Got Heartburn? Here Are Some Tips To Help

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Heartburn is one of the most common disorders of the upper digestive tract which can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. Heartburn is essentially a symptom or the sensation felt when acid splashes up out of the stomach into the oesophagus – otherwise known as acid reflux.

So what causes heartburn?

There are a number of reasons why somebody may experience heartburn or reflux. It could be due to an anatomical reason or stomach abnormality like hiatus hernia, or other common causes such as smoking which damages the stomach lining and increases the amount of acid produced, obesity or taking certain medications like Ibuprofen or aspirin.

Heartburn is also common in pregnancy due to the increased number of hormones circulating around the body and also the fact that all the woman’s organs get squished up trying to accommodation the growing baby.

What I want to touch on today though is how food plays a BIG role in heartburn symptoms and what actions you can take to stop the burn.

What typical foods trigger heartburn?

  • Spicy foods especially hot curries and chilli
  • Tomatoes and tomato-based sauces
  • White-flour based products such as bread, pasta, pizza, cakes/ pastries
  • Red meat
  • Foods that contain gluten
  • Citrus fruits including orange juice
  • Chocolate (unfortunately so!)
  • Fried foods
  • Food high in saturated fats such as meats, cheese, cream, hydrogenated oils
  • Garlic and onions
  • Fizzy drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Tea and coffee

How do these food play a role?

Many of the foods on this list are very acidic and tend to increase stomach acid production which only exacerbates symptoms further.

They can also slow down the process of gastric (stomach) emptying which means that food remains in your stomach for longer than it should be.

Many of these foods are very inflammatory. Excess inflammation in the body can lead to ageing and multiple disease processes.

Some other things to think about

  • Are you always stressed? There is a strong link between stress and over-production of stomach acid.
  • Get checked out for Helicobacter pylori which is a bacteria that lives in the stomach and can cause a whole host of issues including heartburn, reflux and stomach ulcers.
  • Get tested for food intolerances as there could be a particular food you hadn’t thought of which may be causing symptoms.

What else can help?

  • Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar – 1 tsp in a small glass of water 15 minutes before meals can really aid digestion. It can also be used as a remedy when you are experiencing heartburn so drink the same dose as soon as you feel the heartburn come on.
  • Eat small regular meals instead of big heavy meals and avoid eating too close to bedtime.
  • Don’t eat on the run – this only compromises digestion further.
  • Eat your food slowly and make sure you chew properly!
  • Avoid trigger foods that you know cause symptoms (listed above).
  • Don’t drink whilst eating as this can dilute your stomach acid and compromise digestion.
  • Alkalise your diet to reduce your acid load. Here is a great Acid/ Alkaline Food Chart.
  • Slippery elm – this is a mucilage herb that helps to heal the mucous membranes of the stomach lining and protect the oesophagus against the back-splash. Take 1 tsp of powdered slippery elm in warm water (mixed well) directly after meals.
  • Aloe vera – this is another fantastic herb to help heal up the membranes of the gastrointestinal tract and prevent symptoms.
  • Follow a low FODMAPS diet – here is more info about FODMAPS.
  • Chiropractic treatment – especially if you have a hiatus hernia.

Luckily I haven’t experienced any of the dreaded heartburn during my pregnancy but then I’m pretty militant about avoiding the culprit foods (as I know if I go anywhere need chilli or pizza, I will without a doubt get it!) and I can no longer eat on the run – or run anywhere for that matter!

Hope you find these tips helpful and that they reduce the burn!


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Michelle is a qualified Naturopath, Nutritionist, Reflexologist and Reiki practitioner who is passionate about living a holistic lifestyle and helping others to achieve their health goals. She is also a Jungle Body Dance Fitness Instructor, which not only keeps her fit but also helps her to inspire others to feel confident and get in shape.


  1. Elisa

    June 1, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Such helpful tips…For me it’s definitely the fats in food that gives me heart burn… I have to remind myself to avoid those.

    • Vitality Corner

      June 2, 2015 at 6:34 pm

      Thanks Elisa, glad you found them helpful! Yes fats can certainly bring on heartburn as they tend to sit in your stomach for longer causing your stomach to produce more acid which irritates your digestive system. Best to avoid :-)

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