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Fight heartburn with a healthy diet

If you don’t suffer from heartburn, then you are lucky not to experience that painful burning sensation that occurs in the throat or chest – normally after eating. Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux, a condition where stomach acid escapes into the oesophagus. In a normal situation, stomach acid can’t escape into the oesophagus because of the lower oesophageal sphincter (a ring-like muscle that naturally stays closed and normally opens when you swallow). This muscle is weaker in people with acid reflux which is why they experience heartburn. People who experience heartburn at least two to three times a week may have gastroesophageal reflux disease. Some people experience symptoms of acid regardless of what they eat, others only get acid reflux after eating certain foods.

The most common symptoms of heartburn include a feeling of warmth or heat, sometimes burning chest pain beginning behind the breastbone and moving upward to the neck and throat. Other symptoms may include:

  • Bloating.
  • Pain/difficulty when swallowing.
  • Persistent sore throat.
  • Bad breath.
  • Burning sensation in the middle of the chest.
  • Regurgitation of foods/fluids, causing an unpleasant sour taste in the mouth.
  • Worsening dental disease ₁

“Your diet plays an important role in heartburn as some foods can weaken the lower oesophageal sphincter, allowing food to escape into the oesophagus and cause heartburn,” says Gert Coetzee Pharmacist and Diet pioneer, who founded The Diet Everyone Talks About.

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Below he lists foods that you should eat as well as foods that you should avoid if you suffer from heartburn:

What to eat:

  • Green vegetables:  Broccoli, asparagus, celery and green beans are all low in acid.
  • Fish:  Poached, grilled or baked fish are all good choices, just don’t fry it.
  • Oatmeal:  Oatmeal is filling and does not cause reflux.
  • Egg whites:  Egg whites are a good source of protein and they are low in acid.
  • Lean poultry:  Prepare chicken or turkey boiled grilled or steamed, just don’t fry it.

What to avoid:

  • Spicy foods:  Spicy food can irritate an already inflamed oesophagus which can worsen heartburn symptoms.
  • Alcohol:  Alcohol can increase your amount of stomach acid which can increase the risk of heartburn.
  • High-Fat Foods:  High-Fat Foods can cause heartburn as they may relax the lower oesophageal sphincter, allowing acid to escape from the stomach into the oesophagus which can cause heartburn.
  • Salt:  Consuming salt or salty foods may increase reflux which is a risk factor for heartburn.
  • Onions:  Onions, especially raw onions are a trigger for heartburn.

For more information or if you’d like to join The Diet Everyone Talks About: 016 362 4890, [email protected]

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