A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Heartburn
I had a question the other day about heartburn.
Heartburn, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (or GERD), is what you feel when acid splashes up and out of your stomach.
Despite its name, heartburn has nothing to do with your heart.
Heartburn is an irritation of your esophagus caused by stomach acid.
This creates a burning discomfort in your upper abdomen or below your breast bone.
A muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter keeps stomach acid in your stomach.
The lower esophageal sphincter is located where your esophagus meets your stomach – below your rib cage and slightly left of center.
Normally it opens to let food into your stomach or to let you belch; then it closes again.
But if it opens too often or doesn’t close tight enough, stomach acid can leak into your esophagus and cause the burning sensation.
Two excesses often contribute to this problem: too much food in your stomach (overeating) or too much pressure on your stomach (frequently from obesity, pregnancy, or constipation).
Stress and lack of sleep can increase acid production and cause heartburn.
And smoking, which relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter and stimulates stomach acid, is a major contributor.
Occasional heartburn isn’t dangerous, but chronic heartburn can sometimes lead to serious problems.
To deal with heartburn it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water.
*Aloe vera juice helps heal your intestinal tract.
*Catnip, fennel, ginger, marshmallow root, and papaya tea all help with proper digestion and act as buffers to stop heartburn.
*Try drinking a large glass of water and/or taking CalMag at the first sign of heartburn. This often helps.
*Try raw potato juice. Don’t peel the potato – just wash it and put it in a juicer. Mix the juice with an equal amount of water. Drink it immediately after preparation 3 times a day.
*Try drinking a glass of fresh cabbage or celery juice every day.
*Change your eating habits. Eat more organic raw vegetables. Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Chew your food well. Eat slowly and enjoy your food. Following a disciplined diet is an important part of managing GERD.
*Sip 1 tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar, mixed with a glass of water, while eating a meal. Don’t drink any other liquids with meals.
*Eat fresh papaya and/or pineapple to help digestion. Chew a few of the papaya seeds as well.
*Don’t eat for 3 hours before bedtime. Wat at least 3 hours after eating before lying down.
*Avoid acidic foods like citrus fruits and juices.
*Don’t consume caffeine-containing products, carbonated beverages, creamy cheeses, desserts, eggnog, fats, fried foods, gravies, rich sauces, marbled meats, onions (especially raw), peppermint, poultry skin, processed foods, spearmint, spicy or highly seasoned foods, sugar, tobacco, or tomatoes. These seem to be the main cause of heartburn.
*Avoid overeating at a meal.
*If you’re overweight, weight loss may help reduce symptoms.
*Maintain an exercise program that includes walking, biking, or low-impact aerobics. Avoid running and weight lifting, as these activities put pressure on your stomach. Don’t exercise after eating, however.
*Elevate the head of your bed.
*As much as possible, avoid stress and anger.
*If you’re taking any medications, ask your doctor if heartburn may be a side effect.
*Don’t wear clothes that fit tightly around your waist. Don’t wear tight clothing to bed.
*Beware of antacids with aluminum. Antacids may create a vicious cycle of dependency.
*Avoid chewing gum because it unnecessarily stimulates digestive enzymes.
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