Is heartburn holding you back from enjoying life? Have you started to gulp down antacids frequently just to get relief from that irritating heartburn? If the answers to the above questions are yes for you there is actually nothing to worry. It might not be at all related with your heart rather your digestive system. While heartburn can be easily treated even without medication, just by changing your food habits and lifestyle, if it goes unchecked for long it can cause ulcer in the esophagus or throat which can turn serious.
So, if you are suffering from heartburn, the first step you need to take is to check out the right foods and the easy tips that can help to dissipate the problem. Do not worry, we will not suggest you to discard all your favorite foods, but we will inform you the ways to eat what you love in the right way so that it does not cause heartburn and make you suffer. Read on,
What is heartburn?
Heartburn or the burning discomfort in the throat or chest area is not necessarily related with the heart (however, sudden and severe heartburn with pain that spreads towards the left arm might indicate a heart attack). In most of the cases it is caused due to back flow of the stomach acids into the esophagus. Esophagus is commonly known as the food pipe, which connects the stomach with the mouth. Heartburn can be caused for some particular foods but they vary extensively from person to person. Not eating the food in the right way or during the right time can also be a reason of heartburn.
Tips to avoid heart burn
Eating food the right way has a high impact in ensuring that it does not cause heartburn. If you are suffering from chronic heartburn, keep the next tips in mind and follow them every time you are eating something.
Chew it properly
No matter what you eat, eating it in the right way is very important in order to avoid heartburn. The digestion process of the body starts right from the mouth and not chewing food properly is one of the common causes that results into indigestion and subsequent heartburn in many cases. While chewing the food, the enzymes present in saliva starts working on it and complete an important stage of digestion before the food gets through the food pipe. Just gulping down food hurriedly without chewing it properly is one of the common reasons of heartburn. So, to avoid heartburn always chew your food properly.
Eating slowly is important in order to ensure that the food is properly passed to the stomach before you take in the next bite. This helps in better digestion of the food and the slow eating also minimizes the chance of acid influx into the esophagus. It also helps digestion promoting overall better digestive health. So, when you are eating, take your time and enjoy it.
Focus on your meal
According to the doctors, executives who eat their meal while reading files or talking on the phone or working on the computer, are the ones who mostly suffer from problems like heartburn and indigestion. Eating unconsciously or without paying attention to it increases the chance of acid reflux into the esophagus, causing heartburn. So, make sure that when you are eating, you are just eating and not doing anything with your mobile, computer or those files that you have to read.
Keep a check on your portion
One of the most common reasons of heartburn is over eating. Your digestive system is designed only to deal with a certain amount of food at a time. If you eat too much, the acids will reflux into the esophagus causing heartburn as well as many other digestive problems. Make sure that you never eat to the full of your stomach if you are suffering from heartburn frequently. Eat to the point that leaves your body feeling comfortable and not too heavy. If you feel hungry afterwards, you can always opt for a fresh fruit or something like that to fill the hunger but eating a lot at one time is certainly not recommended particularly if you are trying to avoid heartburn.
Do not go to sleep right after a meal
After you have taken food your body gets busy with digesting it. The sleeping posture is not at all suitable for digestion and if you go to sleep right after having your meal, you are most expected to wake up with heartburn. It is best to take a light walk after having a complete meal as it helps in boosting the digestion process and reduces any chance of acid reflux. If it is not suitable for you to go on a walk right after having your meal, at least sit or stand for 45minutes to 1 hour before going to bed.
It is also important to maintain the right time gap between having a meal and going to bed. Giving at least two and half hours of gap between a full meal and bed time is recommended. However, if you cannot maintain such long gaps, the only option you have is to not to eat a heavy meal before bed time.
Keep your digestive system healthy
Heartburn is categorized as a digestive problem and hence ensuring a better overall digestive health is the key to avoid heartburn. Include more fiber rich food in your daily diet. Fiber helps in digestion and ensures a better overall digestive health. You can get highest amount of fiber from vegetables, green leafy vegetables, fruits and seeds. However, avoid citrus and acidic fruits.
Apart from including more dietary fibers in your regular diet, adding sufficient dose of physical exercise to your daily routine can also be most helpful to keep your digestive system healthy. Exercising promotes better digestion and if you are suffering from chronic digestive problems, regular exercises can be of great help.
Chewinga gum can help
If you are suffering from frequent episodes of heartburn right after having a meal, a chewing gum of any flavor other than peppermint can help. Chewing a gum right after having a meal keeps the saliva in the mouth flowing,which supports better digestion. The chewing also helps in the peristalsis of the esophagus which passes the food quickly to the stomach.
Foods to avoid for heartburn
There are certain foods that are most likely to trigger heartburn. If you are prone to getting heartburn frequently, it is best that you keep the consumption of these foods to minimum or even discard them from your daily diet and eat only occasionally. Usually, the food causing heartburn varies extensively from person to person and one has to keep a note of the exact foods that is causing him or her heartburn. The general foods that are prone to trigger heartburn include,
Avoid deep fried foods
Deep fried foods are the most common type of food related to heartburn. Deep fried foods have high fat content and take much longer to digest. So, if you are suffering from frequent episodes of heartburn, stay away from the deep fried foods at least for few days to check if it cures the problem. The best way to avoid deep fried foods is to opt for boiling, baking, grilling or roasting the food instead of deep frying it in oil.
Animal proteins might trigger heartburn
Animal proteins, particularly meat, chicken, beef and pork are the foods that often trigger heartburn. Animal proteins are hard to digest and they stay in the stomach for much longer. Moreover, these animal proteins are commonly prepared with lots of added fat, which makes the digestion even more difficult. If you are noticing heartburn frequently, reducing the consumption of these animal proteins from your diet can be of help.
Foods and fruits with high acidic content needs to be consumed with caution
Foods that are high in acidic content like tomatoes, lemon and other citrus fruits might cause heartburn. So, if you are prone to it, it is best to avoid or at least to reduce the amount of consumption of these foods. Also make sure that you never take these foods in empty stomach, which can trigger heartburn.
Vinegaris the other acidic food dressing item that needs to be taken with caution if you are suffering from frequent heartburn. Sour curd, which is a digestive system friendly food, might cause heartburn due to its high acidic content.
Cut down on some spices and herbs
Chilies and peppers can add the needed flavor to any dish. They are not bad for your body either when consumed within a limit but they can certainly trigger heartburn. So, for people with this problem it is important to exclude or at least to reduce the amount of these peppery foods in their diet. Garlic and onions can also trigger heartburn. Stay cautious about peppermint too. Though it seems to be very healthy for digestion, it can actually relax the valve of the esophagus triggering acid influx and heartburn.
Watch what you drink
What you drink also has high impact on your digestive system. Soda and carbonated drinks are often the primary cause of heartburn. These drinks change the pH level of the stomach and disrupt the normal digestive process. Most of these drinks also come with high caffeine content which can be disturbing for digestion and can increase the amount of acids in the stomach. Coffee is the other common drink which is often the culprit behind heartburn.
Instead of depending on caffeinated and bubbly drinks opt for green tea and herbal drinks. Milk shakes can also be a good option.
Alcohol is a major culprit
If you are drinking alcohol before or after taking a meal it can be the reason for your heartburn. Alcohol relaxes the valves of the digestive system and thus acid influx in to the esophagus becomes very easy. If you cannot do without alcohol, at least make sure that you do not take a meal right before or after having a drink.
Juices and chocolates can also trigger heartburn
Juices are good for health but they are filled with acidic content that might trigger heartburn. So, it is important that you maintain caution before taking juices and do never opt for them in an empty stomach if you are suffering from frequent heartburn. Chocolates can also be a cause of heartburn. So, maintain caution before consuming them.
It is important to keep in mind that the foods, drinks and habits that cause heartburn can vary extensively from person to person and hence it is important for the person to note down the exact triggers for him or her and to avoid those triggers. This article presents only the general triggers that commonly cause heartburn.