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Acidity and Heartburn - Are My Diet & Lifestyle To Blame?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012
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Too much of anything is a bad thing -  is a sensible phrase best applicable to the feeling one gets after overeating, or consuming a high calorie meal with drinks.

How often do you find yourself taking an antacid after dinner or guzzling a teaspoon of Mylanta to prevent the belching and discomfort. If this happens frequently - i.e more than 2-3 times a week, it can be a sign of serious acid indigestion and should be discussed with a gastroenterologist or your primary care physician.

Acidity or heartburn are burning sensations in the chest or throat that might occur after a meal. Sometimes, you can taste the stomach fluids in the back of your mouth as they leak back or reflux into your esophagus and irritate it. This condition commonly called GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease) can be easily controlled and reduced by making healthy changes to ones diet and lifestyle habits.
 
Anyone, including infants and children, can get this condition. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious health problems that might warrant medications or even surgery.

Symptoms of Heartburn & Acidity

  • An uncomfortable feeling behind the breastbone that seems to be moving upward from the stomach
  • A burning sensation in the back of your throat    
  • A bitter, acid taste in your mouth
  • Bloating, gas or flatulence, nausea and vomiting during a bout of acidity

Eating large meals overloads the digestive system making food stay in the stomach longer. This in turn creates more acid which exacerbates the problem and the excess acid backs into your esophagus. More frequently eaten smaller meals are digested more easily.

What exactly triggers a bout of acidity?
  • Exercising after a meal
  • Lying down flat after a meal
  • Starting activities that need vigorous actions

Here are a list of things you can do to alleviate or reduce the symptoms of acidity and heartburn -
  • Sit up straight when eating - Do not slouch
  • Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly
  • Eat smaller portions- Six small meals a day are better than three large ones
  • Try not to drink during your meal- especially alcohol
  • Avoid spicy, fatty or acidic foods that trigger heartburn
  • Not eating close to bedtime
  • Losing weight if needed
  • Wearing loose-fitting clothes
Role of Diet Management: in controlling acidity & heartburn
When it comes to treating acidity, there's no better medicine than food. Though there is a general list of foods that aggravate or alleviate acidity or heartburn,

Precautions to be taken:
  • Avoid foods that leave an acidic residue - E.g. refined foods, processed foods, spicy foods, fatty or fried foods, alcohol, frizzy drinks, coffee and teas and protein rich foods (non veg, too much of pulses and legumes)
  • Switching over to alkaline rich foods could be really helpful like fresh fruits, watermelon, mangoes, apples, guavas, pear, vegetables like potatoes, pumpkin and turi etc.
  • Honey, dates, raisins, almonds & corn works as well by providing a symptomatic relief
  • Drink plenty of home made soups with green leafy vegetables like spinach, radish leaves, beet greens, spring onions; fenugreek (methi) leaves etc., which acts as a buffer in normalizing the pH of the blood
  • Drink plenty of water at least 8 to 10 glasses of water
  • A glass of cold milk gives good relief during pain
  • Drink tender coconut water 1 to 2 times a day
  • Follow healthy life style by choosing the right foods. (Ask the dietitians at www.NutritionVista.com)
  • Follow regular physical activity which may prevent the recurrence of acidity.

Long standing acidity may lead to ulcers and also bleeding in the stomach and duodenum. So don't delay in seeking medical help!

Let our well trained dietitians evaluate your diet and lifestyle habits and gently guide you in addressing your acidity and heartburn with a customized menu plan and follow up consultations.                                                          
Evaluate your overall Health at www.NutritionVista.com today by completing the 3 Step Health Assessment.

Join our 3 month prevention program today for sustainable results.

By. Kanchan Saggi,
Dietitian www.NutritionVista.com


 

NutritionVista

User Comments

08 June, 2010 | Vijayalakshmi Iyengar | Reply

Vijayalakshmi Iyengar I have observed a growing trend in s/w companies these days. Companies budget for and encourage team outings after work for people to bond and work on their relationships. This invariably means it begins after 9 and people have a couple of drinks followed by a high fat and spicy meal as group psychology prevails and even the health concious yield. Nobody wants to be left out. So we need to work on a different strategy to ensure that people with heart burn dont suffer.

08 June, 2010 | Poonam Vaswani | Reply

Poonam Vaswani Most people who suffer from heartburn experience symptoms at night. Simple changes like, eating 2-3 hours before getting into bed, maintaining normal weight, avoiding alcohol/smoking, wearing loose fitting clothes, sleeping with the head slightly elevated & avoiding foods which aggravate symptoms can help in keeping heartburn at bay.

03 June, 2010 | Kanika Jain | Reply

Kanika Jain Hi,
As aptly written in article, one should avoid eating large meals at night instead have small and frequent meals throughout the day and avoid going to sleep right after meal to avoid heartburn.

regards,
Kanika Jain
NutritionVista

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