Acid reflux is a pesky condition that can present itself at any time. With approximately 25 million Americans suffering from this condition, it is important to understand the different causes of heartburn. A poor diet is one of the most common reasons for excess stomach acid. Knowing what foods to avoid is can help you eliminate heartburn from your life.
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Acid reflux is a condition where stomach acid moves into the throat and oesophagus, causing an unpleasant burning sensation. It is often referred to as heartburn or GERD, which stands for gastro-oseophageal reflux disease. Although physiological abnormalities are the main cause of heartburn, stress and an unhealthy diet can also trigger the condition. Medication is often used to treat reflux, but lifestyle changes are much more beneficial in the long run.
Trigger Foods to Avoid
Foods that are high in fat often cause acid reflux because they are more difficult to digest, causing the stomach to create excess acid. Alcoholic beverages also trigger heartburn, beer being the worst culprit. Within an hour, a glass of beer can double the acid production within the stomach. Other foods that should be avoided include peppermint, spearmint, fast foods, chocolate, whole milk, chocolate milk, oils, sausage, bacon, cold cuts, fatty meats and cream soups.
Trigger Foods to Limit
You don't have to cut out all of your favourite foods and beverages to put out the fire of acid reflux. Certain trigger foods are all right if consumed in limited quantities. These include grapefruit, pineapple, tomato, orange, coffee, tea and caffeinated beverages such as soda and energy drinks. Remember, everything in moderation. Keep track of the foods that continue to cause heartburn so you can limit them further or eliminate them from your diet altogether.
Contrary to popular belief, a glass of milk before bedtime will not help nighttime acid reflux. Instead, chugging a glass of milk before lying down can actually make heartburn worse because milk prompts the stomach to create more acid. Your stomach is already full from dinner, so that acid has nowhere to go but up. Milk may give instant, temporary relief, but it will do more harm than good.
Heartburn medication is commonly prescribed to inhibit acid production and prevent further damage to the oesophagus. This is a quick fix, so it is important to correct the underlying problem, which in many cases is a bad diet. If you are suffering from acid reflux, a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and lean meats can greatly improve your heartburn. Such foods include apples, bananas, broccoli, cabbage, chicken breast, fish, multi-grain bread, pretzels and red liquorice.
If you suspect that you have a problem with acid reflux don't hesitate to contact your doctor. Heartburn may seem to be a small annoyance, but there are long term effects that could end up costing you your life. Acid reflux causes a number of major health problems, including the narrowing of your oesophagus, a condition called Barrett's oesophagus and even esophageal cancer.
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