Millions are plagued with heartburn,
but experts say a few easy lifestyle changes
can help reduce or eliminate symptoms.
Here are some tips from the May issue of the
Mayo Clinic Health Letter:
Eat smaller meals. This helps reduce
pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter,
the ring of muscles that normally keeps digestive
acid in your stomach.
Avoid "trigger" foods.
Most people have specific foods that cause
heartburn. These may include fatty or fried
foods, alcohol, chocolate, peppermint, garlic,
onion, tomato-based foods, spicy foods, citrus,
caffeine, or nicotine.
Loosen your belt. Tightness around
your waist pressures the lower abdomen and
lower esophageal sphincter.
Don't lie down after eating. Wait
at least three hours after you eat before
you go to bed or stretch out on the couch.
Quit smoking. Smoking can increase
stomach acid. Swallowing air during smoking
may also aggravate acid reflux.
Stay slim. Being overweight is one
of the biggest risk factors for heartburn.
Elevate during sleep. For example,
use bricks or blocks to raise the head of
your bed about six inches, in order to get
a bit of help from gravity in keeping stomach
acid where it belongs. You can also insert
a wedge between your mattress and box spring
to elevate your body from the waist up. Using
an extra pillow to elevate your head isn't
Turn left. Sleeping on your left
side may help your stomach empty better.
If heartburn continues to be a problem, discuss
it with your Naturopathic doctor for treatment