Natural health: What can I do about my heartburn? 

Another reader wonders what natural remedy is available for bloating 
Natural health: What can I do about my heartburn? 

Low stomach acid levels are among the most surprising causes of heartburn.

I suffered from heartburn when I was pregnant and thought it would disappear once the baby was born. But two years on, I still have it. My diet is good and I have just one coffee once a day. What would you suggest?

Digestion is a critical process. It helps the body absorb nutrients and plays a key role in our immune response. Eating whole foods, ensuring your diet is rich in fibre, and avoiding processed or spicy foods is essential for mitigating symptoms.

Low stomach acid levels are among the most surprising causes of heartburn. When the stomach acid levels are low, the gastro-oesophageal
valve can remain open, predisposing you to symptoms such as reflux and heartburn.

Supplementation is the easiest way to remedy this issue. Along with probiotics, digestive enzymes, and betaine HCl, you might like to consider gut-healing and soothing nutrients such as glutamine, zinc, and essential fatty acids.

Several herbs work to calm the digestive system and support the nervous system, such as chamomile, hops, lemon balm, spearmint, and liquorice root. Use any combination or a single herb and make an infusion using a teaspoon of dried herb per cup of boiling water and steep for four to six minutes. Drink hot or cold and take two to three cups daily.

There are ways you can mitigate the effect your daily cup of coffee may be having on your digestive system. It is best not to have milk or sugar with it as these can contribute to the heartburn you are experiencing and negate the potential health benefits the coffee bean can provide.

If you don’t like black coffee and prefer a milky brew, you could blend it with oil. I know this may sound strange, but whizzing up your espresso with a teaspoon or two of MCT or coconut oil in a blender and then topping it up with boiling water has a similar taste to a flat white. This method also helps to prevent leaky gut syndrome and supports the health of your gut microbiome.

NOTE: If you are on NSAID or corticosteroid medications, you should not take betaine HCl without consulting your physician, as it can lead to gastritis when combined with these drugs.

My teenage daughter complains of bloating when she eats. It happens daily, so probably not connected to her menstrual cycle. Is there a natural remedy she could take?

It is good that you have ruled out the possible link to her menstrual cycle, as this can be a common symptom. Keeping a food diary, noting symptoms after consuming foods, can help pinpoint if there is a link with a particular food, food group, or dietary constituent (such as gluten or lactose) at the root of the problem.

Bloating and gas can indicate a more serious underlying digestive disorder such as Crohn’s, irritable bowel disorder, or ulcerative colitis but are generally linked to an intolerance. One of the most common triggers for bloating is wheat and gluten.

Herbal bitters are a great way to prevent a build-up of intestinal gas, including dandelion, gentian, and Andrographis. They work by stimulating digestion, releasing digestive juices from the pancreas, duodenum and liver. 

This process means that food is digested more effectively, nutrients are more readily assimilated, and there is less chance of undigested food sitting in the digestive tract, causing gas and bloating.

  • Do you have a question for Megan Sheppard? Email it to feelgood@examiner.ie 

  • NOTE: The information contained in this column is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult a doctor.

More in this section

ieStyle Live 2021 Logo
ieStyle Live 2021 Logo

IE Logo
Outdoor Trails

Discover the great outdoors on Ireland's best walking trails

IE Logo
Outdoor Trails

Lifestyle
Newsletter

The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to your inbox.

Sign up
Execution Time: 0.23 s