What do 25 million people have in common? Daily heartburn.
The painful truth is that heartburn is very common. One important misunderstanding about heartburn is that it occurs when you have too much stomach acid. That isn’t always the case! In fact, according to Jonathon Wright, MD of the Tahoma Clinic in Washington state, when stomach acid is measured in people who regularly suffer from heartburn (and GERD, or gastrointestinal reflux disease), it is almost always low, not high. Actually, a test Dr. Wright conducted found that over 90% of the study subjects had inadequate acid production by the stomach.
Feeling the Burn?
It can feel as though someone lit a fire in your chest and burning its way up. Antacids and over the counter drugs suppress the acid to help relieve the burning sensation, but these are only momentary relief. Don’t just blanket the symptoms, not to mention the long-term dangers and possible damage from constantly suppressing your digestive juices. Take these suggestions and get long-term relief.
Keep a diary. Write down what you’ve eaten and when your heartburn symptoms occur so you can pinpoint which foods are your triggers.
Watch what you eat. Pay close attention to the pattern and avoid specific foods that trigger your heartburn. Common food triggers are peppermint, caffeine, sodas, citrus, tomatoes, onions, and high-fat foods.
Eat more fiber. This will keep your digestive tract healthy and moving so you can process food efficiently.
Reduce your portion sizes. Try eating five or six small meals a day, rather than three big ones. Eating too much at once is a big heartburn trigger because your digestive system can’t keep up, leading to a backup.
Timing is everything. Stop eating at least 2-3 hours before bedtime so your stomach has a chance to empty before you lie down.
Watch how you eat. Eat slowly, taking smaller bites and chew well.
Lose weight. Excess abdominal fat can press against the stomach, forcing acids up into the esophagus.
Toss the cigarettes. Smoking can reduce the effectiveness of the LES (lower esophageal sphincter), the muscle that keeps acids in the stomach.
Loosen your belt. Tight clothes put added pressure on the abdomen and digestive organs.
Tilt up. Put wood blocks under your bed to raise the head about 6 inches.
Boost your HCL. Reinforce your natural digestive juices (hydrochloric acid) with a supplement that will aid in your body’s natural digestive process.
Foods as Remedies
Aloe Vera Juice. Its cooling nature isn’t just effective topically. It can cool down the stomach and provide heartburn relief. An important note: You should only use aloe vera juice that has been specifically prepared for internal use.
Apple Cider Vinegar. Stir 2 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into ½ cup of water or apple juice and drink immediately after each meal. The acidity can help bring relief within minutes.
Apples. Even a slice of apple can reduce the burning sensation by balancing the acid in your stomach. It has been known to work in as little as 5 minutes. (Quick tip: Braeburn or Gala work best.)
Bananas. Their natural enzymes and fiber content work as gentle digestive aids. You can eat either fresh or dried bananas.
Fresh ginger. One of the oldest remedies for heartburn, ginger, can be added to food when it’s cooked, eaten raw, or consumed as a ginger tea.
Even though heartburn is always an unpleasant experience, an effective natural remedy doesn’t have to be!
Please note: If you have frequent problems with heartburn, see a doctor, as it may be a more serious condition.