Digestive juices usually follow the law of gravity, in other words, they do not ascend upward. But if they do swing up into your throat, that’s heartburn. You might feel like your throat is on fire or that there is pressure under your ribs or an acid taste in your mouth from partially digested food. It’s unpleasant, but common.
Normally heartburn comes as a result of a hormone flux, eating certain foods (like chili), smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, being severely overweight or even by sudden movements after a large meal.
There are a few simple changes in the way that you eat and sleep can reduce heartburn. First, chocolate and alcohol, fatty foods, mint and coffee contain irritants and are capable of weakening the lower esophageal sphincter and increasing heartburn. Avoid such foods.
Second, leaner is better. Fat takes longer to digest than other foods. This gives acid more time to head back up before digestion is complete.
Third, avoid citrus fruits. Another common cause of heartburn for many people is citrus fruits (such as oranges or grapefruit) and tomatoes.
Fourth, drink plenty of water, especially with meals. Water helps wash stomach acids from the surface of the esophagus back into your stomach.
Fifth, try not to eat or drink anything for two or three hours before you go to bed. That way, all your food should be emptied from your stomach before you go to bed. And sleep on a slope. If heartburn troubles you often, elevate your head so you sleep on an incline.
Sixth, avoid exercising right after a meal. Your mother was right; you shouldn’t exercise for at least an hour after a meal. The movement of exercise defies gravity and brings up acid reflux..
Seventh, maintain a healthy weight. Try to get to, and stay at, your optimal weight. Obesity and heartburn have long been linked, because excess weight loosens the esophageal sphincter.
Eighth, stop smoking. Cigarettes increase the rate of stomach acid production and weaken the esophageal sphincter that keeps food down.
Ninth, buy an antacid. Over-the-counter antacids such as Mylanta or Maalox ease the pain by neutralizing stomach acids or even try some ginger or baking soda in water. If these do not work you can buy an acid-suppressing medication known as H2 (histamine 2) blockers. Once available only by prescription, Tagamet HB and Pepcid AC can decrease the release of acid in the stomach.
These are a combination of things sure to help you to avoid the unpleasant side effects of heartburn.