Why It Happens and How to Avoid It
Are you popping antacids like candy all day? Does it feel like they never seem to help your heartburn? Listen up! Heartburn can really take the joy out of a delicious meal. More than half of adults experience this, so chances are you know how hard it can be to enjoy your dinner when you know it might come with consequences later on. In this episode, you'll learn why heartburn happens, how antacids could make symptoms worse, foods to avoid and what to swap them with, and additional diet and lifestyle changes you can make that turn heartburn into fat burning.
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JJ Virgin: [00:00:00] Hey, this is JJ Virgin. Thanks so much for joining me. This is ask the health expert. In each episode, I put the power of health in your hands and share ways to get healthy, lose weight, heal your gut detox and lots more. So you can look and feel better fast if you'd rather watch the video. Hey, I did put on my makeup and do my hair.
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Are Tums your favorite candy? Are you popping them? Like after dinner mints, if you have heartburn, you know, it's miserable. It's also super common, but chewing antacids all day long, isn't the answer. And it could be making you worse or at the very least it definitely isn't getting to the root cause of your.
But the good news [00:01:00] is you can get rid of heartburn and enjoy eating again. But first you have to figure out why you have. And treat the cause of it, not just keep masking the symptoms stick around and I'll show you seven ways to do just that. This is the place to be. If you want to get healthy, feel better and lose weight.
So like and subscribe to make sure you don't miss a thing. So let's talk about heartburn, which is actually a symptom of something called GERD. Sounds pretty elegant, right? GERD. It stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease. Now heartburn happens when a valve in your esophagus doesn't tighten fully or as weak.
So stomach acid backs up in your esophagus. As food moves from your mouth to your stomach, the acid leaking back up is the heartburn you feel and man, it is not fun. Now. Most people think heartburn is caused by excess stomach acid. It kind of makes sense, but that's not always the case [00:02:00] because you're more likely to get heartburn as you.
But stomach acid decreases with age, but there are some risk factors that everyone agrees on, like being overweight, smoking, and overeating. These will set you up for heartburn. So symptoms usually begin right after you eat and they can last for hours or disappear fast. You get that burning in your chest that most people know about.
And you may also have a little sour taste in your mouth, or you might even cough. You might also feel like you have food stuck in your throat, which can be a little bit terrifying now for a lot of people, it gets worse when they lie down or bend over because then stomach acid rolls right back into the esophagus.
So when you have heartburn, I get why you want relief fast. And the conventional treatment is medication that gets rid of the symptoms by neutralizing or blocking that stomach acid. Unfortunately, what most people don't realize is that these acid blocking. Aren't safe. Long-term so you really have to kick that [00:03:00] Tums habit because it's not really fixing anything at all.
In fact, it does the opposite of you want to be doing with your stomach acid, which means you could be making your heartburn worse. Look, heartburn is so common. It's way too common. Honestly, more than half of adults say they've had heartburn and we need to take it seriously. In 2004, GERD was the underlying cause of more than 1000 deaths.
And the rates of GERD is the direct or contributing cause of death increased by 115% between 1979 to 2004. It's the most common digestive problem. And listen to this in 2017, the U S spent over $10 billion to get rid of heartburn antacids and proton pump inhibitors for acid reflux are in the top 10 most prescribed medications
in the world. So now you may wonder why the problem just keeps getting worse. Well, it's because we've been approaching heartburn and acid reflux all wrong. [00:04:00] The good news is I'm going to help you start healing with simple changes to your diet and lifestyle. Believe it or not, they can make a big impact on relieving acid, reflux and heartburn.
So to find out which specific ones will work for you first, you have to figure out why you have. So let's do it. Why do you have it? All right. Number one, poor diet. The most common causes foods that are highly acidic or high in fat, like citrus, fruits, tomatoes, onions, chocolate coffee, and peppermint spicy foods or large meals can also cause it.
And if you're overeating, you're putting on weight and guess what? Excess weight pushes up against your stomach, causing that valve to spasm and let stomach acid spill out. So the first thing is you have to trade foods that hurt you for foods that heal you. When you cut out the foods that most likely are to trigger or aggravate your acid reflux, you give your stomach a chance to.
And you do that by swapping those harmful foods with healing [00:05:00] swaps. So trade your spicy noodles from some spaghetti squash,
your spicy salsa for some hummus, your onions for ginger, your chocolate with vanilla and cinnamon. And just try to dial down the heat in general and exercise a little more restraint when it comes to portion size.
Now I always recommend you eat by the plate because honestly it's a no brainer. It's so healing and it will lower your sugar impact and it will save you from yourself. Everything is laid out for you. What foods, how much, all that I'll put a link below. So you can get more info on how to do that. Also beware of some drinks, too. Drinks with caffeine will boost that acid in your stomach and fizzy drinks can bloat your stomach, which might also lead to heartburn.
And of course, everyone's favorite question. What about alcohol? I can't give up my wine. Well not great news here. Alcohol can relax that valve between your esophagus and stomach, which leads to acid escape. Now there are great options though. Of course you can drink water. [00:06:00] In fact, some researchers believe heartburn is a sign of dehydration and you can also drink herbal teas and plant-based milks, but too much water during meals can dilute your stomach acid, which will make it hard for you to move food out of there.
So go easy on liquid during meals, and otherwise drink up. Now, if you're carrying a lot of extra weight, just know that being overweight is a strong risk factor for GERD symptoms. So if you're trying to drop those pounds, when you eat by the plate, you're going to trade heartburn for fat-burning because you'll be focusing on a combination of lean protein, healthy fats, and fiber from slow, low carbs and loads of non starchy veggies that will help you get healthy and drop the fat fast.
Another change to your diet. That's super simple and will make a difference. Fast is drinking a loaded smoothie when you break your fast, which is preferably brunch a little bit later than maybe first thing in the morning. It's the perfect fuel because it's packed with nutrients and it keeps you full for a long [00:07:00] time.
So it's great at jump-starting weight loss too. All right now there's number two, food intolerances high food intolerances. I call them high Hi-Fi and high sugar impact. Hi side can cause inflammation, wreck your gut and irritate your intestinal lining. When you're sensitive to certain foods, especially things like gluten or dairy, they cause reactions that slow down your digestion and when your body can't digest food.
The food sits in your stomach and can't pass through the rest of your GI tract and that excess food in your stomach can cause acid reflux. An article published in September, 2011, issue of diseases of esophagus called out studies that show a gluten-free diet can control heartburn symptoms and keep them from coming back.
Studies also show that reducing or eliminating high sugar impact foods can do the same. In fact one even found that simple carbs might contribute more to acid reflux, then coffee or bad fat in your [00:08:00] diet. And you may not even be aware of how much sugar eating. So you have to sleuth out where it's sneaking into your diet, aggravating, that acid reflux you want to lower your sugar.
By making some healing swaps my book, the sugar impact diet is about this. Exactly. So check it out because it will seriously help you cut down on high sugar impact foods without experiencing cravings. All right. Number three is not enough stomach acid. So let me bust a common myth about acid reflux and heartburn.
We've been treating acid reflux and heartburn by lowering stomach acid. But research shows that more often than not, the real problem is too little stomach acid. And that makes perfect sense. And here's why as we age, our stomach acid begins to decline. Actually it starts to go down after the. 20. And when you think about the fact that 65% of people using antacids are 45 and older, there's just no evidence that too much acid is causing heartburn.
We [00:09:00] actually need a good amount of stomach acid to break down food, to trigger digestive enzymes, and to get rid of bacteria and other bad things in our food and water. So antacids could actually be making your heartburn worse and lowering stomach acid can also lead to vitamin deficiencies, osteoporosis, and lots of other things you don't want to get.
So you want to add digestive enzymes to help break down protein and other foods better. And that should also help reduce heartburn as well as gas and bloating. Now you can take those before you eat instead of the Tums after you eat and they'll help you avoid acid buildup. And the tummy upset. My digestive enzymes are called belly rescue safety net plus, and I'm going to put a link to those two here.
Now plant-based digestive enzymes also can deactivate some of the pepsin in our bodies and that's important because pepsin is a stomach enzyme that helps with digestion, but it's also responsible for the upward surge of contents into the esophagus. So yeah. Let's [00:10:00] prevent that Alright number four, number four, you knew I was going to talk about it stress I'm sure.
I don't have to tell you about all the bad things stress does to your body. You've probably felt it more often than you'd like to remember, and you probably know stress can hit your digestive tract and cause reflux research shows that people under stress are more likely to experience more intense acid reflux symptoms.
And I will tell you the night, the first night that my son was in the hospital. Part of a four and a half months stay where he nearly died. I still remember how bad the heartburn was that night. So yes, stress plays a huge role. Now that doesn't mean if you're stressed you'll produce more stomach acid or that more shoots up your esophagus.
But when you're under stress, you'll probably notice your symptoms more and say they feel more intense. Plus when you're stressed, you eat like crap quite often and die for sugary and high-fat fried foods. So make reducing your stress a priority, do what you can take care of [00:11:00] yourself by doing some things that relieve stress like exercise or meditation walks with your friends, baths.
Could do that with your friends too. All right. Whatever does it for you. If you're having trouble putting a dent in it, try a class to get you started like a yoga class or a guided meditation class is super important to help this, to do this self care. Now, number five late night, eating. Okay, this is such a big issue and it causes so many problems.
And in my experience, shutting down the kitchen after dinner is the single most important thing you can do to jumpstart all kinds of healing from leveling your blood sugar, to dropping body fat, to reducing heartburn. When you eat late, not only, you're probably eating too much and it's probably not.
Salmon and Brussels sprouts. It's probably things you shouldn't be eating. Then you collapse on the couch and veg out or worse yet go straight to bed either way you're lying down. And that's the worst thing you can do. So promise me this and promise yourself. You're going to stop eating at [00:12:00] least three hours before bed staying upright during that.
Okay. Number six, new upset your microbiome. So you're having heartburn. Then you pound your GI track with antacids, but unfortunately studies show that acid blockers reduce healthy bacteria in your gut and increase infection. Reducing the amount of acid in your stomach with antacids helps bad bacteria survive and get into your small intestines.
So now you have gas and bloating and more of the heartburn you were trying to avoid. First place. So take a probiotic to help heal your gut mine is called micro biome balance probiotics. And it's even more powerful than most straight up probiotics. First, the prebiotics and it work in both the small and large intestines and don't ferment,
so they don't make you gassy and bloated, which is what a lot of these things do. And. They help repopulate the healthy gut flora and support your gut function. But it does a lot more than that too, because it has organisms called bacteria phages. These [00:13:00] boost your immunity by attacking the bad microbes and supporting the good ones.
So it's like this two for one, check it out. All right. Even when you heal your gut, you also have to get stress, exercise and sleep dialed in because if they're a wreck, they can also wreak havoc on your. And now finally, number seven medication. So medications like aspirin or ibuprofen and some sedatives and blood pressure medications too can cause GERD.
And then there's the antacids we talked about, honestly, a majority of people taking medication to reduce stomach acids, shouldn't be, and usually those people can get rid of the heartburn with the things we've been talking. So get to the root of your heartburn symptoms, starting with what's at the end of your fork.
And let's get you off those daily acid blocking meds. Don't forget to hit like and subscribe and join me next time for the best ways to fill your plate and feel better fast.[00:14:00]
For more info on this and other health topics I cover or to rate and review find me on Instagram, Facebook and my website, JJvirgin.com. And don't forget to subscribe to my show. So you won't miss a single episode. Go to subscribetojj.com. Thanks again for being with me this week. .