Scale back.

Weight loss
Obese women are nearly three times more likely than those at a healthy weight to have heartburn, and losing weight can reduce a woman’s risk of heartburn by as much as 40%, according to the long-running Nurses’ Health Study. Researchers aren’t sure exactly why shedding pounds helps, but they surmise it’s because extra fat around your middle increases pressure on the stomach and forces acid up into the esophagus. Extra weight can also impair the body’s ability to empty the stomach quickly.

Chew gum.

Sticks of chewing gum

Several studies show that chewing gum can quell heartburn, likely because it boosts production of saliva, which neutralizes stomach acid. But if peppermint is one of your triggers, avoid mint-flavored gum. And for even more relief, try Chooz, a brand of gum that contains an antacid. Not a gum chewer? Try sucking on hard candy instead.

Relax already!

Relax with yoga
 Stress doesn’t cause heartburn, but “it increases the sensitivity of the esophagus and the sphincter muscle, so less acid is needed to trigger symptoms,” says Ganjhu. Exercise is a great stress-buster, plus it may have the added benefit of leading to weight loss. In one study, 30 minutes of exercise once or more a week reduced the risk of reflux by half. Stick with low-impact moves (vigorous running or cardio classes where you bounce a lot can trigger heartburn), and try not to eat for at least an hour before or after your workout.

Raise the head of your bed.

 The acid that’s supposed to stay in your stomach is more likely to escape into your esophagus, causing heartburn, when you lie down or bend over. That’s why it’s a good idea to nix late dinners, so you can remain upright for 3 hours after eating. For added insurance, elevate the head of your bed 4 to 6 inches—that way gravity can do its job to help prevent acid from creeping up where it doesn’t belong. Using a wedge pillow can create a similar effect. You can also try sleeping on your left side; some studies show this helps with digestion and speeds the removal of acid from your stomach.

Take some deep breaths.

Deep breathing technique
 Research published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that you might be able to breathe away the burn. In the study, adults with mild GERD were instructed to simply breathe in and out more deeply and slowly. After performing the exercises daily for 30 minutes, the amount of acid reaching their esophagus dropped, as did heartburn symptoms. Though the study was small, experts say the strategy is worth a try.

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