Don't worry, you're not alone, we all get heartburn more often as we get older, things you could gleefully wolf down in your 20s and 30s now cause hours of discomfort, and worst of all, they hang around our waist long after.
So what's the answer, a life time of blandness? Turn vegetarian (but no cucumber!)? Well no, we don't want anyone going that far, so we thought we'd have a look at this torrid ailment to help our readers manage it without it having too much of an effect on their lives.
- A burning warm feeling in your chest
- Pressure just behind your breastbone
- Feeling like food is stuck in your chest or even your throat
- Burping and trapped wind
- A sour horrible acid taste at the back of your mouth
- General discomfort that gets worse after eating or lying down
But what can I do to prevent heartburn?
- Lose a bit of weight: Carrying excess pounds increases abdominal pressure, this can then push stomach contents up into your oesophagus.
- Stop smoking: Like we need to tell you this! We all know it's bad for our health and this is yet another reason.
- Buy smaller plates: No we don't expect you to change meals times to those of a supermodel, but try using smaller plates to eat smaller meals and avoid consuming too much of the main offenders (onions, peppermint, chocolate, coffee, citrus fruits or juices, high-fat or spicy foods and excessive alcohol).
- Exercise: We love a bit of exercise! And exercise benefits a healthy digestive system. How about going for a walk? (read our blog about the benefits of walking here)
- Probiotic supplements: I won't plug a particular brand but this is a no brainer, few things taste delicious and benefit our health, but this is one of them. The little yoghurt drinks contain the good bacteria that naturally thrive in our digestive tract and regulate such– a great way to aid your digestion
- Don't stuff yourself before bed : Really? What did you expect! Stomach acids travel back up in the oesophagus when you lay down and this can cause inflammation. Sit up and allow your food to go down before falling asleep!
Line your stomach with (good) food before you drink: Here a tip, most alcohol absorption takes place in the stomach and high up in the digestive tract, if you eat something before you drink alcohol this slows down the absorption
- Hydrate... with Water: If you drink water alongside or between alcoholic drinks you help take the strain off the digestive tract
- Relax: Stress can easily creep up on any of us, however this a double threat as with stress can come the increase in acid production
- Chew your food: For many of us (ashamedly myself included) it's a flat out race to finish our food with chewing being more a hindrance, however this makes life hard for our stomach. By chewing more (a (svelte) family friend swears by the rule of 20 chews for every mouthful) and swallowing each mouthful before putting more food on your fork your enabling your food to digest quicker and minimise acid production.
- Wear loose clothes: No not because winter is coming and you're comfort eating, but because tight jeans, pants and skirts can put pressure on stomach releasing its acid up again towards your throat.
I didn't follow your heartburn prevention tips - please help!
We're not one to hold a grudge, if you've over-indulged we'll still help
- Bicarbonate – Not a baker? Always wondered what else this would be good for? Well baking soda or Alka Seltzer can sort out your heartburn: Just Mix 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of baking soda per glass of water. Any budding Chemistry student will know this helps neutralise stomach acid and can be taken AFTER a meal for indigestion or heartburn. However there's a catch, bi-carb is practically a salt so is NOT recommended for people on a low salt diet or pregnant women and should only be used in moderation
- Chew sugarless gum: How does this help? Well it triggers the production of saliva which aids in clearing the acid in your throat.
- Aloe vera juice: Yep the wonder herb of sunburn relief just got better, its anti-inflammatory properties works internally as well as externally so it reduces and soothes inflammation in the oesophagus as well as the stomach
- Ginger or Chamomile Tea: Lord knows I have tried and tried to like Green Tea, the superfood it's supposed to be, but it's a long term goal, for shorter term goals such as the relief of heartburn have a cup of Chamomile tea to help reduce inflammation in the stomach or drink Ginger tea to act as an acid buffer. Enjoy by drinking during heartburn or after a meal as a preventative measure
- Raw Almonds: We're big into recommending nuts (in moderation!, see our good fats blog to read more) and Almonds are an alkaline which can neutralize the burning acid that.
- Have a banana: Who doesn't love bananas! Bananas are high in potassium which is also an alkaline. Eat a (preferably overripe) banana will help to reduce the overall acidity of the stomach.
Hopefully the above will help you rid yourself of this extremely unpleasant ailment!