5 simple ways to take control of your heartburn
Brought to you by Nexium Control
Struggling with heartburn? These simple changes could make a big difference...
This October marks the seventh annual Heartburn Awareness Month, which every year aims to spread awareness of the symptoms and triggers of heartburn, and to make living with the condition that little bit easier.
Heartburn is a burning feeling in the chest caused by stomach acid travelling up towards the throat.
Recent research has revealed that more than three quarters (77%) of adults in Ireland have suffered from heartburn at least once.* While we're usually tempted to reach for short-acting solutions, speaking to your pharmacist about long-term heartburn solutions can be a much more effective way to deal with the problem.
Wellness & Lifestyle Coach Anna Geary is one of many Irish women who struggles with heartburn and she's revealed some of the simple lifestyle changes that have helped her manage it.
So, if you do struggle with the condition, here are Anna's top tips for taking control of your heartburn...
According to the Telegraph, research has shown clear links between stress and digestive issues, so making self-care a priority could do wonders for your heartburn too.
"I try to actively manage my stress levels during busy periods, by first rating my stress levels between 1 [and] 10. Then I ask myself, 'How can I improve that number today by just one?'. It helps me to prioritise self-care," Anna says.
To combat stress, try make more time for mindful activities like meditation, yoga or keeping a diary or journal. Anna says exercise is her go-to stress release and it has some great digestive benefits too, making it a win-win for any heartburn sufferers.
Chew your food properly
According to the Guardian, some experts suggest we're supposed to chew our food between 20 and 30 times before swallowing, and this is especially important if you're someone who suffers from heartburn. While we're all guilty of rushing through breakfast in the mornings or eating lunch on-the-go, it's important that you give yourself enough time to eat your meals.
"We all lead busy lives and it’s easy to tell ourselves that we don’t have time to sit down and eat, but we need to be more conscious of mindful eating. It’s crucial for our gut health and digestive system.
"A useful tip to slow down and chew my food thoroughly is to put down my cutlery between each mouthful," Anna says.
Change up your diet
Your diet can play a big role in how often you experience heartburn. Recent research has shown that eating rich or spicy food (54%) and eating too much (34%) are the two biggest triggers for heartburn.* But there are some simple, effective diet changes that can really help with digestive issues, including upping your fibre intake.
We should all be aiming for 25 grams of fibre a day to keep our digestive system and bowels in good working order, but this is sometimes easier said than done. Fruit, pulse vegetables and wholemeal bread or oats are great sources of fibre, and Anna tries to incorporate these into her everyday meals.
"I look for easy ways to add extra fibre into my meals by adding beans, lentils [and] nuts to soups, stews, curries or salads where possible," Anna says.
Probiotics can also be really beneficial for tackling heartburn as they increase the amount of good bacteria in your gut which aids digestion. So, it could be worth incorporating some pro-biotic yoghurts into your diet too.
Yoghurt, kefir and fresh sauerkraut are all good sources of probiotics, and Anna is a huge advocate for including foods like these into your diet: "I add fermented foods like pickles into my diet, as they contain digestive enzymes and beneficial bacteria needed to help my body absorb essential nutrients."
Ask your pharmacist for help
If you suffer regularly from heartburn, it could be worth having a chat with your pharmacist. They might be able to give you some tips for managing or preventing digestive issues long-term, and offer some treatment options as well.
Anna says chatting to her pharmacist about her heartburn was hugely beneficial for her: "When it comes to heartburn and digestive health, talking to my pharmacist was a game-changer. They gave me tips and advice about controlling the condition, and building positive habits relating to digestion."
*Stats are from a Nexium survey featuring 1000 respondents, conducted in September/October 2021.
Nexium Control 20mg gastro-resistant tablets and hard capsules. For short term treatment of reflux symptoms (e.g. heartburn) in adults. Contains esomeprazole. Always read the label.
Brought to you by Nexium Control