Heartburn, also known as bloating, indigestion, dyspepsia, and borborygmus, is a medical condition resulting in chest pain or abdominal discomfort after eating or drinking. Other symptoms of heartburn include a burning sensation or pressure in the area around the breastbone, mild nausea, and a feeling of fullness in the abdomen. Excessive gas and belching, as well as stomach growling, are additional symptoms. A person suffering from heartburn may also feel pain between the shoulders or in the neck.
Experts are unsure of the exact cause of heartburn, though several events appear to trigger it. For example, swallowing air while eating or drinking can lead to heartburn. Excessive smoking, as well as eating certain foods, is another cause.
Foods associated with heartburn include fatty, fried, and spicy foods. Tomato products and citrus fruits are also common causes, as are chocolate, peppermint, and pepper. Coffee, tea with caffeine, and alcohol are other triggers of heartburn.
There are several steps a person can take to prevent heartburn. One such step is refraining from smoking while eating or just before eating. This is because smoking encourages swallowing air and slows down food digestion, both of which trigger heartburn. In addition, one should monitor the types of food consumed, taking care to avoid foods that typically cause heartburn.
While eating, it is best to sit in an upright position. Care should be taken to chew food thoroughly, and alcohol should not be consumed at the same time. Afterward, taking a small walk can help improve digestion. Strenuous exercise, however, should be avoided after eating a large meal.
For many heartburn sufferers, eating a bit of fresh ginger can eliminate heartburn symptoms. It can also prevent heartburn when eaten with the meal. It can either be added to the food, taken as a capsule, or included in tea. Most herbalists recommend taking 500mg with a glass of water after a meal to prevent heartburn. A glass of green tea after a meal can also be beneficial, as it stimulates the body’s digestive system.
Papaya enzymes, which can be purchased in chewable form, also help the digestive process. Taking a papaya pill after a meal can prevent heartburn. Increasing the amount of fiber and water consumed per day is also helpful. Fiber absorbs acids and gas, while water helps rid the body of toxins.