Heartburn or pyrosis is a painful burning sensation experienced in the esophagus, just below the ribs or the breast bone , primarily caused by regurgitation of the gastric acid (i.e. when the stomach acid gets thrown up). The pain often rises in the chest and may subsequently spread across neck, throat, or even jaws. Acidity, on the other hand, is a broad term used to characterize symptoms (heartburn, dyspepsia, ulcer) caused by excess production of acid by the gastric glands of stomach.
Certain medications have been reported to cause or worsen the heartburn symptoms, especially those advised for asthma, arthritis and heart problems but most medications do not cause heartburn in healthy individuals. Keeping your health professional informed, if you experience heartburn or if it worsens after starting a particular medicine or supplement is advisable.
NUTRITION TIPS TO REDUCE HEARTBURN
Heart burn or acid indigestion can become a chronic problem if adequate measures are not taken to curb the problem.
ü Water plays an important role in washing off acid wastes in the body. It is a good idea to begin your day with one litre i.e. 4 glasses of water. However, try to avoid drinking water along with meals to reduce bloating and distending the stomach. If the stomach is filled to capacity with food and water, its contents are more likely to enter the food pipe and cause irritation to the oesophagus (food pipe) and heart burn.
ü Avoid foods containing caffeine, refined and processed foods, chocolates, etc.
ü If you are overweight, then losing weight will help your problem tremendously.
ü Large meals, eating too quickly, exercising or going to bed too soon after eating may also lead to heartburn, so avoiding the above will surely be beneficial.
ü Try to eat small meals and switch over to alkaline forming food like fresh fruits, watermelon, mangoes, apples, guava, pears, vegetables like potatoes, dudhi, turi etc. Eat bananas as the alkaline ash present in banana correct the acidosis caused by acid forming diets. Honey, dates, corn, millets, mushrooms, raisins, curd also have an alkalizing effect.
ü You must avoid acid forming foods like alcohol, coffee , legumes, lentils, cornstarch, white flour, non vegetarian foods, fried food, dried coconut, cheese, cakes, pastries, pasta, soft drinks, sugar, vinegar, pickles, deep fried foods, pappads etc. as they tend to weaken the lower oesophageal sphincter and allow the contents to regurgitate into the food pipe.
ü Stress, smoking, alcoholic, caffeinated and carbonated beverages may all lead to heartburn.
ü A quick fix home remedy for acidity is to drink a solution of sodium bi carbonate mixed with water.
ü Also, drinking coconut water, cabbage juice, lukewarm water with a pinch of ginger powder, asafoetida and black salt, staying upright (avoiding lying on the bed) after meals, etc assist in relieving heartburn symptoms.
It’s always better to consult a health professional regarding the duration and intensity of your symptoms, so that he or she can determine the probable cause of your heartburn and advice on the best course of action.