Have you ever felt a sudden, throbbing pain on your chest that usually occurs immediately after your meals? This tight sensation may be minute or felt for only a couple of seconds but for others, the pain may last longer and may reoccur more often.
What you may be experiencing is called “heartburn” and it affects at least twenty percent of the population. It is the reaction inside our stomach that occurs whenever acidic fluids pass by the oesophagus and in extreme cases is commonly known as acid reflux or gerd. The burning sensation that one feels is that acid crossing the lining. Its frequent occurrence can cause lasting effects and can be a serious health red flag if not accessed by a medical practitioner (you should seek medical advice if you suffer regular bouts of excessive heartburn, reflux).
While an overhaul of one’s unhealthy lifestyle is the best way to prevent heartburn, watching what you eat can be the crucial first step.
This article will provide you with the twelve sinful food choices you should not make in the battle to control reflux and excessive heartburn.
Acid Reflux Diet – List of foods to avoid
1. Go Easy on the oil.
Simple logic will tell you that food drenched in oil, when introduced into the digestive system, will require more work for the intestines to digest.
Crispy food stuff does look enticing, but for a person prone to acid reflux too much oil can trigger heartburn. Instead of deeply fried food, go for their grilled (or better yet, steamed) alternatives. You can also remove the fatty part and lessen the risk of too much oil getting into your system.
2. Don’t bathe on the spices.
All those spices that make meals come alive — from salt to pepper to the simple spicy condiments — they are instant acid triggers! It is because spices, as strong as they are, create a hostile environment for our intestines. Even for people without acid reflux, use of too much salt may start their heartburn hell.
3. Regulate your beef intake.
Another seemingly safe food is beef. While it is considered leaner and lesser in fat as opposed to pork, beefy foods such as the delectable T-bone steak is high in fat. As previously pointed out, too much fat is not good for the stomach.
It is thus best to go for the low fat beefy meals — those that are marinated or stewed — unless you want to feel those acidic juices seething through your intestines.
4. Skip the fillings.
All-time favourite butter and / or cheese, are culprits of heartburn too.
Cheese, for instance, while healthy and beneficial when taken in moderate doses, is high in fat. This type of food causes the stomach to relax which in turn, delays digestion. Even the low fat cheese types are capable of this.
When the stomach relaxes, it puts pressure on the oesophageal sphincter. We don’t want to quibble with the terminologies — it simply means that a relaxed stomach will mean acid will flow through. Butter is included in this sinful category.
5. Take a breather from garlic and onion.
Studies show that people with heartburn history should stray away from garlic and onion. Use some other alternative herbs (but NOT spices) to add flavour to your meals instead. (See: Number 2 for the main reason.)
6. Don’t always reach for the mints.
After a satisfying meal, we usually reach for mints. Be it candies or a peppermint tea, we think it can ease the food we have just taken in. But the soothing effect of the mint and / or the rush of sweetness of the candies trigger’s acids to attack your insides.
7. Moderate those red tomatoes.
Tomatoes are advertised as rich in everything. They are healthy for the heart and good for the skin and eyes. But for those with acidic insides — they should be crossed out from the menu. That includes the pasta sauce and salsa. Skip them or feel the wrath of tomatoes later at night when you wish to be resting.
8. Remember that citrus fruits are acidic.
You ate a piece of orange for breakfast and you wonder why your stomach aches hours after. Any fruit from the citrus family are acidic. If you are prone to heartburn, or is not planning on experiencing one, skip feasting on any member of the citrus family in the morning. Take them only after a healthy and balanced meal, and always have them in moderation. Your alternative? Fruits that are high in alkaline such as pears, apples, melon and bananas!
9. Sodas are a No-no.
Beverages like sodas are not good if you suffer from occasional heartburns. Even the ones being packed as juices are also dangerous for anyone who do not wish to increase chances of suffering from acidic episodes. Water is still your best choice to wash down any food you have eaten.
10. Chocolates shouldn’t be your treat.
Chocolates are the ultimate pleasure-bringers, but they can also be bringers of doom. They are high in fat making them hard to digest and is also a relaxant — both of which are sure to trigger your burns inside.
11. Coffee is not a solution.
Some patients swear that a cup of unsweetened black coffee can cure heartburn. But from a medical point of view, it doesn’t.
For people with acid reflux, drinking coffee as part of a breakfast regimen won’t be harmful but taking them in later in the day will.
12. Moderate the liquor.
There is a reason why we are advised against drinking without eating solid food first. Imagine pouring strong, acid-like liquid to your empty stomach — it’ll be like putting in acid on a cold empty container. It will “burn”. Same rule applies when you have eaten one spoon too many, and suddenly decided to drench it away with a glass of your classy wine. The wine is not really the culprit. It’s the mix of the full meat meal along with all the other usual offenders — pasta, tomato sauce — wine will then boost the acid reflux and cause severe stomach pain.
A quick scan of the contents of this article will show you two simple themes. First, that everything we eat should be taken in moderation. Most foods are beneficial as long as they are not abused. For people prone to heartburn, it pays to know the effects of the common food they take and work their way around it, mainly by avoiding them.
Secondly, that we should “listen” to the signals given by our body. There is a reason why our body sends us signals such as heartburn. It allows us to have a glimpse of what is happening inside us. Treat these signals as an early alarm system or a plea for help. Try and live a healthy lifestyle, and do not forget to consult a doctor in the severe of cases.
Acid reflux / heartburn is manageable, but it is up to you to free yourself from all of its symptoms just by following some of these food avoidance tips will ensure a heartburn free lifestyle.