Heartburn (Acid Reflux)
This information was sourced from Natural Cures.
Overview Heartburn is a condition characterized by a wavelike, burning sensation in the upper chest and esophagus that usually occurs within an hour of eating. At times, the experience of heartburn can be very uncomfortable, and even mimic sensations of heart disease. In most cases, however, heartburn symptoms tend to be fleeting and not serious in nature.
Conventional physicians commonly recommend over-the-counter antacid medications for heartburn. While such drugs can provide temporary relief, they can be harmful if used for long periods of time, both reducing the amount of stomach acids that are necessary for proper digestion and assimilation of food, and also wreaking havoc with the body's internal pH. Ironically, antacids are intended to neutralize excess acidity, yet their continued use actually results in over-acidity of the body, helping to create an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses, all of which thrive in an acidic environment.
Caution: While occasional heartburn is usually harmless, recurring episodes could be an indication of more serious conditions, such as enzyme imbalances or deficiencies, hiatal hernia, stress, or imbalances in adrenal gland, liver, and/or spleen function. If you suffer from chronic or recurring episodes of heartburn, seek medical attention.
Symptoms of Heartburn: The most common heartburn symptom is burning pain in the upper chest and esophagus, which can come in waves and be extremely painful at times. Belching can also accompany heartburn.
Causes of Heartburn : The most common causes of heartburn are overeating, and eating meals that are predominantly acid-forming and abundant in unhealthy fats, spices, and commercially processed foods. Heartburn can also be caused by low levels of hydrochloric acid (HCl), deficiencies in the body's production of enzymes, poor adrenal and/or spleen function, and/or diminished liver function due to toxicity. Hiatal hernia, stress, or smoking, can cause heartburn, as well.
In addition, food allergies lead to poor digestion which can also contribute to heartburn, as can combining too many different types of foods at the same meal. Heartburn can be brought on by drinking excess fluids during mealtime, eating too fast, or eating in a stressed environment. Heartburn can also be connected to constipation, similar to a backed up septic system. In this case, the body can have a difficult time digesting and processing the food coming in, if the previous meal is not going down and being eliminated properly.
Aromatherapy: The essential oil of cardamon can relieve heartburn symptoms.
Diet: Avoid all commercially processed foods, spicy foods, sugars, refined carbohydrates, unhealthy fats, coffee and other caffeine products, chocolate, sodas, commercial non-herbal teas, alcohol, orange and grapefruit juice, tomato products, milk and dairy products, and foods containing peppermint and spearmint. Also have yourself screened for potential food allergies and sensitivities and avoid those foods for which you test positive.
Emphasize a diet rich in organic whole foods, especially organic fresh green vegetables and green vegetable drinks. Free-range organic meats and poultry, and wild-caught fish are also recommended. In addition, be sure to drink plenty of pure filtered water throughout the day.
Avoid overeating and eating meals late in the evening. As a general rule of thumb, in order to prevent and reverse heartburn symptoms, eat meals that are predominantly alkalizing in nature, especially green vegetables. (For more information about how to eat alkalizing foods, see pH.) Meals should ideally consist of generous portions of fresh leafy green salads, bare or lightly dressed, with an equally generous portion of lightly steamed vegetables and a fist sized portion of steamed, baked, broiled or carefully grilled protein. Organically produced foods, and carefully chosen oils, such as raw virgin coconut butter/oil, extra virgin olive oil and high lignan flax seed oil are your safest options. Avoid all fried foods, and all hydrogenated fats and oils. Choose raw, rather than roasted nuts and seeds, both in whole and butter form. Raw almond butter is a better option than peanut butter, and is a great snack when spread on apple slices.
Minimize your intake of both coffee and black tea, as well as alcoholic beverages. This is essential if heartburn is an issue.
Foods that can often quickly resolve heartburn problems are apples, raw cucumbers (peeled), brown rice, and walnuts. Sipping a glass of pure, filtered water with a couple of teaspoons of raw organic apple cider vinegar or baking soda (one teaspoon to eight ounces of water) can also quickly neutralize heartburn attacks.
Herbal Medicine: Useful herbs for heartburn include agrimony, aloe vera, angelica, fennel, garlic, gentian, goldenseal, licorice root, marshmallow root, parsley, and slippery elm.
Homeopathy: Arsenicum album — for heartburn accompanied by anxiety, chills and thirst, abdominal cramping Nux vomica — for heartburn caused by fats or sour foods and/or accompanied by feelings of irritability Sulfur — for heartburn caused by overeating and/or accompanied by burping, late morning hunger, or early morning diarrhea.
Juice Therapy: Fresh squeezed cucumber juice can often quickly resolve heartburn symptoms.
Lifestyle: If you smoke, stop, and also avoid exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke. In addition, learn how to effectively cope with and manage stress. A regular exercise program is of the utmost importance as is a whole foods diet. Also avoid overeating and eating meals late in the evening. Allow at least 3 hours between meals, unless blood sugar problems are an issue, in which case, eating smaller frequent meals is an option.
Nutritional Supplements: The most useful nutritional supplements for treating and preventing heartburn are digestive enzymes (taken with every meal) and calcium carbonate (take 600 mg in liquid or chewable form every two to three hours until symptoms subside).
Probiotics such as acidophilus and Bifidobacteria, can also be helpful, as can fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS) and soil-based organisms. FOS is an all-natural carbohydrate microorganism that has been shown by researchers to serve as a fertilizing agent that enables Bifidobacteria to thrive in the large intestine, where it helps to protect against harmful bacteria.
Soil-based organisms are beneficial microbes found in soil. Taken as a supplement, they go to work to detoxify the gastrointestinal tract while eliminating fungi, molds, parasites, viruses, and yeasts. They also help to improve absorption of nutrients and boost both immune and overall cell function, including the production of RNA and DNA. In addition, they act as natural antioxidants.
Stress Reduction: Stress reduction techniques are often helpful in relieving heartburn caused or exacerbated by stress and unresolved emotions, such as anger, anxiety, depression, and irritability. Holistic health practitioners help their patients accomplish stress reduction through the use of various mind/body medicine techniques, such as biofeedback, hypnotherapy, and relaxation exercises.
Meditation is another form of stress management that can be highly effective. There are many ways to meditate. One of the easiest is simply to sit comfortably in a chair with your eyes closed as you focus on your breathing. Do this for five to ten minutes twice a day and gradually extend each session to 20 to 30 minutes. To enhance your efforts, concentrate on mentally repeating a peaceful phrase each time that you inhale and exhale, allowing all other thoughts to rise and pass without becoming involved in them. At first, this may seem difficult, but with committed practice you will eventually find yourself able to do so while experiencing greater degrees of calm and peace.
Alternative Professional Care: The following therapies can also help to prevent and relieve heartburn: Acupressure, Acupuncture, Ayurveda, Biofeedback Training and Neurotherapy, Detoxification Therapy, Environmental Medicine, Enzyme Therapy, Flower Essences, Mind/Body Medicine, Naturopathic Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Yoga.
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Quick Action Plan for Preventing and Treating Heartburn (Acid Reflux)
Occasional heartburn is usually harmless; suffering from chronic heartburn requires medical attention. Hiatal hernia, stress, or smoking can also cause heartburn.
Conventional physicians recommend over-the-counter antacid medications for heartburn. Although these drugs can provide temporary relief, long-term use may be harmful, as they reduce the amount of stomach acids necessary for proper digestion and assimilation of food.
Screen for food allergies, which contribute to poor digestion, thus leading to heartburn. Avoid the following: foods you are allergic to, eating too many different types of foods at the same meal, drinking excess fluids during the meal, wolfing down food, or eating under stress.
Avoid overeating, do not eat acid forming foods, commercially-processed foods, overly spicy foods, refined sugars and carbohydrates, hydrogenated fats or oils, coffee, chocolate, sodas, excess alcohol, orange and grapefruit juice, tomato products, pasteurized milk or dairy products, and foods containing peppermint and spearmint.
Eat an organic whole foods diet, full of organic fresh green vegetables and green vegetable juices, especially freshly-made cucumber juice, which can provide instant relief. Free-range organic meats and poultry, and wild-caught fish are recommended. Drink plenty of pure, filtered water throughout the day.
Avoid overeating and eating meals late in the evening, and allow at least three hours between meals, unless blood sugar problems are an issue.
For quick relief from heartburn symptoms, eat apples, raw cucumbers (peeled), brown rice, and walnuts. Try sipping a glass of pure, filtered water with a couple of teaspoons of raw, organic apple cider vinegar, or baking soda, which can quickly neutralize heartburn attacks.
Useful herbs for heartburn include agrimony, aloe vera, angelica, fennel, garlic, gentian, goldenseal, licorice root, marshmallow root, parsley, and slippery elm. The tea, or essential oil of cardamom, relieves symptoms for many.
Homeopathy remedies that help are Arsenicum album, Nux vomica, and Sulfur.
If you smoke, stop, and begin an exercise program as soon as possible.Take digestive enzymes with every meal, along with calcium carbonate, 600 mg in liquid or chewable form every two to three hours until symptoms subside. Take Probiotics such as acidophilus and Bifidobacteria according to directionsStress reduction techniques such as biofeedback, hypnotherapy, and relaxation exercises, along with meditation, can be highly effective.
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