Have you ever felt a burning sensation that suddenly renders you in such pain? If you have experienced it just under your breastbone which stretches up to your throat while creating a sour taste in your mouth then you are likely suffering from Heartburn.
You might say that heartbreak is incomparably painful but Heartburn is a bigger concern because it may develop into a more serious health condition. But how much do you know about heartburn? You might be thinking about what causes it and how can you avoid it? This is a health guide that will help you take an inside look and learn all the important facts you need to know!
Whenever you feel a slight hiccup or a familiar pain under your breastbone, followed by a burning sensation all over your chest which then stretches towards your throat – these are all symptoms that you may experience when suffering heartburn. Sometimes it is called indigestion which can also spread to your jaw, neck and even arms. You may agonize from it for a few minutes or worse, stick with you for hours. It is undeniably uncomfortable and very common as millions of people can be subjected to this kind of unpleasant feeling.
The burning sensation is formed due to stomach acid reflux which goes back up into the esophagus. That is why, most of the time, the main culprit is your food. How? When you look inside your body and locate the “Lower Esophageal Sphincter” (LES), you’ll find a muscle at the bottom of your esophagus which primarily relaxes and opens up in order to allow the food we eat and the drinks to flow down into your stomach. When we swallow a mouthful of food, that particular muscle relaxes but tightens up again after swallowing. However, the key point here is when your LES relaxes or opens too much you may experience reflux because it supposedly needs to be closed again. Why? It is to prevent the stomach acids to slide up into the esophagus so that is why you tend to experience bitter or sour taste together with the burning feeling. As such, pressure on the stomach can cause you to experience heartburn.
What triggers it? Here is a list of what can cause you to feel painful burning.
It is important to watch what you eat because there are some foods that highly contribute additional acid which more likely subject you to heartburn. So stay away from spicy, fatty and greasy foods. Try also to avoid or minimize your consumption of tomatoes, garlic, peppermint, onions, chocolates and citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit that may have caused you acid reflux. You have to eat more fiber so you can keep your digestive system healthy. Reduce your portion of food. Instead of big meals, you can try eating four or five smaller meals - as long as you are not overeating. If you can have a balanced and proper diet, then you may lessen your chances of experiencing heartburn.
- Drinks that may cause acid reflux.
Some beverages can also trigger heartburn. There are people who tend to acquire acid reflux symptoms from coffee, sodas, tea, tomato juice and orange juice.
- Lying down after you eat.
It is important to eat slowly and take smaller bites. After eating, you must NOT lie down because it may cause your food to crank up or float rather than to smoothly go down to your stomach as it should be. Also, you must watch out for the time you are going to eat for dinner. Allot at least two to three hours to be your time allowance between the time you ate and before you go to bed. It for the reason ofgiving your stomach a chance to be empty before you lie down and sleep; that way, you can also prevent nighttime heartburn. In case you experience it, raise your bed so that your head will be tilted for about 6 inches or place a wedge pillow under your upper body. Another thing to keep in mind is to refrain yourself from always lying on your left side which can cause reflux to occur frequently rather than sleeping on your right side.
- Being under stress.
Alcohol and smoking are a few of the things people tend to use as a diversion from stress. Though we all know for a fact how dangerous these two are to our health, did you know that they can also trigger heartburn?
How to Handle Heartburn?
Anyone is at risk because no single person is exempted from experiencing heartburn. Overweight, smokers and even pregnant women can be subject to it and these three actually have a higher risk of heartburn. So what can you to when heartburn strikes?
- Stand up straight and elevate your upper body. Upright posture may put less pressure on your LES.
- Lose weight, have a proper diet and take time to exercise regularly.
- Wear loose clothes (though belts can be a cause to create pressure at your abdomen so try to loose belts too)
- Stay away from cigarettes and alcohol.
- Refrain yourself from snacking at bedtime.
- Keep a nutritional diary wherein you can write down the foods you eat and be able to pinpoint which ones may cause you heartburn symptoms.
If you want to know the food or specific ingredients that are a great help to avoid heartburn, here’s a list that can make your body into heartburn-free!
- Leafy salad
- Chicken and Turkey
- Seafood (though they should be either baked, sautéed or grilled – NOT fried)
- Celery and Parsley
- Other greens like cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, and asparagus
- Couscous and bulgur wheat
These outstanding food or ingredients can help you prevent the build-up of acid reflux thus fewer chances of the burning pain or be able to entirely avoid the heartburn!
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