There’s a lot of things that can ruin someone’s day, but I can’t think of anything more annoying and painful than heartburn. Okay, maybe a bad case of the hiccups — but that’s another article. I used to think heartburn only happened to people in their eighties, or that guy at a Superbowl Party who eats one too many buffalo chicken wings, so when I kept waking up with heartburn I decided to take a step back and find out what could be the root cause of it. Unfortunately, there is no “cure-all” for heartburn, but there are preventive ways to avoid heartburn in the first place. Here are a few that have worked for me.
Avoid Black Tea Before Bed
One of my favorite after dinner rituals is to have some tea, however the one I’d recently grown fond of was a type of black tea. As it turns out, the acidity and caffeine in drinks can cause heartburn. Black tea has the most caffeine from any other teas, as well as the highest amount of acidity, due to its processing. These two factors combined have a record in heartburn havoc. Now if I want a cup of tea before bed, I reach for the herbals such as chamomile or mint instead.
Don’t Overdo it in the Gym
This might not be related to heartburn, but it definitely made me conscious of my yoga capabilities. Like many people, I strive to push myself in work as much as I would in play. Yet reaping the rewards of physical activities such as yoga doesn’t always mean stretching your limits. Relax if you are starting to feel uncomfortable during a workout. You want to feel the burn, but not the kind that starts in your chest. If you feel a tightness or a dull, lingering pain sprouting in your chest, it’s likely you pulled a muscle. Check-in with your body and make sure it repairs itself before getting back in the gym or vigorous activity.
Sit up After a Meal
This is especially true if it’s right after a heavy meal, that feeling of belly bloat that puts us in a food-coma, when all we want to do is plop ourselves on the couch and flip through reruns of Iron Chef. When you aren’t sitting upright essentially what ends up happening is the acid in your stomach creeps higher into the esophagus, creating a backward flow that is, heartburn.
When I wake up the first thing I reach for is a glass of water. Make it a goal to drink water with every meal and throughout the day. Water will help balance the levels of acidity in your stomach. So go ahead and scoop some of that jalapeño cheese dip. Just remember to grab some water on your way out.
And if all else fails, always have a couple of antacid calcium tablets handy. Heartburn affects more than half of all Americans at least once a month. It's a discomfort, but there are ways to beat the occasional burn, rather than letting it fester. If you still have symptoms of chronic heartburn on a regular basis, talk to your doctor about the changes you can make in your lifestyle.