Is Anxiety Giving You Heartburn?

Manage stress to relieve stomach discomfort

Native Remedies

Modern day life often compromises systemic health, mainly due to poor stress management and anxiety. Now stress is considered America's #1 health problem.

A study performed by the American Psychological Association in September 2007 found that stress was a fact of life (79 percent of people agreed). However, according to survey responses, Americans routinely experience what they believe are higher than healthy levels of stress.

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It is commonly known that anxiety and stress can lead to or aggravate gastrointestinal disorders, so it makes sense that a connection exists between stress, anxiety and stomach disorders like GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) or acid reflux disease.

Sometimes everyday life can interfere with cues the body sends to acknowledge its essential needs. When the realization is finally made that an imbalance exists, it has already taken the form of an ailment and subsequent symptoms that require prompt attention.

One-third of people in the U.S. regularly report experiencing extreme levels of stress (32 percent), and nearly one in six (17 percent) report that they experienced their highest level of stress 15 or more days per month. Even more alarming, nearly half of Americans (48 percent) believe that their stress has increased over the past five years.

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A similar increase has been observed in the number of people reported to be suffering from gastrointestinal disorders as well as obesity. There is an obvious link between the two, and the culprits are most likely stress and anxiety.

Acid reflux aggravated by anxiety and stress needs to be taken very seriously, since excessive acid in the esophagus for a prolonged period of time can increase the risk of esophagus cancer.

Foods that can cause heartburn and worsen any pre-existing symptoms of GERD mainly consist of fried and spicy foods. Tobacco is also known to cause heartburn and indigestion and should be avoided as well.

Common foods that aggravate symptoms include:

  • Citrus
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine, soda and alcohol
  • Fatty and fried foods
  • Garlic and onions
  • Mint flavoring
  • Spicy foods
  • Tomato-based foods, such as spaghetti sauce, chilli, and pizza

If symptoms of GERD are caused by overindulgence, then this habit must be addressed. Overfilling the stomach's capacity will push stomach acids up the esophagus- thus causing heartburn. Most people resort to over-the counter-medication to treat their symptoms, but some OTC medications can have the opposite effect and lead to dependence, so they must be taken with caution. Certain medications for heartburn also cause problems, depleting the body's sources of essential vitamins and minerals, leading to further problems down the road.

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There are many natural ways to help alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety that can be contributing to heartburn. Dietary modifications and exercise should be the first attempt to address the condition, especially if weight is an issue. Getting sufficient sunshine, eating a wholesome diet, and sticking to an exercise routine will work wonders to relieve pent-up stress. A daily walk after work is ideal for this purpose. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and meditation can also be used to support emotional and nervous system health and facilitate digestive balance and harmony.

And of course- don't forget to use natural remedies such as plants and herbs that promote nervous system balance, healthy digestion and balanced levels of acid in the stomach.

Fennel, for example, can be eaten in salads and is a natural digestive. The juice of one lemon mixed with warm water is a natural liver tonic and is especially beneficial when taken first thing in the morning. Ginger root relieves nervous tension, nausea, and is a natural digestive. Ginger tea before or after a meal is an excellent way of promoting healthy digestion. Finally, chamomile and mint have been used for thousands of years to soothe the nerves and support the digestive tract.

Tips and lifestyle changes to reduce stress, anxiety and heartburn include:

  • Stop smoking naturally.
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid foods and beverages that aggrevate symptoms.
  • If you are overweight, lose weight in a healthy and natural way.
  • Eat small, frequent meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Drink cultured milk. Cultured beverages soothe the entire digestive tract.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes.
  • Avoid lying down for 3 hours after a meal.
  • Prop your head up with pillows at night.


"I have been running a very stressful business (advertising!) for 6 years now and got caught up in the whole clubbing scene and all the vices that accompany that type of lifestyle. The combination of work stress and partying hard took its toll. I was a mess and felt like I needed to take stock of my life. My prayers were answered with non-addictive herbal remedies like MindSoothe and PureCalm that acted like shock-absorbers, giving me the time I needed to recover and learn to cope with life's ups and downs using my own common sense - a big thank you for showing me the way and bringing my life into a sphere of peace and self management. Incredible!" - WG, Cape Town, South Africa

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"Thanks to your sound advice and superb products; every meal is a pleasure for me. I have recommended Gastronic Dr. to a girlfriend and she says she's already feeling results!" - Sidney

"Not only has this remedy helped me with a good night's sleep every night, but it has also helped me feel much more positive. I can't tell you what a difference this has made to my life... after going through a really bad year. I will always be grateful for your help." - S.C

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