Heartburn? Reflux? What you need to know…

Heartburn1Food in your stomach is usually mixed with gastric acid & enzymes when digesting. Now, heartburn occurs when the gastric acid goes up your oesophagus causing irritation and the burning sensation. This is because your oesophagus lining cannot withstand the acid unlike your stomach. If you do suffer from that “fire in your chest” feeling or when undigested food comes up the other way, try to think of what you’ve consumed.

What triggers it?

    • Increased pressure on the stomach for example : during pregnancy, eating large amounts of food and fluid at the same time.
    • Increased acid secretion in the stomach and a slower rate of stomach emptying which is usually due to consuming large meals especially those high in fat & protein.
    • Consuming fat, alcohol, coffee & smoking can lead to the relaxation of the valve at the opening of the stomach . They also cause increased acid secretion in the stomach.
What to do? As a quick summary – Avoid fatty foods, caffeine, alcohol, chocolate, pepper.

The specifics
– Foods to avoid include the following:
  •  Full cream milk, cream, full fat yoghurts, chocolate milk, cheddar cheese, ice cream.
  • Fried or scrambeled eggs, fried or battered meats, bacon, sausages, salami, pepperoni, hot dogs.
  • French fries, potato crisps, gravy.
  • Spices such as chilli, curry, garlic, black pepper.
  • Patries & doughnuts.
  • Cola, coke, coffee, alcohol, cocoa.

Avoiding foods that are high in acid is also suggested at times and they include:

**Tomatoes, ketchup, tomato sauce, tomato juice

**Oranges, orange juice
**Lemons, lemon juice, lemonade
**Other citrus fruits-grapefruit, tangerines, clementines.
**Fruit juices-apple, peach, pear and many commercial juices.
**Vinegar, oil and vinegar salad dressing

Other useful tips to consider:

    • Sit up straight whilst eating. Also, don’t forget to eat slowly and chew foods properly
    • Avoid drinking fluids with meals. Try drinking at least ½ hour before or after meals.
    • Do not go to straight to bed after a meal. Have your meal 3 hours before bedtime.
    • Avoid smoking.

Talk to your doctor if you wish to consider using antacids.

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