Heartburn pain: Including too much of this food in your diet could trigger symptoms2020-03-20
Heartburn is a burning sensation felt in the chest and is often accompanied with a bitter taste in the throat and mouth. The symptoms of heartburn may get worse after a large meal is consumed or when a person lies down. Symptoms of heartburn often go away eventually and are no cause for alarm. However, sometimes the symptoms of heartburn could be a sign of a more serious medical condition.
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With Easter around the corner and the risk of overindulgence and subsequent heartburn being a worry how can one reduce their heartburn?
Leading nutritionist Lily Soutter spoke exclusively with Express.co.uk to discuss why certain foods trigger heartburn symptoms more than others, what exactly happens in the body when one is going through heartburn and how do you know if the burn may be a sign of something more sinister?
Easter means chocolate and sadly for chocolate lovers, the delicious treat seems to be one of the biggest causes of heartburn.
Lily explains why and said: “Due to the high content of theobromine found in chocolate, this may relax the lower oesophageal sphincter allowing stomach acid to escape into the oesophagus resulting in heartburn.
“Most people love chocolate, but it can be a trigger for heartburn.
“If you are a chocolate lover, try grating a small amount of dark chocolate over low fat yoghurt to help minimise your intake without compromising on the flavour.”
When heartburn can be a sign of something more serious
Gastroenterology of San Francisco explained: “If you have frequent heartburn of more than twice a week, you may have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
“GERD is a digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter, a muscle that connects the esophagus and the stomach.
“Over time, GERD may damage your esophagus or lead to a serioius complication called Barrett’s esophagus.
“In Barrett’s esophagus, repeated exposure too stomach acid causes changes to esophageal cells.
“These damaged cells can transform into esophageal andenocarcinoma, a potentially fatal cancer.”
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When asked what foods should be avoided for heartburn sufferers around Easter, Lilly said: “Common dietary triggers for heartburn include fatty foods, alcohol, coffee, spicy foods, chocolate and citrus fruits.
“We are all unique and may react to different foods in different ways, therefore an elimination diet can help to identify problematic foods.
“An elimination diet involves removing the food you suspect may be causing the issue from your diet for a period.
“Once this time is up, reintroduce this food to your diet and see if there are any changes.
“When it comes to relieving your symptoms through diet, unfortunately there are no magic foods can treat or alleviate heartburn.
“Therefore, it’s important to focus on the dietary triggers to prevent heartburn before it starts.”
Explaining why certain foods trigger heartburn symptoms more than others, Lilly explained: “Eating habits can play a role in triggering heartburn symptoms.
“Due to the high content of theobromine found in chocolate, it relaxes the lower oesophageal sphincter allowing stomach acid to escape into the oesophagus resulting in heartburn.
“Other foods such as alcohol and coffee are thought to relax the lower oesophageal sphincter, which may allow acid to escape and cause heartburn.
“Alcohol and coffee are often thought to increase gastric secretion, whilst some foods, which are naturally acidic such as citrus fruit, may exacerbate heartburn although it’s still unclear why. “
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