Healthy weight loss improves general health in many ways. In particular, it dramatically reduces the frequency of acid reflux and heartburn.
The excess mass of an overweight person presses down on the stomach. A heavier weight translates to more significant pressure, resulting in higher chances of acid coming up through the esophagus. Conversely, reducing weight decreases the stress on the stomach, thereby reducing the risk of heartburn.
Mindful eating is an excellent way to accomplish weight loss. It is the practice of eating more slowly and stopping once your stomach signals that it is full.
In addition to helping you lose weight, mindful eating manages the amount of food and fluid inside your stomach. By ensuring that your stomach avoids getting filled to the brim, the eating practice lowers the chance of the contents overflowing and coming back up.
Contrary to popular belief, eating spicy foods do not always result in heartburn. Yes, the acidity of these foods can irritate the lining of the stomach, but the bigger culprit is food that causes malfunctions in the lower esophageal sphincter.
The sphincter is the ring of muscles that separates the esophagus from the stomach. It keeps food inside the stomach, just as its upper counterpart makes sure that food on the way down the gorge does not go back up.
Certain foods can relax the muscles of the lower esophageal sphincter. When the sphincter opens, the acid-drenched contents of the stomach can travel up the esophagus, causing that burning feeling associated with heartburn.
Alcohol, caffeine, and peppermint are some of the foods that are known to relax the lower esophageal sphincter and increase the risk of heartburn. Cigarette smoking achieves the same effect. (Related: Antacid drugs linked to increased risk for heart attack, dementia and renal failure.)
After finishing a meal, resist the urge to take a nap. Lying down after eating lots of food is likely to lead to heartburn.
In scientific and engineering jargon, weight is the product of a force acting on an object with mass. On Earth, that force is gravity. As such, the weight of an object gets determined by multiplying its mass by the acceleration of gravity.
As earlier mentioned, weight loss prevents heartburn by decreasing the pressure exerted by weight on the esophagus and stomach. Staying upright achieves a similar effect. So does wearing loose clothes.
"Tight clothing is similar to being overweight: it just puts extra pressure on that stomach," explained Western University researcher Dr. Brenna Velker. "If you have a balloon, and you’re squeezing the middle of it, you can imagine that if the balloon is open at the top, stuff is going to shoot out the top."
In 2014, researchers from the University of Pisa found that chewing gum for 30 minutes after finishing a meal could reduce the symptoms of heartburn. The chewing action increased both salival secretion and swallowing motions that kept food down and reduced irritation.
"There is some evidence that chewing gum might help because it will trigger more swallowing — more saliva production — to kind of rinse whatever’s happening down back into the stomach," Velker explained.
Did you know that certain foods can relieve heartburn? Visit FoodCures.news to learn more.