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How to Fight Heartburn

1 18 May 2023

That burning sensation in the center of your chest – it’s an awful feeling! Unfortunately, heartburn (also known as acid indigestion or gastroesophageal reflux) is also pretty common. Want to feel better? Here are some steps to take in the moment and ways to prevent it from happening again.

What Causes Heartburn?

Heartburn occurs when acidic digestive juices in your stomach splash up into your esophagus, the passageway between your throat and stomach. Your stomach has a special lining that protects it from those acids, but your esophagus doesn’t. That can cause an uncomfortable burning sensation in your chest, and possibly a sour taste in your mouth.

In some people, this happens because the valve between the esophagus and stomach (called the lower esophageal sphincter) isn’t working properly. Normally that valve seals shut after opening. But it can become relaxed and not close tightly, letting juices escape your stomach and seep up into the esophagus.

Are Some People More Prone to Heartburn?

Yes. A few things can cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax. Those include being overweight or obese, smoking, and being pregnant (because of hormonal changes). Having a hiatal hernia also puts you at greater risk for heartburn. Some medications up your odds too, like NSAIDs, some asthma medicines, calcium channel blockers, and tricyclic antidepressants.

Which Foods Make Heartburn Worse?

Some foods and drinks trigger more of those acidic juices to form. These include caffeine and carbonated drinks, alcohol, spicy or greasy foods, chocolate, mint, tomatoes and tomato products, and citrus fruits.

What Can I Do to Prevent Heartburn?

If you’re experiencing heartburn, there are a few things to try:

  • Avoid overeating. Instead, eat smaller, more frequent meals (every 2-3 ho

Best Foods To Prevent Constipation

1 18 May 2023

Constipation can make you feel sluggish, weighed down, and cranky. Most people only experience it from time to time, but it can become chronic for others. It’s also more likely to happen as you age.

Wondering whether you’re constipated? The red flags include fewer than three bowel movements a week and hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass.

When you’re constipated, a good first step is making changes to your diet. What you eat can have a major impact on how smoothly your digestive system runs -- especially how much fiber you get. Fiber is a carbohydrate that naturally helps keep you regular, but most adults only get about half the amount they need every day.

Women should get 22-25 grams of fiber a day, men 28-31, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. You don’t need to count every gram. Instead, seek out foods that are high in fiber and swap them in for lower-fiber foods.

These 10 foods are all rich in fiber (plus other nutrients that are good for health), so try to add them into your meals and snacks:

  1. Pears: They’re one of the highest-fiber fruits, with 6 grams per medium pear. Keep the peel on for maximum fiber.
  2. Oats: All varieties (whether old-fashioned, instant, or steel-cut) are whole grain and rich in fiber. Each cup of cooked oatmeal has 4 grams of fiber. If you top your bowl with fresh or frozen fruit, you’ll get even more.
  3. Potatoes: French fries aside, potatoes are nutritious, packing a surprising amount of vitamin C plus 3 grams of fiber per medium spud. Eat the skin to get all of it.
  4. Flaxseed and chia seeds: Sprinkle these seeds into oatmeal, smoothies, and eve

Myths and Facts About Going Gluten-Free

1 18 May 2023

uten gives pizza crust that signature stretch and bread a satisfying chew. But it’s also demonized by dieters and woefully misunderstood. These days, people falsely use “I’m cutting out gluten” as shorthand for “I’m eating healthy.” Here are some of the biggest myths and facts around gluten, so you can figure out what’s right for you.

Myth: Cutting out gluten means cutting out carbs.

Fact: Not all carbohydrates contain gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and related grains like spelt and farro. Many other grain foods such as rice, oats, and quinoa are naturally gluten-free. Carbohydrate-rich foods like fruit, plain yogurt, and vegetables like potatoes and corn don’t naturally contain gluten either.

Myth: Everyone should cut out gluten.

Fact: Cutting out gluten permanently is necessary for people with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes damage to the walls of the small intestines when you eat gluten. Celiac may trigger symptoms like diarrhea and gas. It can also be totally asymptomatic. The damage interferes with your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food, which means it can lead to conditions like anemia, osteoporosis, and diabetes if left untreated. Your risk for celiac is higher if you have a family history. It’s more common among people with European heritage, though anyone can get it.

Myth: Gluten-free products are healthier.

Fact: It’s helpful that specially made gluten-free products are now widely available. But just because something is labeled “gluten free” doesn’t mean it’s wholesome and nourishing. It’s sometimes used as a marketing gimmick, like when it’s used for soda and corn chips. Gluten-free grain products like

What You Should Know About Lactose Intolerance

1 18 May 2023

If you’ve ever doubled over in pain after eating ice cream or high-tailed it to the bathroom after drinking milk, you may have lactose intolerance. That happens when your body can’t digest dairy products properly -- and you end up in a world of hurt.

Lactose is a natural sugar found in milk and milk products. Normally, after you eat or drink something that has it, an enzyme in your intestine called lactase breaks it down. But people with lactose intolerance don’t make enough of this enzyme. So the undigested lactose ends up in the colon, where bacteria start to ferment it. That process can be very uncomfortable, causing symptoms like bloating, gas, pain, nausea, and diarrhea.

Here are some other things you should know about lactose intolerance:

Fact: Lactose intolerance is not a milk allergy.

Food allergies, like a milk or peanut allergy, are autoimmune conditions. People with a milk allergy can’t have any milk or milk-containing products. Reactions can be severe and even fatal. If you have lactose intolerance, it means your body has a hard time digesting lactose -- and while you may have painful and disruptive symptoms, it’s not life-threatening.

Fact: Some people are more likely to have it.

Natural levels of lactase decline as we age, so lactose intolerance may crop up as you get older. There also seems to be a genetic component. Some populations tend to have higher rates of it too, including Asian Americans, African Americans, and Mexican Americans.

Fact: Lactose intolerance can be diagnosed.

Get rid of all dairy products for a few weeks to see if your symptoms improve. For a more definitive answer, talk to your do