Finding Ways To Fight Heartburn
When large amounts of acidic stomach contents are regurgitated past the stomach's valve and up into the gutter, heartburn occurs. Small amounts of acid reflux are normal and harmless, since constantly swallowing saliva quickly washes it back into the stomach. However if the amount of refluxed material is greater than normal and persists over a period of time, this can result in debilitating heartburn , which affects the enjoyment of food. It can lead to inflammation, bleeding, narrowing of the gutter, anemia and in some cases, results in cancer. SYMPTOMS: Heartburn is usually described as a burning sensation in the chest and upper abdomen. It is hardly surprising t hat heart burn is painful, since it is associated with the production of gastric acid. The stomach wall secretes hydrochloric acid to help kill bacteria that enter the body via food and drink. The stomach lining is coated with a thick layer of mucus to protect it form this acid. The throat and mouth have no such protection, hence the pain associated with refluxed material. If reflux is regurgitated into the mouth, it also creates an unpleasant acidic taste. TREATING HEARTBURN Most women treat heartburn with over-the-counter or prescribed antacid preparations. These usually contain sodium, aluminum, calcium, and magnesium. * Lean meats, fish, poultry, and low-fat dairy products are all rich in protein and appear to enhance the tone of the valve at the top of the stomach. Making sure that all meals and snacks contain some protein may help to tighten the valve over time and diminish the problem. Wholegrain cereals, whole meal breads, and brown rice are rich in insoluble fibre. This fibre bulks the stools and prevents constipation, which may otherwise cause a build-up of pressure in the colon. This pressure can move up into the stomach and force the stomach valve to open. When this happens, heartburn occurs. It is important when increasing intakes of wholegrain foods to increase fluid intake to six to eight cups a day, to keep the stools soft. Increasing fibre without extra fluid can make the stools hard. Apple cider vinegar mixed with water and sipped during a meal can help those who are affected by heartburn. One tablespoon of apple cider vinegar should be mixed with a glass of water.
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