Heartburn can be a painful, pesky annoyance for plenty of people. One in four people experience heartburn once a week – meaning it’s one of the most common afflictions around. The fact that it is normal for many people does not stop it from being irritating. It is caused by an excess of stomach acid moving through the food pipe towards the throat which is why the pain is often presented as a burning pain in the chest. Fear not, there are several ways to calm down symptoms – read on for our top tips to alleviating that discomfort. Try Medication Over-the-counter medication can be a godsend when it comes to heartburn. Made up of antacids, medications can help counteract the acid and reduces the amount in your stomach, meaning they have a double effect. Even better, use a mediation that has antacids and sodium alginate. This is something usually found as a food thickener and essentially builds a protective barrier between your stomach and your lower oesophageal sphincter, meaning the acid can’t travel up to your throat. These are fine to take weekly to combat the symptoms of heartburn and indigestion.
- Try Medication
Over-the-counter medication can be a godsend when it comes to heartburn. Made up of antacids, medications can help counteract the acid and reduces the amount in your stomach, meaning they have a double effect. Even better, use a mediation that has antacids and sodium alginate. This is something usually found as a food thickener and essentially builds a protective barrier between your stomach and your lower oesophageal sphincter, meaning the acid can’t travel up to your throat. These are fine to take weekly to combat the symptoms of heartburn and indigestion.
- Understand And Avoid Your Triggers
Heartburn can be triggered by several things, one of them being food. The main culprits are fried and fatty foods, acidic foods such as tomatoes and oranges, and spicy foods. All of these yummy treats can exacerbate symptoms and cause your pain to worsen. Instead, opt for a fiber-rich diet and eat more leafy green vegetables. It may be dull but your body will thank you! other triggers include smoking (something we all know is all-around terrible for our health) and alcohol. Alcohol produces acid in the body and also loosens the lower oesophageal sphincter opening, making it a double threat.
- Wear Looser Clothing
It can seem strange fix, but the acid can move upwards through the lower oesophageal sphincter simply by having pressure placed on the stomach. Squashing the stomach with tight clothing can also stop the stomach acid from breaking down any new foods. The main culprit of this is tight clothing including belts. When you’re eating a meal opt for looser clothing that will apply less force to your midriff. It may appear like a silly solution, but it works!
- Slow Down
What you eat is important but also how you eat has an impact on heartburn. Eating too quickly can increase your chances of heartburn and indigestion. This is because fast eating usually equals bigger bites and less time for the saliva’s enzymes to break the food down properly, leading to difficulty in digesting the food. Take your time when you eat a meal and your symptoms should lessen.
- Sit Up
We’ve all been told by our parents to sit up straight at the dinner table but there is actually science behind the scolding. The more we slouch the more we stop our stomach acid from having the space to flow around and it is blocked from breaking down the food – similar to the effects of wearing tight clothes. Sitting up during eating and for a while after, lets our body digest the food properly which will help reduce painful burning.
- …And Certainly Don’t Lie Down
A big no-no for anyone suffering from heartburn or acid reflux, make sure you don’t lay down for at least 3-4 hours after eating. If you regularly suffer from bad indigestion, sleep with your head raised every night to keep your esophagus above your stomach. Doing so will reduce the flow of stomach acid into your lower oesophageal sphincter.
- Get Some Gum
Gum is known for increasing bloating, however, it can help heartburn. This is because it increases the production of saliva which contains important enzymes that break down acids and food in your stomach. If you’re out and about with no access to medication and are unable to change your clothing, it can be a solution worth trying!
- Have Some Ginger
Ginger is a superfood for a reason. One of the most popular natural remedies for heartburn is ginger as it contains antioxidants that can calm irritation in the stomach. It is made up of a chemical that can also tighten your lower oesophageal sphincter, meaning there is less of an opening for your stomach acid to flow through. Try steeping an inch of fresh ginger root in some hot water to create a tea or add some to your meals for a delicious way to incorporate it into your diet.
If you regularly suffer from heartburn let us know your best coping techniques in the comments.