Fasting, Indigestion and Heartburn
We already know the health benefits of fasting. It helps to:
☑️Regulate blood sugar
☑️Reset your metabolism
☑️Allow for your gut and body to heal
☑️Stimulate your immune system
What I would like to talk about in this post is how to avoid getting heartburn or indigestion after breaking your fast.
When we have indigestion, it means that food is not being fully digested in our stomach. This could lead to a feeling of fullness and discomfort after eating. We can also see belching, burping or even heartburn as a result.
Heartburn/reflux doesn't always present as a burning sensation behind the sternum. Sometimes it can be silent and the only sign is a constant clearing of the throat or a tightness in the chest or a bitter taste in the mouth. More often than not, heartburn is due to a LOW stomach rather than high stomach acid. Now I know what your thinking, "if I have low stomach acid, then why am I having heartburn?!". The answer lies in the fact that having low stomach acid doesn't mean having no stomach acid. The fluid is still acidic, just not acidic enough to digest the food well and not acidic enough to stimulate the lower esophageal sphincter to fully close (the sphincter that prevents fluid from regurgitating into your esophagus and up into your mouth). Though it is acidic enough to cause signs and symptoms.
Here are ways you can support your stomach and prevent heartburn:
✅Be present when your meal is being prepared (try to stay away from ordering take out). Watch and smell your food being prepared. This stimulates your mouth and stomach to make enzymes and acid to get ready for the incoming food rather than unexpectedly putting a lot of food in there without warning.
✅Don't drink a lot of water while you break your fast. This could dilute your stomach acid and worsen your ability to digest (though water intake an hour after breaking your fast is very important to not get dehydrated if you are observing Ramadan fasting)
✅Slow down your eating to allow your stomach to keep up and to send the proper signals to the brain. Enjoy the food!
✅Refrain from indulging on foods that can worsen heartburn (spicy food, dairy, oily foods, citrus fruits, peppermint, chocolate, caffiene...etc)
✅Take your digestive enzymes when you break your fast (this will help your stomach get a head start).
✅Apple cider vinegar at 1Tbsp diluted in a glass of water may help. However if there is a history of ulcers, or high acidity, then this might worsen heartburn.
There is no one magic pill when it comes to treating heartburn properly. It needs to be a holistic treatment approach involving diet and lifestyle!
As always, please consult with your naturopathic doctor for a personalized treatment plan