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How to have a HEARTBURN-FREE CHRISTMAS; More than 7 million Brits suffer from regular heartburn, and with the festive season upon us, the extra indulgences are sure to make things worse. But it doesn't have to be that way.

What is heartburn? The name is confusing - of course, heartburn has nothing to do with your heart. It's actually caused by stomach acid leaking up into the throat, causing that burning sensation. 'Stomach acid is essential for a healthy digestive system to do its job, but when the valve at the entrance to the stomach fails to keep the acid in, it can lead to a nasty burning feeling,' explains Alan Moss, Chairman of Action Against Heartburn. 'The lining of the oesophagus (the tube that runs from your mouth to your tum) is made differently from our stomachs - it isn't designed to cope with acid - so that's why we get that feeling in our chests.' Your guide to managing the burn this Christmas e Lose the belly There isn't much that can't be blamed on carrying a few extra pounds, and heartburn is no different. 'If you have a lot weight around your stomach, can push the stomach acid up,' explains Alan. In the short term, try off huge portions and second helpings, because a full tummy will increase pressure on the valve that holds stomach acid in. Try eating protein-rich Christmassy foods, like prawns, turkey and salmon, that will make you feel full without being bloated.

of w this ca explai to lay helpin increa s protein pra wi withou Limit those festive indulgences Of course, you'll want to enjoy festive offerings, but try to limit your intake of high-fat foods like cheese, cream and fried treats. They take longer to digest, meaning your stomach empties more slowly, which may cause an attack. Fatty foods also stop the lower oesophagus from being able to tighten fully, meaning acid can leak upwards. Where possible, choose lower-fat alternatives, or indulge in very small quantities of fatty foods.

Sadly, you may have to skip the brandy butter and pigs in blankets!

Tipple in moderation By all means raise a toast, but go easy on the booze, as it can irritate the stomach lining. Red wine is a known trigger for heartburn sufferers, so you may wish to switch to another drink after a mulled wine. The high-fat content of creamy liqueurs means they're also off the menu, and fruity cocktails - already acidic - should be avoided. Your best bet is beer or a wine spritzer. Indulge in a drink or two, but be aware that a couple of drinks may affect your ability to make good food choices, and it also makes the oesophagus more sensitive to stomach acid.

Easy ways to reduce the symptoms ? Heartburn might be worse at night because gravity enables the acid to flow towards your throat. Sleep with your head propped up on pillows, or tuck a pillow under the mattress, or blocks under the bed head.

? Get moving after a meal. Stand up and do the dishes, or take a light walk - anything to kick your digestive system into gear. The longer you sit, the longer it takes your body to digest, meaning a heartburn attack is more likely.

? Stock upon heartburn remedies before Christmas Day. Over-thecounter treatments can often help, but don't rely on these month after month without seeing your GP to get checked out.

Heartburn and cancer: the frightening truth It might seem like a minor discomfort, but the truth is that long-term suffering in silence can cause cancer. 'If you have heartburn for a prolonged period, the exposure to the stomach acid can start to change the cells lining the oesophagus,' explains Alan.

'You can develop a condition called Barrett's Oesophagus where cells start to mutate and can become cancerous.' If have suffered ' The UK has the highes heartburn, incidence of oesophageal cancer in the world, and survival rates are just 18%, making it the sixth most common cause of cancer death in the UK. 'If you had persistent heartburn some years ago and the pain gradually stopped, it could be because of the changes in the cells protecting you from the heartburn pain,' says Alan. 'But you are still at risk from cancer and will need to get checked out.' you ever with persistent it's ALAN MOSS IS CHAIRMAN OF ACTION AGAINST HEARTBURN. VISIT ACTIONAGAINSTHEARTBURN.ORG.UK FOR MORE DETAILS.

changes you says at need If you have ever suffered with persistent heartburn, it's vital you talk to your GP.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Dec 10, 2017
Words:718
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