Despite its name, heartburn has nothing to do with the heart. Some of the symptoms are similar to those of heart disease. Heartburn is an irritation of the Oesophagus (food Pipe) that is caused by stomach acid. Occasional heartburn is not dangerous but chronic heartburn can lead to (G O R D) Gastro Oesophageal Reflux Disease.
TIPS TO AVOID HEARTBURN
- Reduce your intake of acidic foods like: tomatoes, tomato-based sauces, citrus fruit, gooseberries, vinegar and acidic pickles.
- Avoid fried or fatty foods which encourage indigestion. These include: chocolates, candy, butter, mayonnaise, sausages, salami, meat pies, and full fat cheese.
- Also avoid spicy food like: black pepper, chilli peppers, curry, mustard and other hot spices, as well as raw onions and garlic.
- Fizzy or carbonated drinks cause belching and upward pressure. Rather drink water, herbal teas or diluted non – citrus fruit juices. Some drinks (cocoa, coffee, orange juice) encourage the backward flow of acid from the stomach.
- Constipation can lead to extra strain on abdominal muscles and increase the risk of heartburn. Eat more high fibre food: oats, apples, pears, dried apricots and vegetables. Avoid refined carbohydrates such as white bread.
- Alcohol aggravates heartburn. Reduce your intake.
- Large meals expand the stomach, causing a rise in the production of stomach acid. Rather eat 4 – 6 small meals, the last at least 3 hours before bed time.
- Obesity, can contribute to reflux related diseases, and therefore to heartburn. If overweight, switch to a healthy weight-loss diet
- Stop smoking. Tobacco smoke increases acidity in the stomach.
This article provided in the public interest by Dr. Ayoob Bux, Chairman of Hibiscus Private Hospital and Chairman of the IPA Independent Practitioners Association.