Eating habits are just as important as what you eat when it comes to heartburn. Try some of these top tips:
Take your time and chew your food properly – Chew each mouthful of food twenty times, this means digestive enzymes have a larger surface area of food available and can break your food down more efficiently. As you eat slowly you are also less likely to overeat. Too much food can alter the pressure inside your stomach and you are more likely to suffer from heartburn as a result
Don’t drink water with your meals – Drinking lots of liquids with your meals means you are at risk of diluting your digestive juices. Avoid drinking water 20 minutes before a meal and up to an hour afterwards in order to allow your gastric juices to do their job
Sit up straight – Slouching means your stomach gets crushed and your secretions can be affected. Sit up straight and let everything flow freely as it should. Wearing very tight clothes can also constrict your stomach so avoid this too
Don’t eat late at night – Eating nearer bed time means there is more chance that your stomach will still be digesting your last meal as you go to lie down – this could give rise to heartburn. Gastric emptying can take anywhere from between 2-5 hours so avoid eating in the hours leading up to bed time.
These habits are crucial to help keep heartburn at bay but certain foods can still make the situation worse. Very fatty or fried foods cause delayed gastric emptying and promote the release of stomach acid; both of which can cause heartburn. Fat in combination with protein can also be troublesome as enzymes required to break down protein required activation by your stomach acid. Therefore, rich dairy products and heavy, red meats may be problematic. Finally, caffeine and alcohol can cause the Lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS) to relax which can give rise to heartburn, so consider avoiding these as much as possible.