Is there a diet that can permanently cure your heartburn? Millions of heartburn sufferers have been disappointed by the conventional approach of prescription medications (that usually cause myriad of side effects and have been found completely ineffective in the long-run). Is the combination of lifestyle changes with a special heartburn diet can serve as a safer and healthier alternative? Recent researches have clearly showed that following certain dietary patterns could bring significant relief from heartburn while considerably improving your overall quality of life.
Prior to revealing those dietary patterns, it is important to note that severe persistent heartburn cannot be permanently cured without following a complete holistic program aimed at tackling the underlying cause of heartburn. The reason is that heartburn is merely a symptom of a more complex health condition called acid reflux or GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease).
Gastroesophageal reflux disease occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter - a ring of muscle that acts as a gatekeeper between the esophagus and the stomach becomes weak and allows fluid of gastric acids to "reflux" into the esophagus. As the acidic contents touch the epithelial cells of the esophagus, they cause the burning painful sensation called acid indigestion or heartburn.
The dietary principles designed to combat heartburn are aimed at coping with two conditions that contribute to/aggravate acid reflux: extra acidity in the stomach and the weakness of the lower esophageal sphincter. The following are seven simple dietary principles that can tackle those conditions partially and thus should be adopted as a first step of an all-natural holistic treatment of GERD:
1. Avoid large meals. When our digestive system is forced to digest large amounts of food, it produces more gastric acid, which can aggravate your existing acid reflux condition. In order to prevent this, eat 5-6 smaller meals instead of 2-3 large meals every day.
2. Don't go to bed on a full stomach. It usually takes 3-5 hours for a large meal to digest and 2 - 3 hours for a smaller meal to digest. When you lay down while your stomach is digesting, it's easier for stomach acid to splash back into your esophagus. Therefore it is highly recommended to eat a light meal followed by a short walk to enhance digestion.
3. Chew your food thoroughly. When you gobble your food down, you swallow air, which adds extra volume to the swallowed amount. A stuffed stomach can cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax, allowing stomach acids to travel up the esophagus and cause heartburn.
4. Avoid foods and drinks that irritate the intestinal walls and cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax. (i.e. high-fat or spicy foods, chocolate, tomatoes and tomato-based dishes, peppermints, coffee and caffeine drinks, citrus juices, soda and alcohol). Opt for herbal tea instead of coffee.
5. Maintain a high-fiber diet that helps sweep the toxins away from the body and thus improves digestion. A new Swedish study has revealed that high-fiber diet could slash the risk of acid reflux in half.
6. Reduce the consumption of dairy products. Milk is an extremely acid forming, allergy causing and mucus building food that can encourage Candida overgrowth and case myriad of digestion problems that contribute to GERD.
7. Low calorie intake. Excessive weight and obesity in particular can contribute to the weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter.
A proper implementation of the above heartburn diet principles will not only reduce the risk of GERD but also enhance your health and well being as well.
But diet is only part of the heartburn puzzle. Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux. In order to cure acid reflux and eliminate heartburn permanently, you must tackle all the underlying factors that trigger this condition. Adhering to a well-balanced heartburn diet is the first step you need to take as part of a complete all natural holistic solution to acid reflux. This is the only way to permanently stop and prevent this condition.