Disconnecting Heartburn from Spicy Food

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If you experience constant acid reflux, heartburn, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) then you are all too familiar with the uncomfortable lingering reminder that your favorite foods are off limits. Spicy foods are well known as one of the main causes of heartburn. What is a lover of spicy foods supposed to do, you ask? There are several options to help you have your cake and eat it too; or in this case Buffalo wings.

There are few simple lifestyle changes you could make that will make the spicy food burn less in the long run:

  • The first suggestion is to lose weight. Losing weight will reduce the amount of pressure on the valve between the stomach and the esophagus and this will reduce your GERD symptoms. Becoming healthier overall will allow you to enjoy the foods you love much more while you eat them, in limited quantities of course.
  • Second, stop drinking carbonated beverages. This is especially important to remember while you are eating. Carbonated beverages cause gas, which causes the valve between the stomach and the esophagus to open so air can escape. The problem is that stomach acid will also escape, ultimately resulting in heartburn. The good news, water is a much healthier option, and switching to water over soda can help you cut a few hundred calories out of your day easily!
  • Third, limit yourself. Spicy chicken wings are great, but that is no reason to eat 75 of them. Limit yourself to a proper serving and the resulting heartburn is likely to be less as well.
  • Fourth idea, do not eat before going to bed. Give your stomach a few hours to digest before falling asleep. Eating spicy foods too close to bedtime can also exacerbate GERD symptoms. This is because when you lie down you remove the force of gravity which aids in keeping stomach acid in your stomach. If you are prone to heartburn while lying down consider raising the head of the bed a few inches. This might help keep the stomach acid where it belongs.
  • Lastly, try chewing gum after a spicy meal to prevent heartburn. The saliva generated from chewing gum helps food enter the stomach and also neutralizes some of the stomach acid. Mint, however, can relax the valve and allow stomach acid to escape, so try a sugar free fruit flavored variety instead.

If your GERD symptoms are severe or persist then you should consult a doctor. In the meantime, enjoy that spicy meal and try one of these suggestions to help keep your heartburn from causing you extra discomfort.

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