How to prevent heartburn symptoms

If you’ve ever experienced it before, then you know it’s very unpleasant … heartburn. That burning sensation in the chest is caused by food and stomach acid backing up into the esophagus. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to prevent it, especially if you experience it frequently. We know that certain foods and drinks cause heartburn, heavy meals, lying down after eating, smoking, obesity, and even some medications can cause heartburn. So if we know the causes, we can prevent it from happening.

Hostile foods

There are numerous foods that can cause heartburn: spicy foods, chocolate, mint, citrus fruits, tomatoes, mustard, chili, raw onions, and more. If you have experienced heartburn after eating any of these foods, then you know what your culprit is. If you are unsure, you can go on an elimination diet to determine which specific foods may be causing your digestive problems. Then once you’ve found what triggers your heartburn, avoid it at all costs. Don’t forget that foods high in fat also cause heartburn.

To be prepared

If you know that you may eat a food that causes heartburn, or if you have heartburn on a regular basis, be sure to prepare ahead of time. Many over-the-counter (OTC) heartburn medications require them to be taken hours before eating, such as proton pump inhibitors like Prilosec. Antacids like Tums will buffer the acid in your esophagus right away, but they won’t last long. Histamine 2 blockers like Zantac block the acid after about 30 minutes and suppress it for up to 12 hours. If you find a heartburn medication that works for you, stocking up on it that way, you’ll always have it on hand in case of heartburn attacks.

Don’t forget the drinks

Food is not the only offender. What you drink can also cause heartburn. Carbonated drinks, fruit juices, alcohol, and coffee can all contribute to heartburn symptoms. Keep a food diary to keep track of the drinks that affect you.

You ain’t using it so lose it

Obesity plays an important role in heartburn symptoms. The propensity to eat larger and fatty foods increases the chances of heartburn. So, objectively, it’s time to eat fewer calories by cutting out fatty foods and burn more calories through exercise. By eating less, you won’t fill your stomach or put pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Although if you’ve been experiencing heartburn for a while, your LES may have weakened, so eating less may not be enough. Start exercising. Increased obesity, especially around the midsection, is associated with increased acid reflux. Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Lose the extra weight to prevent heartburn.

Timing is everything

Lying down after eating can also lead to acid reflux, especially if it is a large or greasy meal. Make sure you eat at least a couple of hours before you plan to go to bed. This also gives your body time to begin digesting the food you eat. If you can’t avoid eating late, remember your stock of over-the-counter medications that should help prevent your symptoms.

Stop smoking

Everyone knows that smoking is harmful to health. But what you may not know is that it can cause heartburn. When you smoke, the LES relaxes, which can allow food and stomach acid to travel up into the esophagus and cause acid reflux. So, to prevent heartburn symptoms, don’t smoke.