Heartburn: Why You Should Take It Seriously & How To Prevent It
Heartburn is an issue arising from a weak valve in the esophagus. Some people are naturally more prone to it.
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Have heartburn, acidity, gas, and other stomach issues been bothering you?
Do you experience frequent belching, difficulty swallowing, regurgitation of bitter, sour tasting fluid, or irritation of the throat?
Do you get a burning sensation coming up in the chest after eating a meal?If yes, it’s time to take your symptoms seriously.
Unfortunately, some people are naturally prone to experience heartburn because the muscle acting as a valve at the base of the esophagus is weaker than others.
Some people also have fewer digestive enzymes compared to others. Thus, it can't stop the food from going back up the way it came and leads to heartburn.
Smokers and people who don't exercise frequently are more prone to heartburn. Plus come summer, and the deadly duo of unhealthy lifestyles and the blazing heat can trigger heartburn even more.
Heartburn: Foods To Avoid
Let's first understand what heartburn actually is. When you feel a burning sensation coming up in the chest right after a meal (no, it is not a normal step of digestion), it’s called heartburn and it is a signal that you are doing something wrong.
Interestingly, even though it occurs behind the upper ribcage, the problem actually lies in your gut.
If it is left untreated, it might lead to more serious health problems, like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
How To Prevent Heartburn
Lifestyle changes can help control it to quite an extent. Following the below mentioned simple changes diligently may be all you need to do to nip the problem in the bud and help prevent chronic heartburn.
Always sit up straight during meals. Don't watch television or read while eating (let the brain and the gut both concentrate on the food).
Eat slowly and chew well (give your gut as much help as you can).
Avoid eating less than three hours before bedtime and don't lie down straight after eating. In fact, a five-minute walk after every meal is a good idea; it prevents stomach secretions from rising into the esophagus.
Drink enough fluid (about eight glasses of water) every day.
Have smaller meals. The bigger the meal, the more acid your stomach has to produce, and too much acid may cause some of it to slip back up causing irritation in the esophagus which results in burning heartburn pain.
Lowering your fat intake gradually may also curb heartburn. Dietary fat stimulates the production of stomach acid, thereby causing the same problem you’ll experience when you’ve eaten too much in one sitting: overflow of acid into your esophagus.
Caffeine, alcohol, fried, fatty foods, chocolate, and citrus juices irritate the esophagus big time, so go easy on these. Some more are tomato products, licorice, and peppermint.
Eat foods like papaya and pineapple as they promote the formation of enzymes; these digestive enzymes help break down protein for easier absorption.
Avoid nicotine. Nicotine irritates the esophagus. Furthermore, smoking decreases the production of saliva, which helps protect the esophagus from acid.
Exercise regularly, it strengthens digestion. Avoid wearing tight pants that bind at the waist as they too can contribute to heartburn.
Try to eliminate stressors in your everyday life by practicing deep breathing techniques, listening to music, and stretching as stress often leads to indigestion.
Some Home Remedies You Can Try
Try drinking apple cider vinegar mixed with water.
Drink aloe vera juice for fast-acting relief.
According to Ayurveda, if you want to detox your stomach, drink a large glass of water that has been stored in a copper vessel, early in the morning on an empty stomach.
Water stored in a copper vessel can help the digestive system perform better as copper has properties that stimulate peristalsis (the rhythmic contraction and relaxation of the stomach that helps food get digested and move along the digestive tract), kill harmful bacteria and reduce inflammation within the stomach, and proper elimination of waste.
All this can help keep heartburn away. Worth trying out, I say!
(Kavita Devgan is a nutritionist, weight management consultant, and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico), Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa) and Fix it with foods.)
(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)
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