Napoleon tried to calm his terrible heartburn with champagne. Marcel Proust believed that ice-cream was the best cure for his, but only the massively overpriced one at the Ritz. Unfortunately for these two sorry sufferers, neither remedies worked.
Gastric juices, almost as corrosive as battery acid, are the culprits in this digestive tragedy. The dreadful discomfort is caused a faulty sphincter valve. This good for nothing piece of anatomy allows acid refluxes from the stomach to come straight up into the poor oesophagus, totally non-equipped for this acid visitor.
If these overflows only happen occasionally, because of some unusual excesses, relax! There is no cause for alarm. They might be extremely painful, but not life threatening. Before making a B line for the usual antacids, try some simple home remedies. According to an American study, the current medicines for gastric reflux, heartburn or ulcer, can be dangerous for the heart.
So, while waiting to see your GP, try some ancestral recipes to ease your sufferings.
Drink some water. A remarkable study shows that a glass of water is faster – it takes just 1 minute – and more efficient than any acid blocking drug, in making gastric pH more alkaline.
Take off your shoes, hold onto a chair, raise yourself on tiptoes, as high up as possible, then drop down on your heels in one go. Repeat this manoeuvre 20 to 30 times. If you are not at home, you can go to the bathroom or somewhere private to do this.
Eat a ripe banana, the top panacea for fragile stomachs. This exotic beauty stimulates the cells on the internal stomach lining to produce a thicker mucus that protects against acid.
Avoid greasy foods and too much sugar. Forget about alcohol, coffee and cigarettes, all far too aggressive. Chew every mouthful thoroughly and exercise regularly. If you plan to overdo it and if you don’t have an ulcer, mix 2 teaspoons of vinegar and 2 teaspoons of honey in a glass of water. Drink this magic potion before your banquet. The acid in your stomach will be neutralized by the acetic liquid.
For sensitive gastro-intestinal systems, soda bicarb – aka baking soda –is a fabulous antacid. Two hours after your meal, reach for the wonderful white powder, take half a teaspoon and dilute it in a glass of water, mix furiously, drink and wait a few minutes before singing alleluia.