Stomach Acidity (Heartburn): Causes, Symptoms and Treatments
Stomach acidity (heartburn), as it is popularly known, is the excess of digestive juices in the stomach, including hydrochloric acid. These juices can flow back up into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation in the esophagus. It manifests as a feeling of acidity and stomach pain. On some occasions, this acid rises into the esophagus and can produce severe discomfort - heartburn. When this is frequent, you may experience fluid retention, a tendency to rheumatoid arthritis, headache, tooth sensitivity to vinegar and acidic fruits.
CAUSES OF STOMACH ACIDITY (HEARTBURN)
Stomach acidity is mainly caused by digestive problems such as acid regurgitation from the stomach into the esophagus and does not have much to do with the cardiovascular system. Heartburn develops when the muscular valve that controls the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) stops working properly keeping stomach acid in the stomach. Normally, the LES controls the movement of the “on/off” valve that allows food to enter the stomach, not allowing acid and gas to escape. When the LES opens too wide and too often, stomach acid can slowly seep in and cause reflux symptoms. The actual burning sensation is caused by digestive fluid from the stomach irritating the lining of the esophagus and throat.
FOODS THAT CAN WORSE STOMACH ACIDITY (HEARTBURN)
- Fried foods or meals rich in low-quality and refined oils;
- Packed with artificial sweeteners, ingredients, preservatives and artificial flavors;
- Citrus fruits;
- Caffeine products;
FOODS THAT CAN PREVENT STOMACH ACIDITY (HEARTBURN)
Focus on eating a diet of foods that bring improvements to stomach acid symptoms, filled with whole foods that don't aggravate your digestive system. Leafy green vegetables, berries, legumes like sweet potatoes, probiotic foods, coconut oil, and wild-caught fish are generally all well tolerated, even for people with sensitive stomachs. The Acidity Diet is a great example of a protocol that focuses on whole foods that treat digestive issues like IBS, acid reflux, and many other conditions.
TIPS TO AVOID BURNING
- Stop smoking: cigarettes increase acid secretion and make gastric juice stronger, facilitating inflammation of the stomach lining.
- Dividing your diet: it is essential to stimulate the stomach to work evenly, ensuring that the acid is used frequently to process food and does not remain idle for too long.
- Don't fast: when you don't eat, gastric juice stagnates. The longer this occurs, the more susceptible the stomach will be to inflammation.
- Avoid large meals: the stomach of those who eat a lot cannot process all the food and stimulates more acid production.
- Avoid tight clothing, which can put pressure on your stomach.
- If you are overweight, try to lose weight.