By Jamell Andrews
Heartburn, though not usually serious, can be quite uncomfortable. The telltale burning sensation behind the breastbone can be triggered by acidic foods, your lifestyle, and more. It happens when stomach acids make their way up the esophagus, burning and irritating the tissue. Rather than reaching for that container of TUMS yet again, how about trying to relieve your heartburn naturally?
Ditch the Tight Clothing
Tight belts and pants, along with body shapers and other “slimming” undergarments that are meant to hold you in can cause and worsen heartburn and reflux. Avoiding wearing tight clothing, especially during or immediately after a meal can relieve and prevent your stomach contents from backing up and causing heartburn.
Avoiding Lying Down After Eating
Lying down after you eat can cause what you eat and drink to come back up on you and cause heartburn. Avoid lying down for 3 hours after eating. If you suffer from severe heartburn, avoid drinking right before bed as well. If nighttime heartburn is a constant battle, consider raising the head of your bed 6 inches using blocks to keep the contents of your stomach from coming up into the esophagus. Simply raising your head with pillows won’t help.
Avoid Trigger Foods
Certain foods can trigger heartburn. Avoiding these foods can help you prevent heartburn. The following are common heartburn triggers, according to the Mayo Clinic:
- Spicy foods
- Coffee and caffeinated beverages
- Citrus fruits and products
- Tomatoes and products, such as tomato sauce and ketchup
- Foods high in fat
- Fried foods
Eat Small Frequent Meals
Large meals can cause heartburn in most people. Avoid eating large meals and portions and instead eat smaller meals more often throughout the day to avoid getting overly full.
Keep Your Weight Down
Being overweight can cause many health issues, including heartburn and reflux. The excess weight places pressure on your abdomen which can push your stomach upwards and cause acid to make its way up into the esophagus.
Sit Up Straight
Slouching and sitting hunched over puts extra pressure on your abdomen which can lead to heartburn. Be aware of your posture when standing and sitting and try to keep your back as straight as possible to help alleviate and prevent heartburn naturally.
Reduce Your Stress
Stress and anxiety can worsen heartburn. If your heartburn occurs or worsens with stress, try relieving stress using relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or massage, or by engaging in a relaxing activity such as walking or listening to music.
If you experience frequent heartburn, talk to your doctor. Frequent heartburn, which is referred to as gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD), can cause serious damage to your esophagus and increase your risk of esophageal cancer.