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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Indigestion, acid reflux, heart burn, GERD...COOL the Heat in your chest!

You just ate a big meal....maybe you started with an appetizer of fried jalapeno poppers... next you ordered a Margarita...maybe a Burger for dinner and Ice Cream for dessert. You were satisfied after the third popper and Margarita but "the food looked sooooo good" and you "deserved a great meal after a long hard working day." After the meal, you are quite full, but it was "so worth it." You plop on the couch as your great big meal tries to work it's way down to your stomach. All is well for a short window of time and then you start to feel it ... a bubble, a burp, a BURN. "Ouch, yuck, ugh. Why does this always happen to me?!"  hmm....maybe now you realize..."it was soo NOT worth it."

Even if you are thinking my example is extreme and you are only an occasional sufferer of acid indigestion, I am sure it would help to know WHY it is happening and WHAT the long term affects of even a slight burn can have on your body...

We are all aware that when we eat, food has got to make it's way from point A (consumption) to point B (elimination).  To do that, our bodies work hard to make sure we utilize nutrients from our food efficiently and effectively.  As our food works down our bodies, it is being pushed through by a process called Peristalsis. As peristalsis aids our food through canals to our stomachs, it must pass through 5 sphincters before final emission through our anus.  * A sphincter is comparable to a kink in a garden hose. Think of the consistent flow of water through a hose. Now imagine you block off five sections of that hose through separate kinks.  In order for water to continue it's flow from the main water supply through the opening, it must be unkinked. By relaxing the kink, water can continue to flow. Similarly, our food will travel down our bodies, breaking down and metabolizing along the way, until it reaches a sphincter or "kink." Once there, our bodies naturally know to relax that "kink," sphincter, valve-whatever you want to call it- and food can continue to be processed and broken down for absorption.

sphincter /sphinc·ter/ (sfingk´ter) [L.] a ringlike muscle which closes a natural orifice or passage.

Our body has five sphincters...Specifically, after the first 'kink' (esophagus) relaxes to release food to the second area of digestion (stomach), the kink should re close automatically until it needs to release more food later on. HOWEVER- if you have an over surplus of food your body, or your sphincter is compromised due to other factors, you may may experience a BACK FLOW or "reflux."

 Observe above diagram ^^ and this brief clip>> GERD

If you frequently experience symptoms of acid reflux, do not panic and run off to the doctor. FIRST try to change a few dietary habits for a brief time and see if you notice any improvement. If you are continuing to suffer after a few months on your new alkalized diet, consult a physician.  But please LET surgery and medication be a last resort. They are both time consuming and costly in contrast to a slight dietary change.

Here are a few slight but significant changes to start with:

LIMIT these highly ACIDIC foods:

Black Pepper



Fatty food

Fried food



Orange juice


Soft drinks

Tomato sauce


Adopt these healthy habits and avoid pain!

Maintain a healthy weight. 
Extra weight is sure to add pressure on your abdomen, pushing up your stomach and causing acid to back up into your esophagus.

Avoid tight fitting clothing.
 Think tight jeans or tight undergarments pressing against your stomach so much that your stomach is pressing against your sphincter.

Avoid foods and drinks that trigger heartburn.
 Avoid the foods you know tend to trigger your heartburn.

Eat smaller meals.
 Too much food=too much acid= back flow...OUCH!

Delay lying down after a meal. 
Help gravity out! Stay upright for at least 2-3 hours. 

Stop smoking. 
Smoking disrupts normal function by over relaxing sphincters.  #1 cause of heart burn!

As ALWAYS... enjoy foods in moderation. 
You never have to completely eliminate any food or drink from you diet.
 It is usually never the poison, but the DOSE!

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Stay Well