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How to Prevent Your Heartburn Symptoms

July 21, 2013

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If you’ve ever experienced it before then you know it’s very unpleasant…heartburn. That burning sensation in your chest is caused by food and stomach acid traveling back up into your esophagus. Luckily there are a lot of things you can do to prevent it, especially if you experience it frequently.  We know that certain foods and beverages cause heartburn, large meals, lying down after you eat, smoking, obesity and even some medications can cause heartburn. So if we know the causes we can prevent it from happening.

Unfriendly Foods

chili peppers, foods that cause heartburnThere are numerous foods which can cause heartburn: spicy foods, chocolate, peppermint, citrus, tomatoes, mustard, chili, raw onions and more. If you have experienced heartburn after eating any one of these foods then you know what your culprit is. If you’re unsure then you can do an elimination diet to determine what specific foods can be causing your digestive issues. Then once you have found what triggers your heartburn avoid it at all cost. Don’t forget that large fatty meals bring about heartburn as well.

Be Prepared

medication for heartburn and acid refluxIf you know that you may ingest a food that causes you heartburn or you get heartburn regularly, make sure you are prepared ahead of time. Many over the counter (OTC) heartburn medicines require that they be taken hours before you even eat, such as proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec. Antacids like Tums will buffer the acid in your esophagus right away but don’t last long. Histamine 2 blockers like Zantac blocks acid after about 30 minutes and will suppress it for up to 12 hours. If you find a heartburn medication that works for you stock up on it that way you will always have it around just in case heartburn attacks.

Don’t Forget Beverages

beer, alcohol causes heartburn symptomsFood isn’t the only offender. What you drink can produce heartburn as well. Carbonated beverages, fruit juices, alcohol, and coffee can all contribute to your heartburn symptoms. Keep a food journal to track which beverages affect you.

You’re Not Using it, So Lose It

obesty, fat around the mid section can cause heartburnObesity plays a big role in heartburn symptoms. The propensity to eat larger and fattier meals increase the odds of heartburn occurring. So objectively it’s time to eat less calories by cutting down on fatty foods, and burn more calorie thru exercise. By eating less you won’t fill up your stomach and push on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Although if you’ve been experiencing heartburn for a while the LES maybe weakened so eating less may not be enough. Start exercising. Increased obesity especially around the midsection is associated with increased acid reflux. Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Lose the extra weight to prevent your heartburn.

Timing is Everything

don't go to bed right after you eat to avoid acid refluxLying down after eating can also bring about acid reflux, especially if it’s a large or fatty meal. Make sure to eat at least a OKcouple hours before you plan on going to bed. This also gives your body time to start digesting the food you ingest. If you can’t avoid eating late, remember your stash of OTC medicines which should help prevent your symptoms.

Stop Smoking

don't smoke to prevent your heartburn symptomsEveryone knows that smoking is bad for your health. But what you may not know is that it may be causing you to have heartburn. When you smoke the LES relaxes which can allow food and stomach acid to rise into the esophagus causing acid reflux. So to prevent your heartburn symptoms don’t smoke.