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What Behaviors Can Trigger Heartburn?

From your eating habits to your clothing choices, here are the most common culprits.

Everyone has rituals—from enjoying their morning coffee to snacking in the midst of a busy day—and most are harmless. There are, however, a few daily habits that could be contributing to your heartburn.

Eating Habits

If you’ve ever had a large meal or eaten too fast, there’s a good chance you experienced heartburn afterwards. This occurs because you added too much food, too quickly, so your stomach had to work overtime to process it.

It's healthier to have three small meals a day that are supplemented by healthy snacks whenever you feel hunger coming on. You won't get too full, which will prevent your stomach from overproducing the acid that causes heartburn.1

It’s also important to eat slowly. Remember to put your fork and knife down between bites, and to chew your food 20 times before swallowing.2 Lastly, avoid eating too close to your bedtime.3

General Habits

Your general behaviors also can cause heartburn. After eating, avoid lying down flat, so as not to put pressure on the stomach and increase your chances for reflux. Wait two to three hours after eating before going to bed.

It’s also important to avoid working out after a meal, so the contents of your stomach aren’t bouncing around during an exercise routine. After you’ve eaten, wait 30 minutes to one hour before exercising.

Clothing Choices

Wearing clothing or belts that are too tight around the abdomen can put constant pressure on your stomach. When pressure builds, acid has no place to go but up and out. An easy fix, without costing you a dime, is to loosen your belt a notch or two.

Show References

Hide References

  1. Magee, Elaine. “11 Meal Planning Tips to Prevent Heartburn.” Edited by Matthew Hoffman,WebMD, WebMD, 4 Aug. 2008, www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/features/11-meal-planning-tips-prevent-heartburn#1.
  2. “Eating Food Too Fast Speeds Heartburn.” WebMD, WebMD, 2003, www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/news/20030523/eating-food-too-fast-speeds-heartburn.
  3. “Heartburn Lifestyle and Home Remedies.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 7 Aug. 2014, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heartburn/basics/lifestyle-home-remedies/con-20019545.

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