Heartburn is fairly common, and instead of waiting until it attacks your system and you're forced to invest in costly medications, take advantage of these useful tips to help prevent those gut-wrenching pains.

Cut Back on the Caffeine

Today's society runs on caffeine, which could be a contributing factor to the high number of people who suffer the searing pains of heartburn. From coffee to energy drinks that give us the extra boost we think gets us through the day, research has proven that caffeine is the most widely used drug in America. High consumption can cause an increase in the amount of acid your stomach secretes. The overload is forced upwards, which of course is terrible for your esophagus and can lead to the development of heartburn. In order to reduce your risk of heartburn from caffeine, control your caffeine levels by cutting back on unnecessary pleasures like coffee, soda, tea and, chocolate. Some dietary supplements also have a high concentration of caffeine, so read the labels before you begin using them, as well.

Watch Your Weight

Another major health hazard that can potentially lead to heartburn is how much you weigh. Being overweight or obese can contribute to many health issues. It's possible for your body to overproduce stomach acid and the pressure your body puts on it may come to be so strong that it causes you to develop acid reflux disease, deteriorating your health one day at a time.

Investing in a gym membership can help you shed some extra pounds and reduce your risk of heartburn. Working out is a great way to get in shape and, in turn, increase your lifespan allowing you to live a longer and happier life.

Improve Your Eating Habits

Instead of sitting down to a large breakfast, lunch or dinner, cut back on the amount of food you consume during each meal. Start eating four to six smaller meals each day. Eating too much food in one sitting slows your digestive system and can lead to excess stomach acid that may get forced up your esophagus, causing a burning discomfort shortly after your meal. Eating smaller meals is also beneficial when watching your weight.

Extinguish Your Smoking Habit

Although it's definitely easier said than done, you should cut back on your smoking habits gradually until you no longer rely on that toxic drag to calm your nerves throughout the day. Cigarettes are loaded with chemicals, toxins that may eventually be the cause of your downfall. These chemicals are known to speed up the body's production of stomach acid, causing excess amounts that are sure to leave you with the long-lasting pains of heartburn.

Smoking not only increases the speed at which stomach acid is produced. The toxins packed into cigarettes also get mixed in with your stomach acid, making your stomach acid actually hazardous to your health. In addition, this dangerous concoction also endangers your digestive system by slowing down the pace at which your body digests the food you consume.

Don't Become an Alcoholic

Alcohol can actually make heartburn worse. Alcohol makes your esophagus more sensitive to stomach acid, in turn actually making a case of heartburn even worse. It's usually best to drink in moderation; or if you suspect possible heartburn, avoid drinking altogether.

Say Good-Bye to the Belt

Constricting your stomach by wearing a belt too tightly can actually cause stomach acid to rise up into your esophagus. As mentioned earlier, it's best to eat small meals throughout the day; but when you know you'll be consuming foods in large quantities, be prepared by wearing comfortable pants to accommodate your slightly expanded stomach. Of course, you don't have to rule out belts completely, but pants with elastic waistbands fit best. If you're going to a family dinner, use the event as an excuse to go clothes shopping. After all, spending money is one of our favorite pastimes, and looking good is always a plus!

These are just some of the ways you can prevent heartburn and better your health at the same time. For further advice on how to avoid heartburn, consult your family doctor.

Rose Boettinger provides PR assistance in the blogging community for Women's Workout And Wellness. Chicagoland women should visit W3Body.com for a free 5 day guest pass to any of W3's nine area locations.