Hands up who over indulges from time to time and suffers with the consequences? *Thrusts hand in to the air*
For me it seems to be the sun shining and the summer time calling which makes me have all the more naughty, yet yummy, food and some tasty alcoholic beverages… it often doesn’t even have to be much before the dreaded heartburn kicks in; it can be that second glass of wine, or the rich food we just ate out that can trigger that burning sensation from within… Yep the dreaded Heartburn.
Heartburn as we know and hate it..
So what is Heartburn? Rennie’s recently asked me to explain what Heartburn is for me and how I handle it.
The science of Heartburn is simple.. Acid reflux occurs when the stomachs vale to the oesophagus (food pipe) lets the acid rise up and thus creating a burning feeling we all know and hate called Heartburn. The sensation can often come on in waves and can leave us feeling just yucky. It can worsen when lying down due to the positioning of our bodies and can also make you feel a bit sicky, bloated and windy (ahem). Yep Heartburn is not a pleasant experience
For me Alcohol and rich foods are my main triggers. When its been an indulgent period of time I can often recognise that heated feeling creeping in over a period of days. Take Easter recently as a prime example…
With family visiting we had lots of meals out, the lovely food was in abundance and the wine flowed. Come the evening time the horrible burning sensation in my chest would strike and leave me feeling a little grumpy and cause a terrible nights sleep.
Other triggers for me are often stress. When my body is riddled with anxiety and stress it tends to showcase itself in multiple ways: insomnia, heartburn and such are just a couple of the main contributors.
With my weight often in flux, I have noticed that after a bought of heartburn I feel more sluggish. This could be in relation to overindulging and seems to be my bodies way of warning me that my insides are not happy with me.
Tips to combat Heartburn
So now we recognise the contributing factors, what are the best ways to alleviate the problem. I knew I had to tackle mine head on and make some changes. Thankfully with a few simple adjustments Ive noticed a lot of difference.
- Cut back on caffeine. I was noticing that by my second cup of coffee of the day I could feel the burning sensation begin. I previously would drink about 4 cups of coffee in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. I’ve not cut my caffeine intake right back to just 2 cups a day; one in the morning and one at 3pm. This way my body isn’t constantly fuelling the refulx and increasing the acid. Switching to dairy free can also hugely help. Try Oat milk or Soya for a great dairy free alternative when drinking hot drinks. Since becoming Vegan i’ve noticed i huge difference in the amount i get Heartburn, where previously I would have it regularly, now i only get it through certain triggers (over indulging and stress) which makes it easier in itself to combat.
- Go Vegan/Plant Based! Rich red meats and fatty foods like steaks and bacon can often be a trigger, as can dairy cheeses and milks, cutting back your meat/dairy intake can have a huge effect on your diet and body in general. I have been plant based for nearly 3 years, and like with the dairy, I noticed how better my body and mind felt having stopped eating meat. We were big steak eaters previously, revelling in a huge rare cooked fillet steak when we ate out, but by switching to a plant based substitute we have stopped feeling so bloated and heavy after every meal. Tofu , Soya based products and sweet potatoes can make amazing mains for meals. Switching to plant based products has hugely helped my health in general.
- De-stress! Anyone who is stressed will tell you this is easier said than done. Stress can make my body go in to a meltdown and the sure signs of stress for me are heartburn and sleepless nights (often the two go hand in hand for me). By applying some simple but effective self care can dramatically reduce my stress and its so important to remember to indulge yourself.. in-fact indulge is the wrong word as it actually more vital than indulgent! The following things are my de-stressing pointers:
Take time out!
Life is busy, we’re all running in this rat race we call life and trying to keep up and get by, but take time for you. Whether that be slowly wandering around a garden centre and taking time to smell the flowers, or having a sumptuous relaxing bath; just take the time for you. Clearing my mind helps my body to heal and fresh air really does wonders. Walking helps me think things through until i feel i’ve put my worries to rest, and in turn this helps bring clarity and peace for me. Ridding my mind of stresses helps ease my body of any worries and pains too.
Spend time with those who make you smile.
These people are your tribe and will quickly make you forget your struggles or be there to help you through. I often become a recluse when my stress and anxiety hits, choosing to be alone but i have learned that this only makes my stress manifest and inevitably feel abundantly worse. Choosing to see family and friends and talk, brings laughter and lightness. A problem shared is indeed a problem halved, even if its just talking about it, you will feel infinitely better having been around good people.
Relief when needed
Of course no matter how hard i try there will always be times when the dreaded heartburn will hit. In these times i reach for some relief from the following methods:
- Rennies: Rennies have been used by myself and my family for as long as i can recall. They were something we had in the medicine cupboard, my husband would have a pack in his car and at hand for those moments when heartburn would strike.
- Sleep on an incline: With lots of us suffering with heartburn come night time, one of the best things i’ve found is to help gravity. Prop yourself up with a couple of pillows to help gravity pull that acid back down.
- Loosen Tight Clothing: Restrictive and tight clothing around the tummy area is thought to possibly be one of the causes of Heartburn..If you have an episode and you’re wearing your most skinniest jeans , they may be squeezing your tummy a little too much. Loosen the jeans or better yet, change in to some nice comfies to help your tummy out.
By following some simple steps for myself (no meat or dairy, avoid too much alcohol, drink plenty of water, destress whenever needed) I have cut my heartburn down tremendously, knowing my triggers has definitely helped to alleviate, but sometimes over indulgence can’t be helped;)
Are you a Heartburn sufferer, statistics show that 1 in 10 of us are… Do you have any #loveyourtummy advice?
This post is in conjunction with Rennie® but all thoughts are my own. Rennie Peppermint for
heartburn and indigestion. Rennie Liquid Heartburn Relief Oral Suspension. Rennie Heartburn,
Indigestion & Wind Relief Chewable tablet. Always read the label.