Heart burn is that painful burning feeling you get in your chest or throat. It usually occurs whenever food from the stomach comes back up into the oesophagus (tube carrying food from the mouth into the stomach. This phenomenon is known as esophageal reflux
That burning sensation usually occurs because the refluxed food contains acid from the stomach. Thus, the oesophagus which lacks the ability to withstand acidic food feels hurt and pained.
The question that may comes to mind is ” What concerns esophagus with the heart? ”
Father nature placed the oesophagus very close to the heart around the breast bone. Thus, any pain form or around the oesophagus makes you feel the pain around the heart. In this case, heart feels like it’s burning. This pain is usually felt behind the breast bone, up into the throat. In more severe cases, it comes very close to the mouth.
Recall, you were taught in Secondary school that acid has a bitter taste. Thus, when this refluxed food get close to the mouth, you have this bitter taste in the mouth.
The reflux of stomach content is usually due to a defect in the lower esophageal sphincter which is a valve or barrier that helps prevent contents in the stomach from moving up into the esophagus.
One of the dangers of heart burn, apart from the discomfort felt, is that the oesophagus changes its surface texture, becomes thicker and narrower all in an attempt to adapt to harsh conditions it is subjected to.
Food and Drinks That Trigger Heart Burn
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This include oranges, grape fruits, lemons, tomatoes, vinegar (especially in salad dressings); increase the risk of experiencing heart burn especially when they are taken on an empty stomach or in large quantity.
This include garlic, peppers, onions, ginger etc.
I don’t need to give examples of fatty foods; you know them. Important thing to note is that fatty foods take longer lime to digest and as such increase the risk of having heart burn.
People who eat on the go usually eat junks, otherwise known as fast food. Such persons tend to eat fast, work while eating or immediately after eating. All these exponentially increases the risk of coming down with heart burn.
Eating too much Food
Filling the stomach up to capacity increases the strain on the lower oesophagus sphincter which is the valve preventing regurgitation or reflux of food up into the oesophagus. This in turn causes heart burn.
Coffee and Caffeine
Caffeine and coffee increase the production and secretion of acid in the stomach.
It relaxes and weakens the lower esophageal sphincter, causing reflux or regurgitation of food up into the oesophagus.
They easily cause bloating of the stomach, increasing the risk of experiencing heart burn.
Chocs usually contain caffeine and lots of fat. As a rule of thumb, avoid chocolates on empty stomach or immediately after a heavy meal.
Just like alcohol, they also relax or weaken the lower esophageal sphincter.
Health Compass is not asking you to totally avoid these foods and drinks like haram; but remember, moderation is the key.
Gradually cut down on these foods and see if it works for you. Never forget that, everyone is different. Thus, what may cause heart burn to Henry may not to Nelson.
Quick Tips for Heart Burn
- Chew Gum: Chewing gum helps increase the production and secretion of saliva which in turn neutralizes the acid in the stomach. It also signals the stomach to increase its rate of digestion, moving its content quickly into the small intestine. Remember, do not use peppermint gum.
- Do not go to Bed immediately after a meal. Do not rush to bed after eating. Rather, assume a relaxed posture and rest appropriately.