Have you ever experienced difficulty in swallowing or felt a burning sensation on the upper part of the belly just behind the rib cage? This is called heartburn and it happens when the stomach is full of acid. When there is too much acid in the stomach, it rises up to the esophagus, causing the burning sensation on the chest.
Some people think it is a sign of a heart attack but it has nothing to do with the heart. Heartburn is not a serious condition but when it persistently continues for weeks, it may develop into gastroesophageal reflux disease.
What Are the Causes of Heartburn?
Heartburn can be caused by overeating resulting in a full stomach. Because there is barely room left in the stomach, food tends to go up the esophagus. The result is a burning sensation behind the chest and difficulty in swallowing. Smoking, lack of sleep, and stress can result in the production of stomach acid that can lead to heartburn.
Pregnant women are also prone to heartburn. Severe heartburn can be a sign of GERD, which requires medical attention to prevent it from becoming serious and threatening to your overall health. GERD may also signal the presence of an underlying disease.
How Do You Know That You Are Suffering From Heartburn?
The symptoms of heartburn are pretty obvious. This includes a burning sensation in the chest or middle of the chest and the throat, a pain that starts from the chest and reaches your jaw, and a burning pain as if you are suffering from indigestion.
Others may notice a sour or bitter taste on their mouths accompanied by a foul smell. Once these symptoms become persistent, consulting a gut medicine specialist or gastroenterologist is highly recommended.
What Must You Eat To Prevent Heartburn?
There are diets that have been designed to prevent the overproduction of stomach acid. However, there are foods that are known to prevent heartburn. Include vegetables in your diet. They do not contain fats and they can keep you healthy.
You cannot remove fats from your diet completely. However, stick to healthy fats that can be found in nuts, flaxseed, sunflower oil, olive oil, and sesame oil. If you love fruits, stick to those that are not sour and not too sweet.
Avocado is known to contain healthy fats that can replenish the number of fats needed by your body without resorting to trans fats and saturated fats. Have plenty of lean meat and seafood. Eggs are also recommended as long as you eat the whites.
For more fiber in your diet, eat oats at breakfast instead of bread or processed foods. Ginger has also been proven for its anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, it is listed as one of the natural cures for heartburn. You can make a ginger tea or you can add a slice to your smoothies.
How Can You Avoid Heartburn?
Heartburn must be avoided to prevent the development of more serious diseases. One way of doing this is by changing some of your eating habits and lifestyles.
Avoid ingesting too much fat by limiting your consumption of drinks and foods that can trigger stomach acid production. These include milk, caffeine, alcoholic beverages, ice cream, soft drinks, acidic fruits and vegetables such as tomato, orange juice, lemon, and other fresh products that are sour.
As much as possible, limit your intake of foods that can cause intestinal gas. Beans and lentils, some vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and sprouts are known to be gassy foods.
If you are fond of fruits, go for those that are not very sweet. Fruits high on natural sugar called fructose and natural sugar in milk called lactose can be eaten but in limited amounts.
You also need to make some changes in your lifestyle and habits. Make sure to sit upright when you are eating so that food can smoothly move from your mouth to your esophagus and to your stomach.
Avoid lying down after eating a hearty meal or lifting heavy objects because these can cause heartburn. Keep a healthy weight and stay fit by exercising regularly.
It is essential to take precautions against heartburn by making changes in the food that you eat, your habits, and your lifestyle. Although it is not a serious illness, it can develop into more serious conditions that can threaten your health and your life.