Finding Ways to fight Heartburn
When large amounts of acidic stomach contents are regurgitated past the
stomach's valve and up into the gutter, heartburn occurs. Small amounts of acid
reflux are normal and harmless, since constantly swallowing saliva quickly
washes it back into the stomach. However if the amount of refluxed material is
greater than normal and persists over a period of time, this can result in
debilitating heartburn , which affects the enjoyment of food. It can lead to
inflammation, bleeding, narrowing of the gutter, anemia and in some cases,
results in cancer.
Heartburn is usually described as a burning sensation in the chest and upper
abdomen. It is hardly surprising t hat heart burn is painful, since it is
associated with the production of gastric acid. The stomach wall secretes
hydrochloric acid to help kill bacteria that enter the body via food and drink.
The stomach lining is coated with a thick layer of mucus to protect it form this
acid. The throat and mouth have no such protection, hence the pain associated
with refluxed material. If reflux is regurgitated into the mouth, it also
creates an unpleasant acidic taste.
Most women treat heartburn with over-the-counter or prescribed antacid
preparations. These usually contain sodium, aluminum, calcium, and magnesium.
FOODS TO ADD:
Lean meats, fish, poultry, and low-fat dairy products are all rich in
protein and appear to enhance the tone of the valve at the top of the
stomach. Making sure that all meals and snacks contain some protein may help
to tighten the valve over time and diminish the problem.
Wholegrain cereals, whole meal breads, and brown rice are rich in
insoluble fibre. This fibre bulks the stools and prevents constipation,
which may otherwise cause a build-up of pressure in the colon. This pressure
can move up into the stomach and force the stomach valve to open. When this
happens, heartburn occurs. It is important when increasing intakes of
wholegrain foods to increase fluid intake to six to eight cups a day, to
keep the stools soft. Increasing fibre without extra fluid can make the
Apple cider vinegar mixed with water and sipped during a meal can help those
who are affected by heartburn. One tablespoon of apple cider vinegar should be
mixed with a glass of water.
FOODS TO AVOID:
Fried foods, fatty meats, pies, cakes, biscuits, margarine, butter, oils
and cream appear to weaken the stomach valve.
Peppermint taken as tea or as a sweet following a meal relaxes the
smooth muscles in the stomach valve and encourages reflux. Coffee, tea, and
cola all contain caffeine, which encourages extra acid production and
weakens the stomach valve.
Chocolate contains methyl xanthines, which are related to caffeine and
appear to have a valve weakening effect. Those with reflux should avoid
chocolate and cocoa after evening meals.
Fruit and vegetable juices may irritate the lining of
the throat if it
has previously been damaged by chronic heartburn.
Onions and garlic may have adverse effects on stomach-valve tone.
weakens the stomach valve and may increase heartburn.
Large meals are best avoided, especially during pregnancy. The stomach
is pushed out of position by the growing fetus, forcing the stomach's acidic
contents up into the throat.
Being overweight can cause the stomach to be pushed out of position,
forcing the stomach contents up into the throat.
Eat meals and snacks slowly and chew food well, preferably in a
Bending over or lying down after a meal tips the stomach contents and
Avoid prolonged use of antacids as it can lead to a mineral imbalance.