HEARTBURN !! Just like heartbreak, we’ve all suffered from it, at some time or the other. After a heavy spicy, greasy meal or that late night warm, gooey pepperoni pizza; your digestive system kicks in! You get the burning pangs of discomfort and pain in the middle of the chest. Heartburn typically strikes after meals and can last several hours. Then there are also those who suffer from heartburn on a long time basis, a condition called GERD (Gastro esophageal reflux disease). Anyone can develop heartburn, but certain lifestyle factors including dietary modifications affect how well the sphincter works, as well as the amount of acid produced by the stomach, which can lessen or alleviate symptoms. There are meds, people suffering from GERD and Heartburn take, which help, but in this post I’m talking about Food and Lifestyle changes.
If you are prone to heartburn DON”T….!!
- Go to bed or lie down soon after eating. Having food in your stomach when you lie down can trigger acid reflux symptoms such as heartburn.
- Eat late night snacks.
- Drink too much alcohol or smoke cigarettes. Both aggravate the condition.
- Indulge in fatty or spicy foods.
- Eat certain fruits and vegetables like citrus, tomatoes, and onions. These may not affect everyone, so you have to watch for yourself to figure out what triggers your heartburn.
- Drink too much soda, coffee, and other carbonated or caffeinated beverages
- Eat too much chocolate.
- Get overstressed. The digestive system is very sensitive to stress of any kind and acidic contents tend to linger in the stomach longer during times of stress.
Tips to help heartburn. DO….!!
- Eat at least 3 hrs before bedtime.
- Eat slowly: Take your time to enjoy and digest your meal. If you wolf down your fav fast food in the car, in heavy traffic, you’re increasing your chance of heartburn.
- Exercise : This not only helps relieve stress, but can decrease heartburn symptoms as well. Physical activity helps to keep the digestive system moving like it should. Even a short stroll around the block can help especially after a meal.
- Elevate the head of your bed: Use a pillow or two or place 4- to 6-inch blocks under the legs at the head of your bed. Either way your head is elevated and can help put gravity to work for you.
- Know your food triggers and avoid them: Certain fruits like citrus, especially oranges and grapefruit seem to affect people. If you are one of those, avoid them. In general spicy foods and fatty foods affect most people who have GERD or who are prone to heartburn. If that’s your trigger, eat milder versions of the same food rather than giving it up. Coffee tea, carbonated drinks seems to be a strong trigger for most people with GERD, so limit or avoid consumption of the same. However, unless these are causing you acid reflux symptoms, you don’t have to avoid them. Different people have different triggers.
- De-stress: Very important. Do whatever it takes for you to De -stress! Listening to music, working out, spending time just chilling with my family works for me. So do whatever you need to and de-stress!
If all of this is simply not enough, consider taking an over-the-counter medication like Prevacid®24HR to treat frequent heartburn. Prevacid®24HR prevents acid that causes frequent heartburn for a full 24 hours.
I have a home-made version of a drink that works for me, my family and my clients, to helps soothe heartburn . It’s very easy to make and tastes quite nice. Skip the lemon if it’s one of your triggers and add some honey if you like it a little sweet !
I glass warm water + 1/4 tsp sodium bicarb + 1 tsp lemon juice + a pinch of ginger powder or freshly grated ginger.
Mix all this together and drink up Sodium Bicarb helps acid indigestion by neutralizing excess stomach acid. It works like an antacid ! Don’t overdo the Sodium bicarb or it can cause loose stools. This is a good drink to drink before the meal if you’re prone to heartburn.