What we refer to as heartburn may actually be acid reflux. Strong acid from the stomach pushes up into the esophagus and burns the mucus membranes. This can be very painful and over time degrades the esophagus. The best way to avoid reflux is not to overeat. If you have recurrent problems, try eating 5 or 6 small meals, rather than 2 or 3 large ones throughout the day.
It is important to avoid trigger foods, too. You may come up with your own list by keeping a journal or observing what bothers you, but common triggers include spicy foods, high acid foods like oranges and tomatoes, and chocolate.
Drinking 2-4 oz of aloe vera juice every morning will help to heal the mucus membranes, promote good GI function and support immunity. This is a preventative or long-term solution. For more information about aloe vera juice see my blog at www.highdesertaloe.com
For short term relief, antacids reduce stomach acid and Alka-Seltzer will relieve gas and pressure. My Dad used to mix a tsp of baking soda in a glass of vinegar water and drink that down for a similar remedy.
Finally, try not to eat late at night and make sure to stay up at least a half hour after eating. Eat lighter meals at night and make your main meal mid-day.
If you are bothered with reflux at night, it may help to prop your head and shoulders up with pillows so that your head is about 30 degrees higher than your stomach.