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Heartburn

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April 23rd 2018

The five worst foods to eat late at night

There's no need to deny yourself a late-night snack if you're feeling hungry, but you still have to think smart when it comes to eating late.

Eating the wrong foods will disrupt your sleep while also adding a lot of unneeded calories to your day. Instead of just diving into the nearest, tastiest-looking item in your fridge, here are five types of foods to avoid at night and why. 

Greasy or fat-filled foods: Greasy, heavy, fatty foods not only make you feel sluggish the next morning, but they also make your stomach work overdrive to digest all that food. Stay away from things like fast food, nuts, ice cream, or super cheesy foods right before bed.

High-carb or sugary foods: A little bit of something sweet before bed may be just what you need to rest happy, but if you gobble a huge slice of chocolate cake, the spike in your blood-sugar levels could cause your energy levels to spike and plummet, disrupting your sleep in the process. Avoid cake, cookies, or other desserts as well as carby snacks like crackers or white bread and munch on an apple instead.

Red meat and other proteins: Like fatty foods, eating red meats late at night will sit in your stomach and make it hard for you to fall asleep while you're digesting (red meat may affect you the worst, but eating a large portion of chicken or pork would have the same effect as well). You don't have to avoid protein altogether, just make sure you go for lean and small portions, like deli-sliced turkey breast or a cup of yogurt.

Spicy foods: Spices may be a natural cure-all for a range of ailments, but when you're craving something to eat late at night, step away from the hot sauce. Spicy, peppery foods may upset your stomach, and the chemicals in spicy food can also stimulate your senses, making it hard to fall asleep.

Big portions: Late-night snacking shouldn't turn into a late-night meal. Keep the total amount of calories under 200 so you won't have any problems going and staying asleep. You'll also feel good knowing that you didn't undo all your healthy eating habits of the day right before bedtime.

So what should you eat instead?

Small, light portions that will also calm cravings and help you sleep. Try incorporating these sleep-inducing foods or these low-calorie late-night snacks that hit all your sweet or salty cravings. And remember to limit how much alcohol you drink as well, since too many drinks can keep you up at night.

April 15th 2018

Four tips to beat pregnancy heartburn

You may already know that the hormone progesterone does a lot of really vital stuff during pregnancy; essentially, it creates a secure, healthy home/uterus for the fertilized egg and then the growing baby. But with the wonderful comes the not so wonderful in the form of a progesterone-fueled pregnancy side effect many parents-to-be can relate to: pregnancy heartburn.

Sorry to shatter the myth, but heartburn during pregnancy has absolutely nothing to do with how much hair your baby has. It's a result of the fact that progesterone, while relaxing the uterine muscles, also relaxes the valve at the top of the stomach. This allows gastric acid to splash back up — or reflux — into the esophagus.

And if you're wondering whether you have pregnancy heartburn, you probably don't. It's a pretty unmistakable symptom: an intense, disruptive burning sensation in the chest and throat that makes eating a challenge and can interfere with sleep.

Do Pregnancy "Rules" Really Matter?

"It's a rite of passage for about 60 percent of pregnant women," Dr. Sherry Ross, an OB-GYN at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California, tells SheKnows. According to Ross, heartburn typically begins in the second trimester and continues throughout the rest of the pregnancy.

"I don't usually see pregnancy heartburn in my clients before 24 weeks gestation," Karly Nuttall, licensed midwife and cohost of the Birth Kweens podcast, tells SheKnows. "As your growing baby starts to take up more room in your abdomen and shrink the stomach's capacity, it pushes the stomach's contents up through the relaxed esophagus, and voila — heartburn!"

We're not going to lie to you, pregnant people. You might not be able to avoid pregnancy heartburn altogether. But you can follow these expert tips to minimize the burn and get back to enjoying food (and sleeping) as much as possible.

1. Avoid common heartburn triggers

Craving fried or fatty foods during pregnancy? That might be one longing you should try to resist. Foods with high fat content are more difficult to digest, says Ross. This causes a delay in the emptying of your stomach, which creates more acids. Instead, go for grilled, roasted or baked foods.

Another dietary no-no for heartburn sufferers is spicy foods, as these can irritate the lining of the esophagus. If possible, stick to blander foods with minimal seasoning during pregnancy (and look forward to that hot curry as soon as Baby is born). Acidic foods — including grains, sugar, dairy, processed foods, fruits and fruit juices — can also cause heartburn because they hike up acidity levels in the stomach. Safer alkaline alternatives include soy, unsweetened yogurt and milk, fresh vegetables, potatoes, beans, olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.

2. Eat small & slow

As well as avoiding common dietary triggers, Ross recommends eating several small meals a day instead of three large ones and taking your time when eating. Try not to wash down your food with too much liquid, which can increase the risk of acid reflux. It may be preposterous to say, "Don't lie down," to pregnant women, but... don't lie down straight after eating. When you do lie down, keep your head higher than your feet, such as by placing pillows under your shoulders. This helps prevent stomach acids rising up into your chest.

3. Try natural remedies

Nuttall recommends massaging your respiratory diaphragm to make more room for your stomach (this is easier than it sounds, and you can get great tutorials on YouTube — but check in with your midwife or OB-GYN first to make sure you're doing it correctly).

Other natural remedies for heartburn include slippery elm lozenges and taking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with every meal. Drinking baking soda (one teaspoon) dissolved in water (8 ounces) may also relieve heartburn symptoms because baking soda's alkaline pH means it neutralizes stomach acids. Ross recommends drinking a half-cup of aloe vera juice because its anti-inflammatory properties calm the stomach and esophagus that become inflamed from a buildup of acid. Another simple but often very effective home remedy for heartburn is chewing gum; this stimulates the salivary glands, helping to clear the buildup of acid in the stomach.

However, these strategies don't work every time for everyone, so if your heartburn is extreme or disturbing your sleep, you may need an over-the-counter medication.

4. Take heartburn medication safe for pregnancy

Before you take any OTC meds for pregnancy heartburn, make sure they're safe. Medications such as Tums help coat the esophagus and minimize the burning sensation and are safe during pregnancy. (Nuttall recommends taking no more than two Tums per day.) Other OTC medications that help with heartburn symptoms include Zantac and Pepcid AC. These medications should be taken 30 minutes before each meal and before bedtime for optimal results, advises Ross. It's unusual to have to take a prescription medication for pregnancy heartburn symptoms, but consult with your obstetrician or health care provider if you don't get relief from OTC meds.

If you're feeling the burn during pregnancy, take some comfort from the fact that millions of other parents-to-be are fighting the same battle against stomach acids. (And that there is some good news: Heartburn usually disappears as soon as the baby arrives.) 

Dec 9th 2017

10 Ways to Help You Get Rid Of Heartburn

Millions of people today suffer from a condition called heartburn. Although most of us suffer from a minor case of heartburn, you have to consider the fact that this condition can really be a nuisance as it can hinder us from doing our daily activities normally.

You have to remember that heartburn is a lifestyle disease. It is basically caused by poor eating habits and poor lifestyle. People who suffer from heartburn either eat to fast or that they eat the wrong kind of foods.

First of all, you have to understand that heartburn is a digestive condition. Despite its name and what you will feel during an episode of heartburn, it is in no way related to the heart.

Heartburn happens when stomach acid comes in to contact with our esophagus. You have to remember that stomach acid can reflux or travel back up inside our body. When stomach acid comes in to contact with our esophagus, it will cause irritation and we will feel that burning sensation that starts in our diaphragm all the way to our chest, which is basically what we all know as heartburn.

It’s an unpleasant feeling that you have to learn how to prevent in order for you to continue living a normal life and also keep your body healthy.

The first way to get rid of heartburn is to lose weight if you are overweight. Too much fat on the midsection will mean too much pressure in the stomach. When there is too much pressure on the stomach, it will force stomach acid to go up. This is why you have to lose weight.

The second way is to avoid having large meals. Instead of 3 large meals a day, try to eat 6 smaller meals a day. This will keep stomach acid production at a minimum therefore minimizing the likelihood of heartburn.

The third is to have soup, salad or sandwich for dinner. Avoid big dinners before going to bed. Doing so will keep the stomach light and digestion easy. Carbohydrates and starch based food can also help neutralize stomach acid.

The fourth is to maintain good posture whenever you eat and after you eat. This way, you will avoid putting pressure on the stomach, which will help in avoiding stomach acid from flowing back in to your esophagus.

The fifth is to drink plenty of water instead of drinking carbonated drinks. Carbonated drinks increase the amount of gas in the body, which will eventually put pressure on the stomach. On the other hand, water does not and it will help flush down stomach acid.

The sixth way is to drink a cup of green tea every day. The antioxidants in green tea will help get rid of unwanted toxins in your body. With fewer toxins, the stomach will have an easier time digesting food and will produce less acid.

The seventh is to wear loose fitting clothes. Wearing tight clothes can produce a lot of pressure on your stomach, which will force stomach acid up to your esophagus.

The eight is to have ginger tea whenever you feel heartburn symptoms. This provides faster relief and it’s also a healthier alternative than antacids.

The ninth is to quit smoking. Keep in mind that the nicotine inside cigarettes and cigars can prevent the LES or lower esophageal sphincter from functioning properly. The LES acts as a valve that separates the stomach acid from the esophagus.

Lastly, try to adjust your body position when sleeping. If you have nighttime heartburns, try to elevate your head. But, try not to use extra pillows to elevate your head. Instead, place a wedge underneath the mattress or raise the bed with a 6 inch block on the part where your head is.

These are the 10 ways on how you can get rid of heartburn. As you can see, a few lifestyle modifications can go a long way in treating heartburn. Just keep in mind that by living a healthier lifestyle, you will be able to prevent heartburn from taking control of your life. 

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