Yes the holiday season is here with all the joys of spending extra time with family, holiday traditions, festive parties, special meals and heartburn. That’s right, heartburn. One out of ten people in the United States have heartburn symptoms at least once a week during normal times. The holidays bring with some of the situations that can bring on heartburn such as certain foods and stress.
Each person is different as to what types of food and drink bring on the symptoms of heartburn and occasionally having heartburn is common. Most people learn what foods trigger this response in their body and know to avoid those particular foods. Having heartburn more frequently can be an indication of a more serious problem that you will need to see a healthcare practitioner about.
What exactly is heartburn?
When you swallow, the bottom part of your esophagus relaxes which allows foods and liquids to continue on into the stomach. It then closes off preventing anything from coming back through. If this process is impaired in any way then stomach acid can come back through to the esophagus. Foods can mix with the stomach acid and form a liquid that backs up into the esophagus. This back up causes a burning pain in the stomach that can spread up into the chest area. Heartburn can also be a sign that your body doesn’t have enough digestive enzymes to fully break down all the food you eat, and that your intestines lack enough healthy flora or beneficial bacteria to process your food all the way through. Your body’s last line of defense is to use stomach acid to break down food, which can often cause heartburn. Heartburn usually occurs after eating or at night and can become worse when lying down or bending over.
What can you do about heartburn?
Many people simply take antacids when they get heartburn. This is not the best solution however as antacids not only block stomach acid, but also block the absorption of nutrients by interfering with the necessary amount of acid in the stomach to break down proteins into amino acids the body can use. They can interfere with the digestion process and possibly make indigestion worse. Many antacids also contain ingredients that can lead to constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating. Calcium bicarbonate in some antacids can cause more acid than is normal to be created in the stomach after it wears off.
What is the best heartburn treatment?
The best treatment is prevention. Learn which foods and drinks can trigger heartburn for you and avoid them as much as possible. Fried foods, foods high in fat and acidic foods and drinks are the worse culprits. Alcohol, sodas, vinegary foods and some spicy foods are at the top of the list too. Besides what you eat, look at how and when you eat. Eating too quickly, too much or too close to bedtime can trigger heartburn. When you eat too fast, you are usually not chewing sufficiently to break food down enough at the beginning of the digestive cycle. This causes the stomach to have to produce more acid to break it down once it gets to the stomach. Stress is also a factor in heartburn.
Natural Solutions for Heartburn
Here are some ways to plan ahead this holiday season to decrease your chances of spending time suffering with heartburn pain.
- Avoid foods you know have caused you heartburn in the past
- Stop eating at least 2 hours before you are going to lie down whether for a nap or for the night
- Plan some time out from all the busy holiday activities to have a break or meditation time to cut down on stress
- Add probiotics such as acidophilus and bifidus to your diet
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day
- Take extra digestive enzymes
Enzymes, New Earth’s digestive enzyme supplement, contains MycoPepsin, which is able to break down proteins under acid conditions in a manner similar to pepsin. MycoPepsin is obtained by the controlled fermentation of a non-genetically modified strain of Aspergillus niger. The broad specificity of this acid-stable, food-grade protease enzyme enables it to easily and efficiently break down most soluble proteins.
New Earth’s Acidophilus is formulated as a probiotic product that provides a natural way to keep the digestive system on track. For the body to get the most out of food, the intestines must be healthy. Acidophilus plays a key role in supporting the health of the small intestine.
New Earth’s probiotic Bifidus creates a favorable environment for the growth of “good bacteria” in the large intestine which absorbs water from food that is consumed and passes remaining waste products from the body.
Have a great, heartburn-free holiday this year by paying just a bit of attention to what, when and how you eat, and adding probiotics and enzymes to your diet.