Mustard contains an alkaline which neutralizes stomach acid and prevents it from coming up. If you’re suffering from heartburn, you’re probably more than willing to try anything to control it (even eating mustard). Outside of the burning sensation you feel, heartburn can cause chronic coughs, stomach pain, and difficulty swallowing. It’s not life-threatening, but it’s not fun. That being said, heartburn is often mistaken for a serious heart condition.
Heartburn is a common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease. It’s also known as GERD, and often called acid reflux. It occurs when acid from your stomach bubbles up into your esophagus and causes. a painful burning just behind the breastbone. People often mistake heartburn for a heart attack. A heart attack is caused by insufficient blood flow to your heart. It prompts a feeling of tightness, constriction, or pressure, rather than a burning sensation.
If you’re one of the more than 30 percent of people who experience heartburn on a regular basis we’re here to help. There are some simple adjustments you can make to your diet or lifestyle to avoid or minimize the discomfort, and when you should see a doctor.
Alleviate Heartburn By Eating Less
Eating heavy meals and giving yourself that “overly full” feeling has more side effects than just sleepiness and a need to loosen your belt. Heavy meals can put pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which can cause heartburn.
Eating within two to three hours before you go to bed can also cause active heartburn.
Try To Avoid Acidic Foods
If you’re prone to getting heartburn, try cutting down on citrus fruits, garlic, onion, tomatoes and anything generally acidic.
Avoid Apple Cider Vinegar
For some people, apple cider vinegar makes heartburn worse. Since we have no data to support the effectiveness or safety of its use for heartburn, it’s probably a good idea to avoid it for now.
A Teaspoon of Baking Soda
Baking soda is a good treatment for immediate relief from occasional acid reflux. The recommended dosage for adults is 1/2 teaspoon dissolved in a 4-ounce glass of water. It's best to sip this drink slowly to avoid side effects like gas and diarrhea.
Studies have shown that nicotine relaxes the LES, which can cause the contents to come back up. The accompanying cough with smoking can make heartburn worse due to the abdominal muscles tightening and forcing the acid upward. For more on how to quit smoking, you can check out the American Lung Association’s recommendations.
Monitor Medication Side Effects
Among the side effects of many medications is heartburn. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if heartburn is a common reaction to any medications you’re taking.
Prop yourself up when you sleep
Using an extra pillow to elevate your body when you sleep allows gravity to keep down the contents in your stomach. Consider using a wedge-shaped pillow for an easy solution to prop up your head and chest.
Obesity puts pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter which can cause acid reflux. Understanding obesity and how an individual can lose weight is the first step in the weight-loss journey. This article from the American Heart Association helps us understand the different components of losing weight.
Chewing gum works to reduce acid in the esophagus. The act of chewing can increase your saliva production, and cause you to swallow more. This allows any acidity in your mouth to be cleared much more quickly. Gum chewing may provide even more relief if you chew bicarbonate gum. Bicarbonate can neutralize the acid present in the esophagus.
Eat A Spoonful of Mustard
You’d think that because mustard can be spicy, it would trigger heartburn, but mustard works. Why? Mustard is full of minerals and contains vinegar, a weak acid. It also contains alkaline, which neutralizes stomach acid and prevents it from coming up due to GERD.
It’s a simple home remedy that you can try. Taking one teaspoon of yellow mustard when you feel heartburn coming on, or if you’re already experiencing symptoms, neutralizes the acid.
When To See Your Doctor
There are three scenarios that should prompt you to see your physician because of heartburn. They include:
- If your heartburn symptoms persist,
- It’s more severe than usual,
- Your heartburn lasts longer than two weeks
- You have a chronic cough
- Difficulty in swallowing
If you’re dealing with any of the situations mentioned here, you should talk to your doctor.
Your diet plays a role in many facets of your health. Making some simple changes may not only help with your heartburn but can help you to feel better overall. For a happier stomach, try downloading our guide. It’s called “How to Eat Healthy on a Busy Schedule.”