Heartburn can be a pain, but it doesn’t have to be something you live with. New research has suggested ways to fix heartburn in the long term. As well as this, there are ways to stop heartburn in the short term and lessen the symptoms.
What Is Heartburn?
Heartburn is a widespread problem among many, with statistics stating that half of all adults will report experiencing symptoms in their lifetime. The symptoms can include:
- Burning pain in the chest that occurs after eating
- Pain that worsens when laying down
- A bitter or acidic taste in the mouth
Heartburn is defined as the backwash of stomach acid into the oesophagus, which is the tube that connects the mouth and stomach.
It is often swept under the rug with various over-the-counter medications, which is understandable in our fast-paced world.
What Can I Do to Reduce Heartburn Symptoms?
Speak To A Medical Professional
Our first tip would be to speak to a medical professional if you are experiencing heartburn symptoms regularly and it’s impacting your quality of life.
Our first recommendation would be to look into healing your gut. Research evidence links heartburn to gut dysbiosis - better defined as an
unhealthy gut.1 Research suggests a crossover in the symptoms between heartburn and gut dysbiosis.
Not only this, but research also suggests that over-the-counter medication for heartburn may quell symptoms in the short term; however, they may be killing all bacteria in the gut, including the good ones, keeping sufferers in a constant loop of a symptom, medication, symptom cycle.
There are many ways to heal the gut, including dietary changes, eating habits and lifestyle changes, but by far the least strenuous way is to begin by taking a
At The Gut Co, we have ensured every ingredient is referenced for its benefits toward optimal gut health and is science-backed. It means little change needs to happen for the individual bar taking a tablet every morning.
Over The Counter Medication
We aren't saying over-the-counter medication doesn't have its uses. Medications are available from most shops - from Poundland to traditional pharmacies.
Antacids are the most common, which are primarily calcium carbonate-based. They seek to neutralise excess stomach acid.
There are, however, other medications that are more effective in the short term that you can get only from pharmacies, such as Omeprazole.
This partially stops your stomach from producing acid.2 We would recommend only using these in dire situations, as they can be detrimental to overall gut health in the long term.
Eating more alkaline foods is a great, relatively cheap, straightforward way to combat heartburn symptoms.3
A wide range of foods can help heartburn in the short term and long term, but for short-term relief, the most highly recommended foods are those that are alkaline such as bananas.
The high potassium content of a banana makes it alkaline, which counteracts the acid in the stomach. However, this depends on how ripe the banana is, so make sure it's ripe. Other foods that can help are melon, cauliflower, fennel and nuts.
Avoid Trigger foods
There has been researching conducted into foods that can trigger heartburn in individuals. There was a correlation between heartburn and a high intake of the following foods:4
- Oils and high-fat foods
- Foods with a high amount of salt
- Foods rich in calcium, i.e., milk and cheese.
Although the research suggests that eliminating these foods can effectively reduce symptoms, it also states that meal sizes and timing are also worth looking into as it can be much less work for the individual and yield better results.5
Chew Your Food More
A minimal change that can benefit your overall health more than just reducing the likelihood of heartburn is simply chewing your food more.
This practice has a history in ayurvedic wellness, as it's believed that chewing food 30-50 times before swallowing allows complete nutrient absorption.6
Chewing 30-50 times can seem daunting, so we suggest just being more mindful when eating, paying attention to chewing a bit more but not necessarily counting. It’s been researched and proven that chewing more thoroughly when eating lowers the risk.7
It also puts less stress on your digestive system in general, which in turn means a healthier, happier gut.
Change Sleeping Position
Research has been conducted into how your sleeping position can affect heartburn symptoms.8 It's recommended that you don’t sleep on your back as this allows stomach acid to flow into the oesophagus. Sleeping at an incline is much better as this can reduce reflux movement.
Sleeping on your left side instead of your right can also help too. Sleeping on your right allows the flow of stomach acid to a more accessible pathway, which can induce heartburn. "Left side at an incline and you’ll be fine" is an excellent line to remember!
Studies have been done on the relationship between stress and heartburn symptoms.9 Although there have been various correlations, no scientific evidence links stress to an increase in acid in the stomach.
However, the symptoms that occur with heartburn do cause anxiety and depression in individuals, meaning they get caught in a vicious cycle.
We thoroughly recommend mindfulness meditation and stomach massaging as both of these have benefits on stress levels and lessen the physical symptoms of heartburn.
It’s not breaking news that smoking is bad for you; it’s one of the most widely accepted beliefs in the medical world that ‘Smoking Kills’ but it doesn’t stop
many of us from asking to pinch a cigarette after a few drinks.
The link between smoking and heartburn symptoms isn't as well known. A study concluded that those with heartburn symptoms found a decrease once they had given up smoking.10
Smoking reduces the pressure that keeps acid in the stomach and out of the oesophagus, making it easier for symptoms to present.
It also reduces the amount of bicarbonate in saliva, which helps neutralise stomach acid.11
So, that’s another reason to consider taking a break from cigarettes.
Exercise is beneficial in many ways; it can help with mental health and gut health, and it also benefits heartburn symptoms. Overexercising can, however, bring on unwanted symptoms in some cases.
A lengthy walk, light jogging or yoga can do wonders for digestion, reduce anxiety and have you
feeling much better.12
Heartburn can be a challenge to control, but there are options out there for the short-term and long-term to lessen or eradicate symptoms. Why don't you try some of these tips if you suffer from heartburn?
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References1.Millette (Ph. D.) M. How Acid Reflux May Be Linked To Gut Dysbiosis. Bio-K+. https://biokplus.com/blogs/news/how-acid-reflux-may-be-linked-to-gut-dysbiosis. Published
2. Over-The-Counter (OTC) Heartburn Treatment. U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
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3. Gupta (M.D) E. GERD Diet: Foods That Help with Acid Reflux (Heartburn). Hopkinsmedicine.org.
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5. Cullen A. Could how you eat be contributing to heartburn?. Avogel.co.uk.
6. Silcox K. Eat Well. Yoga Journal. https://www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/food-diet/10-ayurvedic-
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gerd/news/20030523/eating-food-too-fast-speeds-heartburn. Published 2003. Accessed March
8. How to Sleep With Acid Reflux and Heartburn. MedCline. https://medcline.com/blogs/acid-
6-7. Published 2020.
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effect on quality of life. World J Gastroenterol. 2015;21(14):4302. doi:10.3748/wjg.v21.i14.4302
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on Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and Health-Related Quality of Life. PLoS One.
11. Nall R. Can Quitting Smoking Help Your GERD Symptoms?. Healthline.
12. How Exercising Can Relieve Your Acid Reflux. Digestive Health Services.
0reflux. Published 2019.