Heartburn is suffered by around 20% of the population on a regular basis. Millions of people will suffer discomfort and pain every day. It’s fairly normal to suffer a mild case of heartburn occasionally, particularly when you know that you have overindulged. Unfortunately for some, it becomes a regular occurrence that really hinders daily life.
The first thing to recognize is that heartburn is a lifestyle condition. The main causes are what and how you eat and other aspects of your lifestyle. Heartburn sufferers often eat too fast or choose the wrong foods, often they do both of these things.
Despite its name heartburn has nothing to do with the heart, the name comes from where the discomfort is felt. Heartburn is actually a reaction to poor digestion.
You suffer heartburn when acid that should be contained in the stomach escapes and makes contact with your esophagus. This is called acid reflux and is simple acid traveling back into the esophagus. The esophagus is not designed to deal with strong stomach acids so when the acid reflux occurs we feel burning and irritation that can travel along the esophagus from the diaphragm up to the throat.
Not only does the condition cause discomfort, but long-term contact between acid and the esophagus is also very damaging, so it is very important to take steps to prevent it.
Step one in your fight to rid yourself of heartburn is to lose weight if you are carrying a few extra pounds. Excess weight Will cause pressure on the stomach, particularly if you have a tendency to carry tour weight around your midsection. This pressure will force the acid out of the stomach and up into your chest. Weight loss will alleviate this pressure.
Step 2 is to reduce the amount of food you eat in a meal. Eat smaller meals more often, maybe 6 small meals a day instead of 3 large ones. This allows the stomach to deal more efficiently with the food, avoiding the stomach remaining overfull and reducing the risk of heartburn
Step 3 is to have a very small meal as your last meal of the day and make it easily digestible, soup or breakfast cereal is good. You definitely need to completely avoid big meals just before you go to bed. You really don’t want large quantities of food resting in your stomach overnight.
Step 4 is to improve your posture particularly while eating and immediately after. Slouching in front of the TV with a meal on your lap is not great. You are aiming to remove pressure from your stomach which would cause acid reflux.
Step 6 is to increase the amount of water you drink and cut back on fizzy drinks. Carbonated drinks will add pressure to the stomach by filling you with gas. Water is essential to healthy gut function and will also help flush acid back into the stomach.
Step 6 is to start drinking green tea, at least one cup each day. Green tea is full of antioxidants that remove toxins from your body. Once the toxins are removed your stomach will work more efficiently and will produce less acid.
Step 7 is to make sure your clothes do not restrict or squeeze your midsection. Tight clothes can produce upward pressure on the stomach which will contribute to acid reflux.
Step 8 is to drink Ginger Tea as soon as possible when you feel the first symptoms of heartburn. Ginger is known to relax the stomach and is an effective instant relief. it is also healthier than taking antacids which can contribute to acid imbalance if used long term.
Step 9 will be a difficult one for some. You need to stop smoking. Nicotine from smoking will relax the esophageal sphincter (the valve between the esophagus and the stomach). this will allow acid to travel up into the esophagus. Smoke also strips the esophagus of the protective mucus which will mean the acid will irritate more. As a mini step, you could avoid smoking for at least 2 hours before eating but aim to give up completely.
Finally, Step 10. Heartburn is common at night because by lying down you are removing one of your allies. Gravity. If you suffer heartburn at night-time you need to raise your upper body. Extra pillows will not really do this effectively. The best ways are to raise the legs of the top end of the bed on 6-inch blocks or to put a wedge under the mattress at the pillow end.
So there you have it. Ten simple steps to being heartburn free. Lifestyle changes are a much more effective way of treating chronic heartburn than continually reaching for medication. Go ahead. Take action and you could be free of constant heartburn faster than you think.