GERD, also known as heartburn, is the sensation of pain or warm discomfort in your chest.  It feels really close to where your heart is, which is why it’s called Heartburn.  Other people call it indigestion or reflux.  

All names for basically the same dysfunction. You feel the pain because contents of your stomach, which are acidic, have splashed up and are irritating the bottom of your esophagus.  Your stomach is meant to thrive in this acid (stomach acid is hydrochloric acid or HCL) because you need it to digest your food.  Your esophagus on the other hand gets irritated by the acid which is why you feel the discomfort of pain. It’s really common to have heartburn or symptoms.  Now that you understand what is happening, you can improve your symptoms by doing these three simple things.

1. Don’t overeat.

Now that you know GERD is from acidic stomach contents splashing back into the esophagus, it might be easier to take a smaller portion.  When you overeat you’re stretching out your stomach to the max.  It can only hold so much at one time!.  When it gets over full some of the food contents in your stomach accidentally get squished back up the other way into your esophagus and cause that indigestion heartburn sensation. To avoid this from happening eat smaller meals more often.

2. Take a few deep breaths.

In order for your stomach and digestion to work properly you need to be relaxed.  This relaxation makes it possible for you to make stomach acid, digestive enzymes and keep the digesting food out of your esophagus and in your stomach.  If you’re someone who has a lot of stress in your life, I’d recommend you see a Naturopathic Doctor.  

When you have a lot of stress, you are less able to create digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid (or HCL).  This decreased HCL production combined with stress inhibits your esophagus from creating the necessary barrier between it and the stomach.  This incomplete barrier allows the acidic contents to splash up… and Hello Heartburn.  A Naturopathic Doctor will be able to help you figure out if GERD caused by low HCL and stress is happening to you.  There are many ways you can reverse this from happening, starting with taking a few deep breaths before eating.

3. Avoid common heartburn causing foods.

Stay away from alcohol, black pepper, garlic, raw onions, and other spicy foods, chocolate, citrus fruits, coffee and caffeinated drinks (including peppermint tea and pop), and tomatoes.  These foods are found to make GERD and heartburn worse.  Instead eat lots of dark green leafy veggies.