pipe caused by recurrent acid reflux.
Avoid all acidic fruit on the 6 week acid reflux diet but you can enjoy in moderation when food pipe healed.
These low acid fruit can be eaten without triggering heartburn.
Tomatoes are big heartburn triggers.
But the fundamental problem is saturation. Many of us now eat this once seasonal fruit every day in highly concentrated pulp.
Avoiding tomatoes is perhaps the hardest challenge of the 6 week acid reflux diet but they really are one of the worst foods for heartburn.
Onions & Garlic
Onions and garlic are natural antibiotics with anti-fungal benefits and are great for heart health.
But they are some of the worst foods for heartburn from acid reflux.
The high sulphur that is the source of their benefits also:
- Generates excess gastric acid
- AND over relaxes the lower oesophageal sphincter so acid escapes and burns our food pipe.
Skip onion and garlic in home cooking and whenever easily feasible in other meals for 6 weeks.
Although not very acidic, peppers of all sorts are typically some of the worst food for heartburn.
General inflammation in our gut increases the upward pressure on our oesophageal sphincter, which lets gastric acid escape.
You should skip all types of pepper – black, chilli, cayenne & bell – for 6 weeks on the acid reflux diet.
Other nightshade vegetable can be problem food for heartburn.
Eggplants (aubergines) are a common trigger for acid reflux but baked or boiled potatoes are generally well tolerated.
Go easy on eggplants (aubergine) for 6 weeks on acid reflux diet.
Chocolate triggers heartburn attacks for an estimated 68% of sufferers.
The connection between chocolate and heartburn is theobromine.
In small doses it is why we all love chocolate as it is a natural vasilodator that opens blood vessels and stops muscles tensing up. It simply makes us feel better.
But gorging industrial size chocolate bars daily relaxes our LES sphincter so much it can’t keep gastric acid safely in our stomach. Yet again we have transformed something great in moderation into tummy torture.
Skip all chocolate for 6 weeks and then eat just a little dark chocolate after a meal French style.
Coffee & Caffeine
Caffeinated drinks are some of the worst foods for heartburn.
Caffeine triggers gastric acid which is great after a big meal when we need extra to break down food but a jugful is not great on an empty stomach!!
Start quitting caffeine at the start of the acid reflux diet. It typically takes 2 weeks to break the addiction.
Drinking alcohol in moderation does not cause heartburn. A little wine can in fact be great for our gut.
But most of us don’t drink a little. Today’s wine glasses are twice the size of one 50 years ago so we easily neck a week’s worth in one sitting!!
And excess alcohol is also a trigger for gastritis which adds to the pressure on our food pipe sphincter.
Go dry for 6 weeks if you can as it will reduce heartburn triggers but if you can’t vodka is less aggravating.
Nuts can be one of the worst foods for heartburn for some people.
But it’s complicated.
Roughly half of heartburn sufferers find nuts trigger acid reflux but problems are typically limited to:
Other nuts such as almonds, pistachios and walnuts seem to be generally tolerated.
Keep an eye on nuts on the 6 week acid reflux diet. They may be an explanation if you already skip the other worse food for heartburn.
Many herbal teas e.g. mint relax the muscles of our lower oesophageal sphincter too much letting stomach acid escape to burn our food pipe.
It is safer to skip all herbal teas – except chamomile – on the 6 week acid reflux diet.
OK so now we know what food we need to avoid to relieve heartburn fast let’s look next at what food is best for heartburn …
Best Food For Heartburn
Eating a diet rich in the best food for heartburn really can give instant relief for heartburn naturally.
So what actually is the best food for acid reflux and heartburn?
Well it needs to tick 5 key boxes:
- Low in acidity
- Doesn’t trigger excess gastric acid
- Doesn’t trigger excess gas
- Reduces inflammation
- Helps heal damage to our food pipe and stomach lining.
That’s a tall order but is doable for 6 weeks in a balanced diet of:
Low Acid Fruit
A small number of low acid fruit do have a ph of over 5.5:
- Mango (ripe)
- Cantaloupe melon
- Honeydew melon
- Jack fruit (ripe)
Eating a few small helpings of these daily gives us the healing benefits of vitamins A, C and E without triggering acid reflux.
Ripe bananas are a little more acidic but are well tolerated by many people with acid reflux.
Papaya are especially useful as they are low in fermentable sugars – FODMAPs – so won’t trigger excess gas. The others are higher in fibre so may trigger excess gas if you also have gastritis and IBS symptoms.
Good Quality Meat, Fish & Eggs
Meat, fish and eggs are the easiest way to eat plenty of the protein we need to heal acid reflux damage to our stomach lining and food pipe.
And if we typically eat very little, organic meat can be one of the best foods for heartburn as all the acid in our stomach is there to break down animal protein and fat. Saturating ourselves with fibrous pulses for protein can also trigger excess gas which exacerbates acid reflux.
However, if we have saturated our gut with cheap, fatty meat, a 6 week rest on the acid reflux diet can help relieve heartburn, as intensively farmed meat is inflammatory.
Good Quality Fat
A range of good quality fats are essential food for heartburn, a healthy gut and general well being.
If you’ve saturated yourself in dairy full of growth hormones and antibiotics don’t just opt for low fat. Eat less dairy but choose organic.
And enjoy other great quality fats e.g. oily fish, seeds, avocados.
Balancing Vegetables & Carbohydrates
Vegetables and pulse rich wholegrain diets are often recommended as great food for heartburn.
They can be if you have been eating junk and skipping fibre.
BUT if you’ve been clean eating and still have heartburn, doubling down can make things worse as acid reflux can be tied to gas from excess fibre.
So we need to be honest about what we’re saturated in and what shortfalls we need to balance out:
- Fibre shortfall: fill up on pulses, all vegetables & whole grains
- Fibre saturation: up your starchy carbs and less gassy vegetables.
Green soup can be great for heartburn if you were gorging fruit.
It’s full of essential vitamins for healing our food pipe and stomach lining and helps prevent constipation when we cut fruit out.
If you also have painful gas make it with low gas green vegetables.
Now to top off the acid reflux diet let’s look at 5 unbelievably simple lifestyle changes …
Simple Lifestyle Changes For Heartburn With Big Impact
5 simple lifestyle changes can cut acid reflux triggers even further:
- Take time to enjoy meals:
- Eat less by slowly savouring food
- Chew properly don’t bolt
- Sip don’t guzzle.
- Eat a small starter:
- To trigger saliva & really warm up your digestion system
- Before hitting your stomach hard with the main event!!
- Be active throughout the day:
- Go for a gentle walk after meals (also great for blood sugar)
- But don’t exercise after meals.
- Keep upright:
- Sit up smartly so you don’t scrunch your digestive system
- Don’t lie down during the day.
- Restructure meals so you:
- Fill up at breakfast and lunch
- Only eat lightly in the evening
- Finish eating at least 3 hours and ideally 5 before bed time.
The 6 week acid reflux diet makes an enormous difference for many people suffering long term with heartburn. You can boost the impact with these:
- DIY heartburn relief drinks
- Natural heartburn treatments
- Traditional heartburn remedies
- PLUS easy tips to relieve heartburn at night.
DIY Heartburn Relief Drinks
These quick DIY heartburn relief drinks won’t – unlike sodas or juice – give you acid reflux and can actually help heal a damaged food pipe:
- Aloe vera juice
- Celery juice
- Cucumber water
- Coconut water
- Alkaline water
- Green juice & smoothies
- Chamomile tea
Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera juice can relieve heartburn symptoms short term as much as heartburn medicines omeprazole and ranitidine. It can also help repair the scorched lining of our food pipe.
It is widely available in health stores. It can like all natural remedies have side effects so follow the product guidelines and don’t over do it.
Celery juice has become a big thing and many gut healing claims are made for it without much evidence.
But it is a refreshing alternative to sweet-acidic fruit juice that:
- Won’t trigger acid reflux
- Or aggravate our food pipe
- And can help heal the lining of our stomach and esophagus.
It is super easy to make celery juice in both juicers and blenders …
Cucumber water is another refreshing alternative to fruit juice. It:
- Has low acidity
- Requires little effort to digest
- Dilutes excess stomach acid with its high water content.
You can easily make your own …
Unsweetened coconut water is slightly acidic but it can sooth burning in the food pipe and overall inflammation. (It’s also a great natural sunburn remedy).
Green Juice & Smoothies
Juice and smoothies made with green leafy veg and low acid fruit are a refreshing way to get a big boost of all the healing vitamins our damaged food pipe needs without triggering more acid.
Herbal teas can be some of the worst foods for heartburn but chamomile tea can relieve acid reflux.
This may be due to the natural sedative powers in chamomile which also make it a helpful tea for bedtime headache relief.
Some ENT experts claim alkaline water with a ph of 8.8 neutralises pepsin the enzyme they believe causes most damage to the oesophagus but others caution that the stomach may produce more gastric acid in response.
Natural Heartburn Relief Treatments
Recently a number of natural heartburn relief treatments have become super popular including:
They can give natural heartburn relief fast but don’t always help.
This is because acid reflux is a mix of digestive problems including:
- Too much gastric acid
- Slow digestion
- Muscle inflammation
- Food pipe damage
- Low gut bacteria
- Bacteria overgrowth
- Excess intestinal gas
- Gas in the wrong place
- And more …!!!
So one single natural heartburn relief treatment will never help everyone.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) can give fast relief for long term heartburn and get people off antacids & PPI.
But it can make symptoms worse.
Success depends on whether the main cause of our acid reflux is:
- Severe digestive disruption from unbalanced acid, gas and bacteria
- Or an inflamed lower oesophageal sphincter (LES) that’s stuck open.
If you have a noisy, gurgling, angry, painful stomach with lots of belching and burping you’re likely case 1.
If you just have heartburn you may be case 2 and ACV may help as it can ease muscle inflammation.
Personally, I found ACV fantastic for chronic back pain due to an inflamed muscle but no help with my acid reflux which was definitely of the painfully gurgling gut variety!
Probiotics are now a go to for many gut conditions and some research shows they help with heartburn.
But again it depends.
Out of whack gut bacteria can delay stomach emptying and trigger LES inflammation if we’re super short on fibre or have saturated our gut with:
- Long term PPIs or antacids
- Junk food.
In which case probiotics plus more fibre may help heal the underlying gut dysbiosis and relieve reflux.
But take with care!!
Small helpings of gut healthy food can be cheaper and more effective.
If you already eat a high fibre diet rich in fermented food, probiotics may be the last thing you need as the cause of reflux can be bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine pushing gas through our stomach.
So don’t just follow the fad. Think about your underlying diet and its saturations and shortfalls then adjust in the best way for you.
Old Fashioned Heartburn Remedies That Work
These old fashioned heartburn remedies really can give instant heartburn relief naturally and there is now science behind their claims:
Bicarbonate of Soda
Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda in the USA) is a super cheap way to get quick short term relief for acid reflux.
It is often an ingredient in antacids.
So for instant heartburn relief:
- Dissolve 1/2 a teaspoon
- In a small glass of tepid water
- Drink slowly.
The bicarb will neutralise excess acid but like antacids it doesn’t tackle the real causes. Most of us do need the 6 week acid reflux diet to do that.
However do keep bicarb in your kitchen as it is a fabulously frugal way to treat a bunch of stuff such as:
Real natural honey helps relieve acid reflux and heartburn as it :
- Is anti-inflammatory
- Eases indigestion
- Helps heal damage to both food pipe and stomach lining
- Protects our food pipe from subsequent damage.
To take honey for instant natural heartburn relief after eating:
- Pour warm water over
- Half a teaspoon of real honey
- Stir gently to dissolve
- Sip slowly.
Proper natural honey – not the fake stuff of “multiple origins”!! – is another must stock for a simple natural remedy cupboard as it is a natural antibiotic that helps with:
Chewing gum is obviously not strictly speaking an old fashioned remedy for heartburn but chewing is.
And research shows chewing gum for 30 minutes after a meal can cut reflux. The gum triggers saliva which balances out excess gastric acid.
Just make sure the gum is sugar free and not peppermint flavoured.
Now we’ve got a whole host of instant heartburn relief remedies on top of the 6 week acid reflux diet it’s time for bed … and simple ways to help heartburn fast at night
Simple Ways To Help Heartburn Fast At Night
Very simple lifestyle changes can help heartburn fast at night:
- Don’t lie down before bed
- Wear loose fitting nightwear to prevent pressure on stomach
- Sleep on a pillow wedge with upper body at 45 degree angle or raise head of bed by 6 inches
- Eat a small evening meal at least 3-5 hours before bedtime
- After the 6 week reflux diet keep avoiding the worst foods for heartburn in evening.
These tweaks can have big impact.
We have now a whole set of tools we can use to get instant heartburn relief naturally …
- 6 Week Acid Reflux Diet
- Natural Heartburn Treatments
- DIY Heartburn Relief Drinks
- Traditional Heartburn Remedies
- Help Heartburn Fast At Night
I do hope they help you relieve your acid reflux and heartburn. Let me know how you get on.
And for more simple ways to relieve gut health check out these posts:
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