Is Heartburn Interfering with Your Productivity?

Is Heartburn Interfering with Your Productivity?
January 22, 2018

The odds are that you or someone you know experiences heartburn (also known as acid reflux). Around half of North American adults experience it at least once per month. Somewhere between 10-20% have it at least once per week! I used to have severe heartburn at least once per day, every day for years.

Heartburn, also known as reflux, occurs when the active acid in your stomach creeps up into your esophagus. It can feel like a burning sensation; hence the name “heartburn.” Other common symptoms include bloating, burping, difficulty swallowing, or a sore throat. Often there is a bitter or sour taste as well.

Don’t get me wrong; stomach acid is not a bad thing; it’s essential for good health and optimal digestion.

I never knew that we need the acid in our stomach to protect us against harmful microbes (i.e., bacteria) that lurk in our food and drinks. Stomach acid also helps us break down our food, and digest nutrients. But we need that acid to stay in the stomach, and not get up to our esophagus!

Note that stomach acid doesn’t usually burn the stomach itself; this is because a layer of mucus protects the stomach. But your esophagus doesn’t have that same protection. It has a valve that is supposed to prevent things from going the wrong way (i.e., keep food, drink, and acid down; not allow it back up). And when your esophagus is exposed to stomach acid too often, it can cause the infamous burning, inflammation, and other potential issues.

Antacids, over the counter or not, are NOT the solution; they only mask the symptoms.

I’m going to share my natural tips to help you overcome your heartburn symptoms naturally. Of course, if symptoms last for a long time, or get worse, it’s probably a good idea to see your doctor.

Tip #1 – Foods to eat (and avoid)

You may notice that when you eat or drink certain things, you get heartburn soon afterward. These triggers may be different for everyone; but often include onions, garlic, chocolate, citrus, tomato, mint, spicy foods, greasy foods, coffee, carbonated drinks, or alcohol. If any of these affect you, cut them out for two weeks to see if it makes a difference.

Heartburn might also result from a sneaky food intolerance. I recommend gluten, dairy, and all processed foods also. Life without heartburn has been so much more productive for me.

Now, you may be wondering: “If I eliminate these foods/drinks, then what can I put in their place?”

Fiber! Try increasing fiber intake. Yes, this means more whole, unprocessed foods, especially veggies. In fact, sweet potatoes or red potatoes eaten with other root vegetables may be a great alternative if you suffer from heartburn. Try getting at least five servings of veggies every single day.

Tip #2 – How and when to eat?

First game-changing tip: Eat slowly and chew your food until it becomes cream in your mouth. Use meal times to release stress. Watch out for quantity and avoid eating elaborate meals or portions that are too big.

Wait – Wait to eat until your last meal is digested. That’s going anywhere from three to five hours (longer if you had an animal protein-centric meal). This was crucial for my recovery. Piling meal over meal before the prior one is digested can create heartburn.

Do not eat right before bedtime. You want to avoid lying down with a full stomach. We’re talking finishing eating at least 3 hours before lying down, so schedule your dinner with this in mind.


Tip #3 – Lifestyle techniques

If you suffer from a severe case of heartburn, then strenuous exercise can make your symptoms worse. If this happens to you, then focus on low-intensity activities like Yoga, Pilates, power walking or cycling.

If despite following my tips you are still experiencing symptoms as you’re lying down to sleep, try adding a pillow or two so your head is a bit higher than your stomach.

Another interesting tip is to try sleeping on your left side. Lying on your left side works because the valve that prevents the acid from “leaking” into your esophagus is located on the right side of the stomach. So, when you’re lying on your left, the acid is away from that valve.

In Summary:

Heartburn is a widespread condition where stomach acid creeps up into the esophagus (where it’s not supposed to be). If you are running a business or have very busy life, heartburn can and will interfere with your daily productivity and drain your energy.

Keeping your symptoms under control is possible. Experiment to determine the cause of your heartburn and consistently avoid the foods and drinks that exacerbate the problem. You can eat slower, chew more thoroughly, and don’t lie down within 2-3 hours of eating. Also, try low-intensity exercise and sleeping on your left side.

Try these simple, all-natural strategies. They can help prevent or relieve heartburn symptoms for you.


Also, here is one of my favorite anti-bloat super healthy recipes: Quinoa Bowl!


Warm Quinoa Bowl

[Serves 4]


2 cups quinoa, rinsed and soaked for 20 minutes

4 cups vegetable broth

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 shallots, chopped (or one extra clove of garlic)

1 small onion, chopped

1 bunch Swiss chard, cut into ribbons (or kale)

1 medium head broccoli, grated (can sub for Brussel’s Sprouts)

1 carrot, grated or cubed

1 large bunch sage, cut into ribbons (you can use basil)

Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

Coconut oil

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper

In a pot, combine quinoa, vegetable broth, garlic, and shallots.

Cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes until liquid is absorbed.

Lightly sauté the rest of the vegetables in coconut oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix with quinoa and drizzle with olive oil



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Posted in Blog, Health/Fitness by Mari Pizarro