Four easy-to-find, cancer-fighting fruits and veggies

April 12, 2013 by

Reducing your risk for cancer can include a healthy diet, regular exercise and health screenings.

Get back to basics with these cancer-fighting fruit and vegetables, proven to help reduce your risk for different types of cancer. But first, learn what’s in fruits and veggies that fights cancer.


Phytochemicals. You might have seen the term, but what does it mean? Phytochemicals are plant chemicals responsible for color, odor and flavor, according to the American Cancer Institute.  They make up powerful antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables. These plant-based heroes can reduce inflammation, block carcinogens, repair cells, repair and prevent DNA damage and regulate hormones.

The ACI recommends making two-thirds of your plate fruits and vegetables. Doing so can help reduce the risk of mouth, lung, stomach, esophagus and throat cancer. Eating a variety of fruit and vegetables—not just one type—will reduce your risk of cancer.

Fruit and veggies

You can find all of these fruits and veggies at your local grocery store or farmer’s market:


These tasty treats are full of polyphenols, vitamin C and fiber. Polyphenols can help prevent inflammation in the body. Fiber reduces the risk of colorectal cancer. In addition, vitamin C reduces the risk of cancer of the esophagus . Go blueberritastic and eat some for breakfast, or add to yogurt, a smoothie, or cereal. Blueberries are also known to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.


A cruciferous (kroo-sif-er-uhs) vegetable, broccoli contains glucosinolates, beta-carotene, vitamin C, carotenoid, fiber and folate. Beta-carotene reduces the risk of cancer of the esophagus. Carotenoids reduce the risk of mouth, throat and lung cancer. And folate reduces the risk of pancreatic cancer. 


This pungent herb is not just used in vampire folklore. Researchers report a “dose response relationship” with garlic—the more you eat, the more you reduce your cancer risk. According to the ACI, compounds found within garlic help prevent or slow the formation of tumors related to colon, stomach, prostate and bladder cancer. Garlic also raises immunity and reduces blood pressure. Use garlic to enhance the flavor of foods. Add to pastas, shrimp, soups, fish or chicken.


Ah, the tomato. Lycopene, found in these red fruits, has been linked to reducing prostate, breast, lung and endometrial cancer (Cancer of the uterus). The ACI recommends processed forms that allow natural compounds to be released and absorbed easily. Include tomato sauce, paste or juice in your diet. Try making your own tomato sauce to reduce sodium.

Sources: American Cancer Institute, American Heart Association

Just sleep on it

April 5, 2013 by

Keeping up with work and families can leave you feeling stressed and fatigued. Tossing and turning in bed at night can also lead to sleep depravation.

Your body needs sleep to repair cells, restore mental and physical bodily functions and re-energize, according to the National Institutes of Health.

But if you’re like me, with a new baby, work, and daily errands, you don’t have much time for sleep.

Stop tossing and turning, and start sleeping.

Here are a  few sleep tips:

Get the sleep you need. Adults need eight hours of sleep, babies need about 16 hours, young children need 10, and teenagers need nine, according to the NIH. Lying in bed for two hours before falling asleep for five hours doesn’t count. Your body needs to go through four to five sleep cycles to ensure feeling rested. Not completing sleep cycles can leave you feeling fatigued, less focused, and delay your reflexes. Getting enough sleep also improves memory.

Make a commitment to sleeping. Electronic distractions, completing chores, or consuming caffeine or alcohol two hours before bed can make it hard to fall asleep and disturb your sleep cycles. Record your favorite shows to watch later, make your errand list in the morning, turn off your phone, and make sure to stop all caffeine or alcohol at least two hours before bed. No television in the bedroom. That  might seem like punishment, but a full night’s rest is worth the sacrifice.

Don’t rely on sleeping aids. Many over-the counter sleeping aids can leave you with a “medication hangover,” according to the Mayo Clinic. Ask your doctor before taking any over-the counter sleeping aids to make sure about drug interactions, drug sensitivity, or possible side effects. Sometimes, occasionally insomnia can be resolved with deep-relaxation techniques.

Get your body on a “wake and sleep” schedule. Try to wake-up and go to sleep at the same time everyday. Even on weekends. Getting your body to recognize a wake and sleep time will help you wake up energized, and fall asleep quickly.  Don’t set a reminder on your phone for bedtime. Instead, try to recognize your body’s cues: yawning, stretching or sighing.  And use a regular alarm located two arm lengths away for waking in the morning.

Exercise and diet. Believe it or not, what you eat and how much you exercise affects your sleep. A healthy diet and regular exercise keeps your body running optimally, reduces stress, and leaves you feeling energized. Keep you body fueled with lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetable and low-fat dairy. And aim for 30 minutes of exercise five times a week.

Sources: NIH, Mayo Clinic, National Sleep Foundation

Eating low-fat dairy can reduce heart disease, stroke

March 29, 2013 by

Recent studies have shown a diet including low-fat dairy foods can reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure and stroke.

Get the most of your dairy. Read these facts and follow these low-fat dairy eating tips:

The studies. A Swedish study reported that people who ate low-fat dairy foods had a 12 percent reduced risk of stroke than people who ate high-fat dairy foods. Stroke ranks fourth as the leading cause of death in America.

Another study conducted in Spain reported a 54 percent reduced risk of high blood pressure in respondents who reported eating higher amounts of low-fat dairy than those who reported eating lower amounts, according to WebMD’s. Know this: High blood pressure has been linked to heart attacks, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Other benefits. Vitamin D and calcium found in low-fat dairy help build strong bones. Low-fat dairy products contain proteins that help inhibit the development of high blood pressure. Switching to low-fat dairy decreases your daily intake of fat, which helps you maintain a healthy weight, helping to reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

Low-fat dairy foods

It’s easy to start including low-fat dairy foods in your diet. recommends at least three cups a day based on a 2,000-calorie plan.

Also, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Diet, or DASH diet, is designed to reduce high blood pressure, recommends two to three servings of low-fat dairy foods per day.

Two to 3 daily choices can include:

1 cup of low-fat milk (skim, fat-free, 1 percent, or soy)

1 cup of low-fat yogurt   1 ½ ounces of low-fat natural cheese, or 2 ounces of processed cheese

Daily dairy tips: 

Dress up your yogurt with granola to make a tasty snack.

Get energized in the morning or afternoon with a smoothie made with low-fat yogurt, low-fat milk and fresh or frozen fruits.

Add low-fat cheese to salads or soups and ask for dressing on the side.

Add low-fat milk to whole-grain cereal or oatmeal.

Make sure to ask for skim milk when ordering coffee.

Update on my ongoing get-fit-plan:

I am in the fourth week of trying to get back into my skinny jeans. So far, things are going well. But nothing is perfect. I have days where I want to eat and eat. These are days in which working out is the last thing on my mind.  But, I don’t beat myself up. I don’t think, “I can’t eat that!” I prefer to think: “I choose not to eat that.”

I have a sweet tooth. Having kids somehow gave me a sweet tooth. I don’t deprive myself. I allow myself small daily cheats like flavored creamer, low-fat cheese, and dark chocolate. I don’t eat all of them at once. Instead, I calculate what I need to do to burn off calories.

No weekend warrior. Being good during the week is hard enough. I consider healthy living a job with weekends off. I don’t go crazy, but I do have fun with my calories. And now that I am familiar with portion size and calorie content, I can still indulge without going overboard.

Things I’ve learned:

  • You have to adapt your eating plan as you lose weight.
  • You have to workout harder the more weight you lose.
  • Regular-portion sized food can be filling.
  • I prefer volume eating to calorie dense food.
  • Skinny jeans are not necessary, but an option. (But I have managed to fit back into mine.)

Next week, I’ll review my weight loss, overcoming a weight loss plateau, and losing body fat vs. losing weight.

Everyday healthy kid tips

March 19, 2013 by

Keeping kids healthy doesn’t require germ warfare. Instead, keep your little superheroes active, happy and healthy with smart, everyday healthy living.

Here are some great tips I use to minimize 3 a.m. fevers, never-ending runny and stuffy noses, where-did-that-come-from? rashes, and all-day-crabby-cranky personas.

Boost immunity. Unable to play outside without coughing and sneezing, I took steps to boost my daughter’s immunity. Kid multivitamins with extra Vitamin C, a serving of fruit at breakfast and lunch, fruits for snacks, and a serving of a vegetable at dinner can help keep the cold bug away. Colorful fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants and vitamins that help boost immunity. Stick with red, blue, orange, green and yellow fruits and veggies.

Ward off sick bugs and rashes. Hand washing can stop the spread of germs that cause colds, diarrhea, pink eye, and certain skin irritations. Implement hands washing after your tots use the restroom, and before eating. Keep sanitizer handy for on-the-go hand cleaning. You can fight flu viruses and bacteria with Omega 3 proteins found in fatty fish like salmon and herring. Kids not into eating fish? Opt for a kid omega 3 liquid supplement without added Vitamin A or D. Also, omega 3’s may help to reduce inflammatory substances that cause eczema, according to a report by the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Offer healthy meals. Childhood obesity has doubled in the past 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Healthy eating habits encourage a healthy lifestyle, reducing risk factors for disease. Offer whole grains, veggies, fruits, lean proteins and low-fat dairy. Save time and cook in bulk. A whole baked chicken can make two dinners. I mix it up with chicken breast and chicken tacos (wheat tortillas with low-fat cheese, spinach and tomatoes.) And snack time should be an event. Use fruits and veggies to make colorful presentations, and always let your “inventors” help. Eliminate or reduce foods high in fat, sugar and calories.

Keep it balanced. Believe it or not, kids can get stressed out.  Stress can lead to a lack of sleep, weight gain, and decrease immunity. Balance energy and mood with an active lifestyle and a healthy diet. My mini me keeps active with baseball, park playtime, and hip-hop dance classes. And a healthy diet balances her energy level. When it comes to kids dealing with stress, recommends kids keep their SELF in mind: sleep, exercise, leisure, and food. Helping your kids find a balance will help relieve stress, reducing risk for illness and disease.

Sources:, University of Maryland Medical Center,

Week two weight-loss journey

No, you didn’t miss a week. I started tracking calories and exercising last week.

My get-fit-plan had some hiccups due to my you-have-to-hold-me-now angel. So, I started using the Workout Trainer smartphone app to squeeze in morning and evening workouts. I made other changes as needed. To make things easy to understand, I updated my list:

  • Exercise 30 minutes four times a week with varied exercises: XBOX 360 Kinect Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012, running, walking and plyometric cardio workouts.


Four times a week, I workout for 30 minutes in the evening with Workout Trainer cardio and weight training assisted workouts. Monday to Friday I complete five minutes of arm and abs exercises in the morning, and walk to and from the 611 Walker administration building in lieu of taking the shuttle to the parking lot.

  • Eat three meals with two snacks, not exceeding 1,600 1,300 calories per day and focusing on fat burning foods including lean proteins, complex carbs and healthy fats. I adjusted calories to maximize weight loss. Everyone’s weight loss needs are different. Make sure to devise an eating plan tailored to your specific needs.
  • Typical day: One serving of flaxseed oatmeal, apple and coffee for breakfast. An orange and a low-fat yogurt for mid-morning snack. Salmon, steamed asparagus, and brown rice for lunch.  A banana for mid-afternoon snack. And baked chicken, a side salad and brown rice for dinner.
  • Drink water with meals. and snacks.
  • Track my calories with free android Lose It smartphone app. Seeing the amount of calories in food helps me to know how to balance meals, and increase weight loss.
  • Track water drinking with free android Water Your Body smartphone app. Although the app seemed simple enough, its not as interactive as I’d like. I just make sure to drink water with meals.

Starting weight: 130

Current weight: 122 (Yeah!)

I’ve lost a total of eight pounds; four pounds per week. This is not typical or average weight loss. Your weight loss will depend on your diet, activity level, and calories consumed and burned each day.

Age: Still 35

BMI: 26.3  24.4 (Healthy BMI 18.5 – 24.9)

Want to know my secret for including daily sweet indulges? Check in with me next week. I’ll also review how I change up my workouts and why. To my skinny jeans—get ready to be worn.

Always consult your doctor before beginning any weight loss or exercise program. A review of current health, medications, risk for chronic diseases, and nutritional needs is important to avoid injuries or illness. 

Boost your energy naturally

March 8, 2013 by

Staying energized is challenging. Quick-fix energy boosts like sugar and caffeine only end up giving you temporary boosts, with the inevitable “crash” once the energy has worn off. But you can fight fatigue, increase energy levels and curb hunger with nutrient- packed foods. Stop crashing and start balancing with these balanced and healthy goals and tips:

Energy-eating goals:

  • Balance your blood sugar level with foods that take longer to breakdown and release energy slowly.
  • Avoid sugary foods that cause spikes in blood sugar level that leave you tired and craving more sugar.
  • Balance meals and snacks with an equal amount of lean proteins and complex carbohydrates for a balanced release-and-storage of sugar.

Eat some carbs. Complex carbs such as fruit and vegetables are high in fiber, break down slowly, and provide a balanced and slow release of energy throughout the day. Apples, bananas, spinach and broccoli are good choices. Fiber makes you feel fuller longer, helping you to not overeat.

Load up on chia seeds. Packed with Omega 3’s and fiber, they offer a balanced release of energy. Mix some in with your juice, oatmeal, or yogurt. When wet, chia seeds form a gel like substance, helping to curb hunger at your next meal.  But, don’t go chia crazy. You could end up bloated and gassy from an overload of fiber. Buy your chia seeds from a reputable whole foods retailer and start “chia-ing.”

Go nutty. Cashews, almonds and hazelnuts are loaded with magnesium that aids the process of converting sugar into energy, according to WebMD. Although these nuts are loaded with healthy fats, they contain high amounts of calories. Limit yourself to one 1.5 ounce serving per day.

Don’t skip breakfast. Eating breakfast jumpstarts your metabolism. And people who eat breakfast are more likely to not overeat during the day.  Mix it up with a protein and a complex carb. Try eggs paired with fruit, low-fat yogurt with fruit, or a whey protein smoothie made with fruit.

Stay hydrated. Drinking water helps boost your metabolism keeping a continual conversion of food to energy. But eating nachos and gulping eight ounces of water won’t help. Try drinking water with healthy meals and snacks. Need help remembering to hydrate? There are many free apps for smartphones that remind you to drink water during the day.

Sources: WebMD, Mayo Clinic, the Nutrition Source

Follow my weight-loss journey

Becoming a new mom again took some getting used too. But it was well worth it. And now that my little angel is sleeping through the night, it’s time to start my get-fit-plan:

  • Exercise 30 minutes four times a week with varied exercises: XBOX 360 Kinect Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012, running, walking and plyometric cardio workouts.
  • Eat three meals with two snacks, not exceeding 1,600 calories per day and focusing on fat burning foods including lean proteins, complex carbs and healthy fats.
  • Drink water with meals and snacks.
  • Track my calories with free android Lose It smartphone app.
  • Track water drinking with free android Water Your Body smartphone app.
  • Lose 1 to 2 pounds per week.

Now I’m going to do something most women never do. Share my weight, age, and body mass index with you.

Starting weight: 130

Age: 35

BMI: 26.3 (Healthy BMI 18.5 – 24.9)

Look out for weekly updates on my weight loss, my eating habits, and challenges I face, including working, taking care of baby, and trying to get back into my favorite skinny jeans—all in the name of wellness.


Berry good heart health

March 1, 2013 by

A Harvard School of Public Health study concluded that women who ate three or more weekly servings of blueberries or strawberries had a 32 percent reduced risk of heart attack.

Researchers followed over 90,000 women ages 25 to 42 over an 18-year period.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women. It’s important to reduce risk early. Here are some tips on how to incorporate berries into a daily diet.

Go for red and blue. Put blueberries and strawberries on your grocery list. These berries carry the flavonoid anthocyanin, an organic compound linked to reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer and Parkinson’s disease.

Breakfast time. You can add blueberries or strawberries to a low-fat yogurt or shake, a granola or grain cereal, or pair them with egg whites, wheat toast and turkey bacon or sausage.

Berries are great snacking foods. Wash and pre-pack some for on-the-go snacking at home or work.  Pair them with low-fat cheese, almonds, pecans, or sunflower seeds.

Add berries to a grilled chicken, tuna or turkey salad. Pair it with a low-fat vinaigrette dressing. Always use a spoon to add dressing to salads; don’t pour from the bottle. Mix in some feta cheese, pecans, walnuts or raisins.

Generally, 1 cup is equal to one serving of fruit. Three servings a week is equal to 3 cups. Also, fresh fruit is best, but frozen fruit lasts longer.

Sources: the Nutrition Source, WebMD

How to make doctor visits patient-centered

February 22, 2013 by

Sick and coughing, my little superstar needed to go the doctor. The visit didn’t take long. A few questions, a quick look at her throat and a check of her breathing.

Possible pneumonia. The doctor prescribed two medications, explained dosing instructions along with tips for clearing her nasal passages, and ordered a chest X-ray.

“Any questions?” the doctor asked.

Not sure about dosing instructions, trying to remember the tips about clearing her nasal passages and certainly unsure about directions to the hospital for the X-ray, I said: “Yes, can you repeat all of that slowly?”

Doctors usually take the lead during appointments.  Information overload can be common during short doctor visits. Some people hesitate to interrupt or question physicians. But being silent can leave you with more questions than answers concerning your health.

To get the answers you need, and understand your diagnosis, it’s best to know how to approach your doctor visit.

Here are some tips to make doctor visits more patient-centered (about you) than physician-centered.

Plan ahead. Write down any questions you might have, and let your doctor know you have questions. In a national study, doctors waited 18 seconds before interrupting patients when they were speaking. So, don’t get discouraged if you get interrupted. Continue asking questions. And don’t wait to get started. Talking during an examination can save time. Don’t leave until you feel confident about your diagnosis, treatment plan, medication dosage and at-home-care instructions.

Let your doctor know how you’re feeling. Some doctors take an organic approach to medicine; they treat health problems identified with health screenings. Sometimes, underlying problems such as stress can be the culprit of health issues. Let your doctor know if you’re feeling stressed. He or she can refer you to additional resources to get you feeling better.

Be concise. With a limited amount of time available, it’s best to stick with your current health concerns and questions. On average, doctors spend about 15 minutes with their patients. Many doctors are under pressure to administer quality care in a specified time frame. Stay on topic and avoid nonrelated questions.

Think in terms of partnership. You and your doctor should both be involved in your health care. Ask yourself:

  • What will be my role?
  • How will I manage recommended care?
  • What will be my doctor’s role in my treatment?

Make sure to discuss how you feel about diagnosis, treatments, medications and therapies. It’s best that your doctor knows you are invested in your health care so he or she can be, too.

Women, fight hard against heart attacks

February 12, 2013 by

You’ve heard it, over and over.

Live a healthy life. Eat right. Exercise.

But, no one ever says you could die if you don’t.

According to the American Heart Association, someone’s wife, mother, daughter or sister dies from heart disease, stroke or other form of cardiovascular disease every minute.

Sound startling? It is.

Help reduce your risk for heart disease and heart attack. Get informed and start practicing heart-healthy habits. Here are some facts, tips, risk factors, and symptoms of heart attacks that I’ve compiled.

Heart disease, heart attacks

Heart disease is related to high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. But, coronary heart disease is responsible for heart attacks.

How do heart attacks happen? A build-up of plaque in arteries constricting blood flow to the heart can lead to heart attack or stroke.

Risk factors

  • High Cholesterol. Half of all women have high cholesterol.
  • High blood pressure. One third of women have high blood pressure.
  • Smoking. Some 18 percent of women smoke. People who smoke are two to six times more likely to suffer a heart attack than people who do not smoke.
  • Diabetes.
  • Physical inactivity, being overweight or obese.
  • Poor diet.

Heart attack symptoms

Women who experienced heart attacks reported feeling severely fatigued, experienced indigestion, shortness of breath, or sleep deprivation at least a month to a week before their heart attack, according to the Women’s Early Warning Symptoms of Acute Myocardial Infarction study.

In the same study, women described any chest pain they experienced as “aching, tightness, pressure, sharpness, burning or tingling.”

Here are some heart attack symptoms listed on WebMD:

  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Pain, discomfort, or pressure in the arm, chest, or below breastbone.
  • Radiating pain to the back, jaw, throat, or arm.
  • A feeling of fullness or indigestion, similar to heartburn.
  • Vomiting, dizziness, nausea, or sweating
  • Shortness of breath, weakness, or anxiety.

Reduce your risk

Changing your diet, getting regular exercise, and getting recommended health screenings can help reduce you risk for heart attack.

More tips from the AHA:

  • Walk 30 minutes everyday to reduce your risk of coronary heart disease by 50 percent.
  • Stop smoking to reduce your risk by half after one year.
  • Practice healthy food preparation and eat healthy meals and snacks.

Knowing your current risk will help you tailor a heart-healthy living plan specific to your needs. Set up a heart-health check up with your doctor. Here are some questions to ask at your visit listed on the NHLB website:

  • What is my risk of developing heart disease?
  • What is my current blood pressure?
  • What are my cholesterol numbers?
  • What is my blood sugar level?
  • What is my body mass index?
  • How much physical activity do I need each week?
  • What heart-healthy diet can you recommend?
  • What are some heart attack symptoms?

Visit the AHA website to find out your heart attack risk

How to get the junk out and the nutrition in

February 4, 2013 by

Feeling bloated, tired and stressed?

High-fat and high-calorie foods may be the culprit.. The good news: practicing healthy living can help you feel better. Follow these tips to gain more energy, to reduce stress and to improve overall health.

  • Exercise more. You’ll feel more energized, which will motivate you.  Get off the couch, and get moving.
  • Watch your diet. Reduce the fat and increase the lean. Aim for whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy. Speak with your doctor or a licensed nutritionist about calorie intake and portion control.
  • Drink more water. Increasing water intake will reduce bloating, stimulate digestion, and increase weight loss. Try adding lemon and orange slices to give your water a natural sweetened flavor. Eliminate soda. An average 12 oz. can of soda contains up to 40 grams of sugar, nearly exceeding the daily recommend amount based on a 2,000-calorie diet.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine. Too much alcohol and caffeine can interrupt sleeping patterns, making you feel more tired, which can increase your stress levels, and cause you to over eat. Stick with no more than one alcoholic drink a day for women and no more than two for men; limit caffeine to no more than 300 mg of caffeine per day (equal to about three 8 oz. cups of coffee.)

Putting out the flame

January 25, 2013 by

Oh, heartburn.

Burning in your chest, burping, or bloating of your stomach with a sour taste in your mouth.  Need relief?

If you’ve ever suffered from heartburn, its symptoms can be intense and make you regret those spicy tacos.

For some, heartburn can cause problems with sleeping, and lead to choking or coughing, according to WebMD.

But knowing what triggers heartburn and how to treat it can bring you relief.

What is heartburn?

Stomach acids flowing up into your esophagus and irritating it, thus causing a burning sensation is known as heartburn, according to WebMD.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, is a more severe and chronic occurrence of heartburn, with symptoms experienced on a daily basis, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It is commonly known as acid reflux disease.

When and why does it happen?

According to WebMD, “Mild heartburn occurs about once a month. Moderate heartburn occurs about once a week. Severe heartburn occurs every day.”

Typically, eating certain foods causes heartburn. These foods contribute to a build of stomach acids, which can result in heartburn.

Avoiding the burn

Don’t eat foods that give you heartburn. It sounds simple, right? But, avoiding foods that trigger heartburn is only half the battle.

Here are some common foods to avoid, as well as tips listed on WebMD that can help you prevent heartburn.

Foods to avoid:

  • Fatty foods
  • Fried foods
  • Sugars
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Peppermint
  • Coffee
  • Citrus fruits
  • Tomatoes
  • Spicy foods
  • Garlic
  • Onions

Everyday tips:

  • Eat smaller meals.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Don’t exercise on a full stomach.
  • Allow two hours for digestion before lying down.
  • Be aware of certain medications that may trigger heartburn.

Lose weight, reduce the burn

Excessive weight around your mid section can cause problems with your digestive system. Talk with your doctor about the benefits of weight loss for reducing heartburn occurrence 

Over-the-counter relief 

Despite your best efforts, heartburn still affects you. Over-the-counter antacids can help neutralize stomach acids and reduce symptoms. Talk with your doctor about using over- the-counter medication to relieve your heartburn.  If you suffer from GERD, its best to discuss treatment options with your doctor.