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10 foods that cause heartburn

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Heartburn is a burning feeling that one experiences around the chest usually just behind the breastbone. A very uncomfortable feeling, it generally starts around the chest but may extend to engulf the throat. 

The condition has nothing to do with heart, is generally experienced after eating certain type of food and the condition is also known as pyrosis or acid indigestion. This happen when gastric acid tends to reflow into the esophagus due to a weakened sphincter muscle in the stomach.

We give you a list of 10 foods, which are known to cause heartburn. 

1. Chocolate

Most of us love chocolate and the sweet taste is often meant to celebrate something, lift your mood and also be good to your heart. However, what is good to heart may not be good for your stomach. Chocolates contain a compound called theobromines, which is primarily responsible for lowering the pressure on the esophageal sphincter. This means that acid in your stomach can make its way back to the esophagus and give you a terrible heartburn. However, it is often seen that white chocolates do not cause heartburn as the cocoa in the dark chocolates is what contains theobromines. 


2. Soda

Soda is another item which can cause heartburn. Soda is believed to weaken and loosen the sphincter muscle in the esophagus and cause acid reflux. On the other hand baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate is believed to be an antacid and provide temporary relief in heartburn cases. However, baking soda dissolved in water is not normally consumed and is not a recommended process.  


3. Fried food

Fried food generally tops the list when it comes to causing heartburn. Food generally found in quick service restaurants (QSR) like french fries, chicken strips and in fact any other fried Indian food like nuggets, samosas, pakodas are a potent cause for heartburn.  


4. Alcohol

Alcohol has a heady effect when it comes to heartburn as it does a number of things. For starter it increases the production of acid in the stomach, relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which means acid can reflux back up into the esophagus and also makes swallowing erratic. A combination of all these leads to a great amount of discomfort as a person will experience significant heartburn.  


5. Certain diary products

Diary products tend to have high-fat content and can cause heartburn. Products like cheese, butter, and even milk is known to cause acid refluxes. People prone to heartburn should moderate the consumption of diary products. 

Similarly nuts and avocadoes are also known to cause heartburn.  


6. High fat meat

Meat like lamb, beef, pork, have a high amount of fat in them and takes much longer to digest. This increases the risk of acid reflux and heartburn. As far as possible people prone to heartburn should try lean meat and should trim off any visible fat. When buying chicken it is always advisable to remove the skin, which is higher in fat.  


7. Caffeine & Carbonated Beverages

Drinks with caffeine are known to increase the rate of heartburn. This is again due to the relaxing of the sphincter muscles in the esophagus, which in turn allows the acid in the stomach to travel up.   

Carbonated beverages behave similar to soda since most of these drinks are soda based. Of the beverages Coke, Pepsi, Thumbs Up amongst other carbonated drinks precipitate the risk of heartburn.   


8. Tomatoes and tomato-based products

Tomato is known to be an acidic fruit and aggravates the amount of acid being produced by the stomach. Tomato products also have similar affect and someone experiences heartburn should cut tomato or tomato products from the menu.  


9. Tobacco

Tobacco is believed to worsen a case of heartburn and also in many cases be the culprit behind heartburn. Tobacco generally weakens the functioning of the LES, increasing acidity and also reduces the flow of saliva which pushes the acid down into the stomach. 


10. Citrus fruits and juices

Citrus food behaves similarly to tomatoes and have high natural acid content. Citrus food like oranges can cause heartburns and should be avoided by anyone experiencing acid refluxes and especially on an empty stomach in the morning.

Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: July 22, 2013