Heartburn & indigestion can be a painful symptom that people just put up with on a long term basis.
There could be many possible reasons but a very simple one that can be investigated and helped easily is stomach acid.
High or low stomach acid can cause heartburn & indigestion. It’s important to know which one could be affecting you as they are supported differently with nutrition. Doing a Burp test you can be a quick and cost free way to check this out for yourself at home.
The Burp test:
Do it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach before eating, drinking or brushing your teeth.
Add 1/8 tsp of bicarbonate of soda to 100ml of slightly warm water and drink.
Listen out and note down how long it takes for you to burp. It won’t be a belch. It should feel like little air bubbles coming up from your stomach to your throat.
Do this for 3 days in a row so you get an average result.
Optimal burp time is 1-2 minutes.
Less than 1 minute may indicate your stomach acid is too high. Between 2-3 minutes your acid may be slightly low and between 3-5 minutes your levels are low. More than 5 minutes your levels could be extremely low.
This isn’t a super scientific test but it will give you an indication. It may give you reason to go get some further testing done by your GP or seek nutritional advice from a friendly, helpful Nutritional Therapist 😉 .
When you have chronic heartburn & indigestion you may rely heavily on antacids from the pharmacy to help you through the flare ups. Antacids are only meant for short term use. They do not address the cause of the heartburn. They block the bodies ability to absorb certain nutrients, which long term can lead to negative effects on your health. They can also cause diarrhoea and a build up of magnesium in the body.
Here are some tips that you can do yourself that may help reduce flare ups;
It may seem strange to think that low stomach acid can cause heartburn. But if you stomach acid is low then there is not enough to break food down properly. This increases gas production and feels like heartburn. For low stomach acid, consider the following to stimulate stomach acid production:
1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar in 1 inch of water before meals.
Mindful eating – sitting down with no distractions and slowly chew and enjoy your meal.
Consuming more bitter foods & herbs – such as rocket, kale, broccoli and radichio.
For high stomach acid, consider the following to calm down stomach acid:
Lemon (a small amount) with warm water and a tsp of honey – can help neutralise stomach acid.
Herbal teas such as chamomile and slippery elm.
Avoid coffee & alcohol as they can stimulate gastric acid secretions.
These are just a few things you can try yourself but they do not solve the problem. More can be done with a personalised plan with a Registered Nutritional Therapist who can recommend appropriate testing, nutrition, lifestyle changes and supplementation based on overall health history.
If you suffer from this and it’s due to low stomach acid this could be great for you to try. This juice is a Light Digestive Lemon Aid.
The coriander has cleansing and detoxification properties. The fennel contains anethole, a volatile oil that stimulates the secretion of the digestive and gastric juices and reduces inflammation. This should help ease the burn by assisting the break down of food more effectively.
1/2 small fennel bulb
1 lemon (peeled)
1 handful of coriander leaves
Leaves from 4 mint sprigs
Put all the ingredients through an electric juicer and then serve over ice.
To bring this juice up another level you could stir in 1/2 teaspoon of probiotic powder after juicing. This would give your gut bacteria some love too.
Recipe care of Christine Bailey.
To calm high stomach acid this Alkaline Smoothie is one to try (for GERD sufferers also).
1 cup of almond milk
1 cup of watermelon
5 frozen strawberries
1/2 small banana
1 handful of fresh spinach
1 teaspoon of chia seeds
The trick to a nice bright green colour (not sludgy brown) is to blend the spinach, banana and chia seeds together first. Then separately blend the watermelon, strawberries and almond milk together. Add the 2 into a glass of ice and its ready to go!
Recipe by Courtney @ knowyourproduce.com