Most of us have experienced that burning sensation in our chest we know as heartburn.
Despite the name, the discomfort has nothing to do with the heart, but is caused by stomach acid splashing up into the esophagus where it doesn’t belong. So, what can you do to find relief?
Mark Hausmann, MD, shares five tips to help you beat the burn:
- Eat small, frequent meals. A very full stomach can cause stomach acid to back up into the esophagus. Instead, eat smaller meals more often.
- Don’t go to bed with a full stomach. Lying down after meals and eating big bedtime snacks are prime risk factors for heartburn. Eat meals at least two to three hours before lying down.
- Ban trigger food. Common trigger foods include spicy meals, fatty red meat, fried foods, orange and tomato juice, raw onion, tomato sauce, butter, oil, chocolate and caffeine.
- Downsize yourself. A spare tire around your abdomen will press against the stomach, pushing acid upward. Lose weight, and you’re less likely to suffer heartburn.
- Kick butts. Smoking cuts down on saliva, which normally flushes stomach acid out of the esophagus and contains a natural acid fighter, bicarbonate. Try chewing gum after meals instead because it can increase saliva and reduce esophageal acid levels.