Acid Reflux; Hiatal Hernia

Acid Reflux 


The solution to a problem is not always found at the level of the problem. Chasing symptoms with antacids and other medication can be a dead-end street, unless you are dedicated to personally enriching the stockholders of pharmaceutical companies.

If you suffer from reflux or a hiatal hernia, or just simple “heartburn” indigestion, you might want to give these ideas a try. Let me say at the outset that none of these methods are likely to move, close or heal a hiatal (or any other) hernia. For that, you need to see your doctor. But while you are waiting for the appointment, it makes perfect sense to get some relief.

1. CHEW YOUR FOOD THOROUGHLY! This simple measure is the one most often untried. It costs nothing and has no harmful side effects. It does require some discipline to chew your food as my mother wished us to: 30 times each mouthful. Of course we never did that . . . but the essential wisdom endures. Try for twenty.

2. Make your midday meal your largest meal, and do not eat after 5 PM. It is amazing how many indigestion symptoms go away when you do so.

3. Eat easy to digest food.  This includes fruits; rice; steamed vegetables; sprouted seeds and grains; broiled fish; well-cooked beans; aged cheeses, yogurt, and cottage cheese; and especially vegetable juices. Make a point to avoid fried food. Stop eating processed meats. (And if you can't manage that 100%, at least avoid the worst of them: cold cuts, ham, pastrami, pepperoni, and deli meats.) 

4. Multiple digestive enzyme tablets may help, particularly if you did not follow the advice in step 3, above. Betaine hydrochloric acid tablets may also work. Dr. Jonathan Wright's book "Why Stomach Acid is Good for You" says that many people 50 and older need more stomach acid, not less. If your stomach acid is lacking, it can lead to heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, bloating and gas. Insufficient stomach acid means that pepsin cannot properly digest our protein foods.

5. Eat more dried figs, fresh pineapple, fresh kiwi fruit, and dried or fresh papaya. These foods are loaded with digestive enzymes.  Good quality yogurt contains beneficial digestive bacteria.

6. Raise your head at night.  Sleep on a thicker pillow, or stack up two thin ones. Some people prefer a foam rubber, wedge-shaped bolster pillow.

7. Chiropractic adjustments can help.  Try three visits and see.

8. The homeopathic remedy (and Schuessler Cell Salt) Natrum Phos, 6X, may help.

9.  Reduce stress.  Yeah, right! Easier said than done, isn't it. Meditation, relaxation, music, reading, or just some plain old time alone can really make a difference.

10. Eat almonds. One reader writes: "I wanted to tell you what everyone in my family uses for heartburn: almonds. It doesn't matter if they are roasted or raw; they work! Next time you have heartburn, thoroughly chew 5-6 almonds. My sister used antacids for years, including Prilosec, and now has not used them for over a year since she discovered the almonds. I tried it myself, and was amazed at how well they worked. Just as well as anything on the market, cost effective, and very good for you also. I guess my grandmother was right all these years when she always told me nature provides for all our ailments."

11. If your symptoms are really troublesome, see your doctor. While you are waiting for the appointment, you might try going on a juice-only diet for a three to seven days.  I have met some people who have had acid reflux for so long that there was damage to and scarring of the esophagus. I acquainted them with the four-glasses-of-cabbage-juice-a-day hospital-tested protocol of Garnett Cheney, M.D. While originally used primarily on stomach and lower gastrointestinal conditions, cabbage juice proved has proven effective above the tummy as well.

Dr. Cheney found that the entire gastrointestinal tract, from throat to colon, benefits from fresh raw cabbage juice, taken regularly and in quantity. His articles are far from new, but what has changed about cabbage? 

Cheney G. Antipeptic ulcer dietary factor. American Dietetics Association 26:9 September, 1950. 

Cheney G. The nature of the antipeptic ulcer dietary factor. Stanford Medical Bulletin, 8:144, 1950. 

Cheney G. Prevention of histamine-induced peptic ulcers by diet. Stanford Medical Bulletin, 6:334, 1948. 

Cheney G. Rapid healing of peptic ulcers in patients receiving fresh cabbage juice. California Medicine, 70:10, 1949. 

Cheney G. Vitamin U therapy of peptic ulcer. California Medicine, vol. 77, Number 4, October, 1952. 


"When I eat very slowly and chew everything VERY thoroughly on a regular basis, I have much less heartburn.  (This is in addition to eating a healthy diet.)  This was about the last thing I tried, so maybe it was a combination of doing all the other things and this last thing just put me over the top."  M. L.


"I've found that the digestive enzymes help me most, especially when I follow your other suggestions." B. T.

 “For me, stress and anxiety has contributed to the problem. I tried taking a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a half glass of water, and it works! Aloe Vera juice also helps.” T.N.

“I used to have tremendous hiatal episodes. I'd get progressively more intense throbbing pains that after about an hour and then would slowly diminish for another hour. About 20 months ago, I cut out soda, beer, and high fructose corn syrups and all trans-fats from my diet. After about two months, the symptoms, along with reflux, disappeared completely.” B.P.


Copyright 2007 and prior years by Andrew Saul. Revisions copyright 2018.


Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at )



Andrew W. Saul


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