If you suffer with very occasional bouts of heartburn and indigestion then reaching for the bottle of antacid is just fine, but if you find you want reflux treatments on a regular basis you really should examine underlying causes.
Before we look at the steps you can take to rid yourself of Heartburn it will be useful to Examine the causes of acid reflux and chronic indigestion,
Despite its title heartburn has nothing to do with the center. It’s so named because the discomfort is felt in the chest around the area connected with the heart. The burning, discomfort and pain is truly brought on by stomach acid travel back into the esophagus (the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach). Normally the acidity is stored where it belongs, in the gut, by a valve at the bottom of the esophagus. The valve opens to let food into the stomach and then closes to keep the contents of the stomach comprised. There are four main reasons that acids and sometimes food manages to leave the gut and enter the stomach:
- High acid levels brought on by eating spicy foods or foods high in fats or sugars
- Low acidity level frequently caused by over use of antacids or acid inhibitors
- Relaxation of the esophageal valve due to specific foods
- Physical pressure brought on by pregnancy, obesity or a hiatus hernia.
The first three of these causes could be handled by creating some fairly simple changes to your lifestyle.
Measures to heartburn freedom
The first thing to do is track your eating and your heartburn. Each time you suffer heartburn record what you’d eaten in the 2 hours prior to the start of the condition. Additionally, it will be helpful to record where the distress was felt – low in the chest, to the peak of the chest or at the throat. Finally record whether the problem was just heartburn or in the event that you also endured regurgitation of food.
Armed with this information you should be able to recognize which foods are the causes to your problem. You will not necessarily need to cut these foods from your diet completely. I still like a curry though it’s my principal heartburn trigger food. I simply be certain if I’m to eat curry I do not over-eat, I’m sure I finish the meal by early day and I try to select curry which comprises ginger as ginger is one of the remedies I use to settle my stomach.
Foods that commonly cause heartburn
- Spicy foods – curry, cold etc
- Processed foods – lots of prepared meals contain high levels of sugars and fats and inadequate fiber
- Chocolate – sorry but chocolate is among the main culprits for relaxing that important esophageal valve
Of course we’re all different so that your trigger might not appear on the listing, but your food/heartburn journal should identify your triggers.
Change the way you eat
Modern living has encouraged us to consume greater quantities of food that is richer and to consume more quickly. Our digestive systems have just been unable to change as rapidly as our lifestyles.
We often skip meals, eat on the go or take rigorous physical activity soon after ingestion. We also often eat late in the day and retire to bed on a really full stomach. All these factors will result in indigestion and heartburn.
My dear old granny was fond of the proverb “Breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince and dine like a Pauper”. There’s a great deal more than a grain of truth in this.
It’s not tough to work out which will better for our digestive systems. Follow the wise words of the proverb or do what a lot of people do
- Skip breakfast Though you have not fueled your body because the previous evening
- Eat lunch on the way to a meeting or in your desk
- Overfill you stomach just before going to bed and leaving the food to digest through 7 hours of inactivity.
- Finally back to my dear old gran who would often scold me as a kid with the words”your stomach does not have any teeth, Chew. Chew. Chew”. You’re not giving your stomach a chance if you will cram enormous chunks of unchewed food into it.
Experiment with known organic aids to digestion. Again we’re all different so there’s nobody cure I can urge, cinnamon is proven to help some people with indigestion and cause heartburn for many others. Perhaps you could enhance your heartburn/food journal by listing which remedies have helped.