Lifestyle and Diet Treatments for Heartburn
Millions of Adults experience the pain of heartburn symptoms at least once a month. Conventional ideas and methods that recommend taking over-the-counter antacid medications can help alleviate symptoms but they can cause other worsened digestive problems in the long run.
Stomach acid is necessary for digestion, killing off bacteria that can cause infection and signaling the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to close keeping the acid from pushing up into the esophagus. Often heartburn symptoms can be associated with too little hydrochloric acid (HCl). Other reasons you might be struggling with indigestion include obesity, poor diet, not getting enough exercise, sleep position, stress, medications and older age.
It is a good idea to try and identify patterns in lifestyle and diet that might be triggering symptoms for you but there are some foods you should limit or avoid:
- Tomatoes and Marinara This one might seem obvious with all the acid in tomatoes so try and avoid these.
- Alcohol and Smoking Consuming too much alcohol and smoking cigarettes impairs the muscle reflexes and increases production of acid.
- Coffee and Tea Both can be extremely acidic. Limit how much you drink or try green tea or decaf. If you can’t give up your coffee try to switch to cold brew to reduce acidity.
- Processed foods Foods manufactured with salt, sugar, synthetic additives or fried in refined oils can cause distress.
- Garlic, Onion and Citrus fruits This group of foods has also been known to increase heartburn.
- Soda and carbonated drinks All that fizz can cause problems for some people.
- Chocolate Sorry but it’s true. Chocolate is one of the worst foods for heartburn.
- Spicy Foods I probably don’t need to tell you that one.
There are also plenty of other things you can do related to lifestyle:
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Don’t eat a large meal before bed. You can also raise your head on your bed to avoid allowing acid pushing up through your esophagus.
- Get plenty of exercise.
- Manage stress
Some of my clients benefit from digestive enzymes or using apple cider vinegar right before meals. You should mix about 1 tablespoon of vinegar with water so that the vinegar doesn’t’ damage your teeth.
If your symptoms continue after changing your habits, see your doctor.