Heartburn is a burning sensation and pain in the stomach and/or chest, behind the breastbone. It may be accompanied by bloating, gas, nausea, shortness of breath and/or an acidic or sour taste in the throat. It often occurs when hydrochloric acid, which is used by the stomach to digest food, backs up into the oesophagus (the tube between the throat and stomach), causing sensitive tissues to become irritated.
Normally, the oesophageal sphincter muscle pinches itself shut and prevents stomach acid from surging upward. If the sphincter is not functioning properly, the acid can slip past it and into the oesophagus.
GERD can strike anyone, at any age and if stomach acids make their way into the lungs, it can cause asthma-like symptoms. People with hiatal hernia often experience heartburn. It can also be triggered by certain foods. Gallbladder problems, stress, allergies and enzyme deficiencies are other possible contributing factors.
Virtually every research study done on GERD/ acid reflux points to diet as a contributing factor. First and foremost, the symptoms of acid reflux/ GERD must be treated by changes in your diet in order to avoid long-term complications and restore healthy digestive function.
For good digestive health and overall health and wellness, it’s important to select unprocessed, organic foods free from GMOs as much as possible. Increasing fibre intake, supporting healthy bacteria in your gut with probiotic -rich foods and taking supplements if necessary can all help resolve symptoms.
Other steps include reducing grains (especially when refined) and sugar consumption, eating high-quality protein, and reducing intake of refined vegetable oils. All of these helps protect the GI tract, balance hormonal function and help prevent many serious chronic diseases associated with poor digestive health.
In addition to eating a healthy diet of foods that help to soothe the symptoms of acid reflux/ GERD, some find improvements when adding natural supplements to their diets.