There are some foods that are almost always problematic when it comes to heartburn. The best strategy to prevent heartburn is to avoid these type of foods. Learn more about the top 10 foods that may just trigger your heartburn.
Affecting around 60 million Americans, heartburn is not a disease on its own, but is usually a symptom of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) or acid reflux. Heartburn is described as a burning pain just behind your breastbone which gets worse when you bend over or lie down. There is no need to be alarmed if you experience heartburn occasionally, however, when it is frequent and greatly reduces your quality of life, it may be a symptom of a serious medical condition. You may experience heartburn several times after eating certain foods and drinking specific beverages.
Heartburn is usually characterized by a burning pain in your chest that typically occurs after eating. It is advised that you seek medical attention immediately if you experience severe chest pain along with heartburn, as this may be a sign of a heart attack. Heartburn is caused when the acids in the stomach flow back into your esophagus, which is the tube that is responsible for carrying the food from the mouth to your stomach. Several ‘over-the-counter’ medications are known to relieve your heartburn including antacids, proton pump inhibitors, and H2RAs. Lifestyle changes can also help ease your heartburn, like maintaining your weight, avoiding late meals and smoking, and not lying down after your meal. Stress and anxiety can have an adverse effect on your heartburn by worsening the symptoms. Several alternative treatment methods like aromatherapy, hypnosis, relaxation techniques, and massage can help cope with heartburn by reducing your anxiety and stress.
There are certain specific foods and drinks like onions, citrus products, and spicy foods, which can trigger your heartburn. In fact, any type of food that increases the acid in the stomach can lead to heartburn. According to a survey conducted by the National Heartburn Alliance (NHBA), around 92 percent of people suffering from frequent heartburn pointed to food as the primary cause of their discomfort. So, if you want to prevent heartburn, avoid eating the foods that act as triggers. There are different food triggers for different people, however, the top 10 foods that are known to trigger heartburn are:
It is true that tomatoes are packed with healthy nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, phosphorus, and lycopene. However, they must be avoided when you are suffering from heartburn because they are also acidic. Dr. Robynne Chutkan, a gastroenterologist at the Georgetown Hospital in Washington, says, “Tomatoes are also highly acidic and likely to cause heartburn in those who are prone to it”.
Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits are considered to be classic heartburn foods. Because of the higher concentration of acids in these fruits, they may trigger an episode of heartburn in you. Dr. Chutkan says, “These are very acidic. As a result of being so acidic, they are likely to cause heartburn, especially when consumed on an otherwise empty stomach”.
Chocolate has a high concentration of fat, cocoa, and caffeine, all of which are known to cause reflux. This is a bad news if you are a chocolate lover because if you are prone to heartburn, you must avoid eating chocolates. You may argue that dark chocolate is healthier than milk chocolate – and this is true. However, when you are suffering from heartburn, all kinds of chocolate is bad for you.
Any type of food that is loaded with chili and pepper like Mexican food must be avoided when you have a history of frequent heartburn. An assistant professor at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, Dr. Vasudevan, says, “Avoiding heartburn isn’t necessarily a matter of all or nothing. If spicy foods trigger your heartburn, avoid it. Then slowly reintroduce milder versions of whatever you like”.
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