Step 1: Aloe
Aloe, a plant usually used to soothe burns, could do the same thing for stomachs, says Victor Sierpina MD, professor of integrative and family medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch, in Galveston, and author of The Healthy Gut Workbook.
Aloe vera juice reduces inflammation so "it quiets down any inflammation that is in the esophagus as well as the stomach," Dr. Sierpina says.
He recommends drinking 1/2 cup before meals, but warns that the juice can be a laxative. Look for brands that say the laxative component has been removed, such as Aloe Vera Power.
Step 2: Baking Soda
Old wives' tales will tell you the best way to beat heartburn is with a little sodium bicarbonate (baking soda).
"Baking soda is OK for most people with heartburn," says Jacqueline Wolf, MD, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "Because it's a base, it helps neutralize [stomach] acid."
Dr. Wolf, author of A Woman's Guide to a Healthy Stomach, recommends mixing between 1/2 and 1 teaspoon of baking soda with a glass of water. But avoid making baking soda your go-to remedy if you regularly have heartburn—it is high in salt and could cause side effects like swelling and nausea.
Step 3: Chewing Gum
Besides eliminating garlic breath, chewing gum after a meal might have other advantages, research suggests.
In a small study from the Journal of Dental Research, people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms experienced heartburn relief when they chewed a piece of sugar-free gum for 30 minutes after a meal.
"Chewing gum stimulates the salivary flow rate," says study author Rebecca Moazzez, DPhil, clinical lecturer in King's College London's department of restorative dentistry. "Any acid that accumulates in the gut is washed away and cleared more quickly. The clearance of acid improves GERD symptoms."