Uncomfortable burning sensations in the chest could be an indication of the digestive disease. Acid reflux happens when the stomach acid backs up into the food pipe (esophagus). It causes a burning sensation in the chest also known as heartburn. Acid reflux may also cause sour or regurgitated food taste in the back of mouth.
Heartburn is completely preventable and there are a number of steps you can take to prevent stomach acid from refluxing into the esophagus (food pipe). A smarter diet, stress relief and better sleeping habits could help you avoid heartburn.
Here are 12 simple tips to prevent and manage heartburn and acid reflux:
1. Eat small, but frequent meals
To avoid heartburn, it’s recommended to have smaller meal more frequently. It’s because an overstuffed gut can contribute to heartburn. Instead of 3 full meals a day, try 5 to 6 meals smaller meals.
Also avoid drinking during the meal and try drinking water in between the meals.
There is no specific reason which triggers heartburn, there are different things that can cause heartburn. Lifestyle habits and food sensitivities are the common triggers for heartburn or acid reflux in majority of people. Foods which needs to be avoided to minimize the symptoms of heartburn include:
- Spicy Foods
- Fried foods
- Carbonated beverages
- Citrus fruits (acidic Fruits)
- Dairy Products
3. Elevate your Bed
You may place 6-inch blocks under the bed posts at the head of the bed. This will elevate the head of your bed placing your head and chest higher than your feet. This will keep your stomach acid where it belongs.
4. Lose Weight
Obesity is the leading cause of acid reflux and heartburn. Extra stomach fat puts pressure on the abdomen and pushes stomach acid up into the food pipe. Losing weight is one of the best thing you could do to prevent heartburn.
5. Sip Liquids
Liquid foods are less likely to cause heartburn then solid foods. It’s because they move through the gut more quickly. Consume liquids that offer good quantity of protein such as milk, and drinkable yogurt. You can also try adding milkshakes, soups, puddings and smoothies to your diet.
6. Don’t sleep immediately after meal
To avoid heartburn while you sleep, don’t eat anything for at least 3 hours before bedtime. This will give food time to digest and acid levels to drop down.
When you lied down, gravity pulls the stomach acid in to your food pipe. So, be eating earlier, there will be less food to come back up and trigger heartburn.
It has been observed that people who have frequent heartburn have a hectic lifestyle and more work related stress. Although there is no direct link between stress and heartburn, but stress can lead to behaviors that can cause acid reflux. Stress disrupts your normal routines in regards to meals, exercise, sleep and medication.
You may be surprised to know that there are certain medication that are potential triggers for heartburn. These medications can interfere with the digestive system, relax the LES, or can further irritate an already inflamed esophagus. Here are some of these medications:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Bisphosphonates, used to boost bone density
- Sedatives (for anxiety or insomnia)
- Calcium channel blockers (used in the treatment of high blood pressure)
- Anticholinergics (for bladder control, seasickness, and COPD)
- Certain asthma medications, including beta-agonists like albuterol
- Tricyclic antidepressants
If you are on any of the above mentioned medications, then it’s best to consult your doctor before stopping or switching them.
9. Sleep on the left side
Always sleep on your left side. That’s because sleeping on the right side will position your stomach high than your esophagus. This can potentially trigger heartburn.
10. Don’t Smoke
Avoid smoking as much as possible because it boosts the acid in the stomach. Studies have also shown that nicotine can relax the muscles of the LES and trigger acid reflux. Also smoking contributes to serious health problems, so it’s best to avoid this bad habit.
Always wear clothes in which you feel relaxed. Don’t wear clothes that are tight around your stomach. Wearing a tight belt can constrict your stomach. They can increase pressure on your stomach and abdomen, which can ultimately trigger heartburn.
Try chewing a sugarless gum after your meals. This will stimulate salivary glands and increases saliva production, which help neutralize any acid coming back up into the food pipe. Opt for non-mint flavor because it can relax the LES making heartburn worse. As per studies, chewing gum for 30 mins after a meal can significantly lower the stomach acid levels.