Blueberries and heartburn

According to a 2014 study, eating foods that contain a berry such as blueberries can help with heartburn. This could be due to the high levels of anthocyanins, which are a type of antioxidant that’s found in berries. These nutrients have been found to offer some protection against heartburn.

Other foods that contain anthocyanin include:

  • Blackberries
  • Cranberries
  • Cherries
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Black currants

Eating a higher-fat diet increases the risk of heartburn, according to a 2012 study. It’s thought that this may be related to the fact that high-fat meals tend to be rich in monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are typically found in foods that include olive, avocado, and canola oil.

Flax seeds

Flax seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids. These are known to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract.

According to a 2011 study, daily consumption of flax seeds for eight weeks decreased the risk of heartburn and indigestion.

Plant sterols

Plant sterols are a type of fat found in some dietary supplements. They may help reduce the symptoms of heartburn.

A study of people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) found that taking a plant sterol supplement for 12 weeks resulted in significant reductions in heartburn and acid reflux symptoms.

A study that looked at the effect of taking a plant sterol supplement on people with GERD reported an average decrease in heartburn symptoms of 63 percent.

Ginger

Ginger is a good source of gingerols. These are compounds that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.

A study that looked at people with GERD and acid reflux found that taking ginger for 2 months helped reduce the intensity of symptoms.

Lifestyle changes

There are a number of lifestyle changes you can make to help ease heartburn and indigestion.

Drink more water

Drinking plenty of water can help reduce acid reflux. Water helps to keep the stomach loose and empty. This can prevent the stomach from being “gbound” and help to reduce the amount of acid that’s secreted.

Drink alcohol-free

If you’re drinking alcohol, try to avoid drinking within 2 hours of going to bed. This will help to reduce the amount of alcohol that’s left in your system after the night.

Avoid smoking

Smoking can increase the production of stomach acids, which can contribute to heartburn.

It’s also important to note that smoking increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Eat more fiber

Eating foods high in fiber can help reduce the production of stomach acid. These foods include:

  • Oatmeal

Amaranth

Asparagus

Lentils

Beans

Brown rice

Oatmeal with fruits and vegetables

The American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day.

Increase your level of physical activity

The American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. That may mean going for a walk, taking the stairs, or walking to the mailbox.

Reduce stress

Stress can make heartburn worse. The American Heart Association recommends that adults reduce their stress levels by doing things that help them relax, such as:

  • Taking a warm bath
  • Listening to music
  • Taking a quiet time

Eat meals at a consistent time

It’s more likely that heartburn will occur if you eat a large meal at the wrong time. For example, it’s more likely to occur if you eat a large dinner at 9 p.m. and then go to bed and wake up at 7 a.m. to go to work.

Eating meals at the same times can help you avoid the indigestion that can occur when eating at these times.

If symptoms occur, try eating a smaller meal at the same time of day. You can also try eating smaller meals throughout the day to avoid heartburn.

Practice stress management techniques

If you’re experiencing heartburn, the American Heart Association recommends that you try some stress management techniques to help relieve the symptoms.

These techniques include:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Deep breathing
  • Talking to a supportive friend or loved one

Avoid drinking alcohol

There is some evidence that drinking alcohol can make the symptoms of heartburn worse.

Alcohol irritates the stomach and can increase the secretion of stomach acid. This can increase the likelihood of heartburn.

The American Heart Association recommends that people with GERD avoid drinking alcohol.

Other medications

If these lifestyle changes don’t help you control your symptoms, you may want to talk to your doctor about other possible treatment options.

Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux, which is a type of GERD.

There are a number of drugs that are used to treat acid reflux and GERD. These include:

  • Antacids
  • H2 blockers
  • Proton pump inhibitors
  • H-2 receptor antagonists
  • Prokinetics
  • PPIs

Talk to your doctor about which drugs might be right for you and how to take them.

Medications

Medications can also help relieve heartburn and indigestion.

In some cases, the specific medication prescribed depends on the underlying cause of the heartburn.

If your doctor thinks that you’ve developed an allergy to a food or medication, you may also need to avoid that food or medication.

Medications that might help include:

  • H2 receptor antagonists
  • Prokinetic drugs

If your doctor prescribes you a medication, it’s important to take it as directed.

There are a number of serious side effects that can occur with these medications. If you’re concerned about the side effects, talk to your doctor.

If your doctor recommends a medication, it’s important to take it exactly as prescribed.

These medications can cause the following side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Rash
  • Fever

You may experience the following side effects from a medication:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Weight gain

Talk to your doctor before taking any new medications.

Surgery

If lifestyle changes and medications don’t control your symptoms, you may want to consider surgery.

You may have a procedure called fundoplication. This surgery helps to keep your stomach closed and to improve acid reflux.

The procedure is done under general anesthesia. You’ll be fully awake during the surgery.

Your doctor will make a small incision over your esophagus. They’ll then stitch the intestines and stomach together to help them form a more rigid connection.

They may also stitch the stomach muscles together to help them relax. This helps to “lock” the stomach in place.

The procedure can take about an hour. Your doctor may also recommend you take a certain medications beforehand. These medications relax the stomach muscles and help them stay in place.

Complications

Heartburn is a common symptom that can affect people of all ages. Although it’s less common in older people, you may still experience heartburn.

Heartburn can also be a symptom of GERD, which is a type of acid reflux.

In some cases, heartburn is caused by another medical condition. If you’re experiencing heartburn that isn’t caused by GERD or another medical condition, you’re likely experiencing a complication.

If you have a complication, you may need to see your doctor more often.

If you have a complication, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about it. They can help you manage it.

You may need to see your doctor for regular checkups and to see if acid reflux is getting worse.

The takeaway

As long as your digestion is normal, you should be able to eat and drink normally.

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