At the end of our food pipe is a valve that stops any return of ingested food. When this valve is relaxed it allows back-flow of stomach acids that irritates the food pipe with a burning sensation. We call this, heartburn. Heartburn happens to most of us. With minor changes in our food habits we can stop it, often overnight.
Foods that cause heartburn
1. Excess citrus juice
Orange, Lemon or Grapefruit juice are examples of citrus juices. These juices are acidic in nature and the acidity irritates the inner lining of the food pipe. This is different from the reverse travel of stomach acids, nevertheless, the heartburn is real. If you have a preexisting heartburn the juices complicate it, otherwise the irritation from the juices is mild.
Like carbonated drinks, coffee temporarily weakens the restricting valve. Once the intake is cut the valve starts to function normally, and stops the back-flow. Scientific studies have shown different impacts of coffee on different people. It is advisable to monitor your own discomfort and accordingly balance your coffee intake.
Alcohol builds high acidity in the stomach, much higher than the body needs, weakens the valve and reduces the natural ability of the food pipe to clean itself. Even moderate volume of alcohol causes serious damage. Experiments establish water reverses the bad effects of alcohol, substantially.
4. Raw onion
Air pressure built up from fermenting fibres in raw onion forces the valve to open for release. This eases the system but also back flows acids and start heartburn, also chemicals in onion irritate the food pipe separately. Onion discomfort is again an individual experience and is left to personal decision.
Fat takes good time to digest. The longer it stays in the stomach, it occupies sizable space, stretches the stomach and puts pressure on the back flow valve, apart from creating a strong build up of air in the stomach. This behaviour is more visible in fried products, chicken wings or chips.
Our body needs carbs. When one consumes a higher amount of carbohydrates than what is needed it remains undigested in the stomach. Microbes start to grow from this and pressurise the valve. Simultaneously the stomach releases excess air from this carb. Together the built up air and microbial impact,stressed air create serious trouble on your food pipe. This is your primary heartburn.
This is not an exhaustive list. Heartburn triggers vary from person to person. Gums are known to cause trouble for some people. So does mint. Both of them irritate the food pipe rather than channel back the digestive acids.
Some of the lifestyle causes of heartburn are lack of exercise, late night binge eating and overeating. In extreme cases, heartburn can also be carcinogenic. By following a couple of dietary and lifestyle changes, you can avoid the risks posed by heartburn.