indigestion | Studio Fitness of Morro Bay

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Burnin’ Love

Heartburn is unpleasant for those that have to contend with it so many simply swear off spicy or trigger foods that cause their discomfort. This is certainly an option for avoiding heartburn but it is one that isn’t preferred. The good news is that nutritionists, internists and other medical professionals have found that we don’t have to take the avoidance approach when it comes to the foods we love. We just need to take precautionary measures and make the right choices.

The Culprits
The most common culprits which cause heartburn are foods that contain citrus and foods that are spicy. Alcohol, coffee, chocolate and tomato based foods are also known to be problematic. Since these foods and groups make up a large percentage of what we love to eat and drink, it can be unpleasant and near impossible to swear off them forever. But we don’t have to!

Foods that fall into the heartburn category are those that increase the acid reflux in our body. Acidic foods can sometimes influence the valve which is located at the top of the stomach to release and relax, which then causes the burning sensation of heartburn. Most recently however, doctors have found little if any evidence that any of these foods can cause heartburn and in most cases, it is a trial and error occurrence. One day a certain food may cause heartburn and the next it may not. This complicates things for those who are trying to identify their triggers.

How to Eat the Foods You Love
If you are craving that Mexican dish and want to lessen the chances of heartburn, consider eating a smaller portion and doing so in the earlier hours of the day. Almost half of the people that report suffering from heartburn report experiencing it at nighttime when they are less active or less likely to be active. Fatty foods that sit in the stomach often cause heartburn and indigestion because we sleep lying down which gives the contents of the stomach the chance to flow freely to the esophagus and cause discomfort. If we eat these foods in smaller portions and during the day when we are most active, we can decrease the risk of getting heartburn.

It is also helpful to elevate the head while in bed or lying down as this will prevent the foods you have eaten from travelling upward to the esophagus. After eating a citrus or spicy meal, add an additional pillow behind your head so that the contents stay deep within the stomach.

You might also try engaging in a little exercise before bed to get the blood flowing and to increase your metabolism so that the foods will digest and process more quickly. The faster food is metabolized and used for energy, the less amount of time it will hang around in your stomach.

After consuming a meal that may cause heartburn, chew on a stick of gum! The natural saliva will assist in moving the foods you have eaten into your stomach and keep it away from the esophagus. Gum chewing is also helpful in combating indigestion and upset stomachs. Just refrain from mint gum as it is more acidic and could cause heartburn.

Finally a successful method to avoiding heartburn is to pop an antacid about 30 minutes before eating a meal that may cause heartburn. This will help to calm and coat the stomach area and also help break down the foods or drink you are about to consume. By neutralizing the acids in the stomach there will be less of a chance that you will suffer from acid burning while the magnesium and aluminum will help to break down the salts and aid in the digestion process.

You can use the antacids after heartburn has set in but if you suspect the foods you are about to consume will trigger it, taking them beforehand can be more beneficial than after the fact.