Heartburn occurs when the stomach releases acids into the esophagus and throat. Many different things cause heartburn, but a few dietary and life changes can help keep the burn and discomfort of heartburn under control.
1.) Avoid large meals. Stuffing your stomach can make heartburn worse. Eat five to six small meals a day instead of three big meals. Take small bites and chew your food well.
2.) Eat more during lunch than at dinner. Eating too much in the evening doesn't give your body enough time to digest foods before you go to bed.
3.) Avoid foods that trigger heartburn. Rich, fatty and spicy foods will increase heartburn symptoms, as will carbonated drinks and any kind of coffee. Stay away from chocolate and citrus, too.
4.) Drink water during meals. Water will help wash acid from your esophagus and dilute the acids in you stomach. Beverages like beer, soda and milk stimulate the production of excess stomach acid.
5.) Chew gum (any flavor but peppermint ). Some studies show that chewing gum will decrease the discomfort of heartburn.
6.) Take a walk after eating. Gravity will help keep your stomach acids where they belong, and exercise will speed up digestion.
7.) Sleep at a slight incline. Prop yourself up on a few pillows to keep your stomach acids below your diaphragm, or elevate the head of your bed six inches using blocks. Wait for at least an hour after eating before lying down.
8.) Quit smoking. Smoking relaxes the valve in your esophagus that keeps stomach acid in the stomach.
9.) Try an herbal blend of 1 tsp. each chamomile flowers, lemon balm leaves and licorice root; 1/2 tsp. slippery elm bark; 1/4 tsp. each fennel seeds and catnip leaves; 1 1/2 c. boiling water; 1 1/2 c. carrot or apple juice ( optional ). Pour boiling water over the blend and steep for 15 minutes. Add the fruit juice if you want a drink instead of a tea. Drink after every meal. You can keep the mixture in the refrigerator for a couple of days or make it fresh daily.
Some people find that sleeping on the left side reduces the likelihood of heartburn at night.
Wear loose clothing to relieve pressure from your abdomen.
Eat a high-fiber diet to reduce constipation. Being constipated causes everything in your digestive track to back up.
Try over-the-counter antacids low in sodium and rich in calcium.
If natural attempts to control heartburn don't work, ask your doctor which over-the-counter antacids will work best for you.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact a physician or other health care professional before engaging in any activity related to health and diet. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.