How Changing Your Diet Could Prevent Heartburn Symptoms
02. 02. 2018
Heartburn is a nationwide problem in the United States. Is there something wrong with the American stomach — or the American diet? Let’s look at statistics. Twenty-five percent of Americans experience heartburn at least once per week, compared to about five percent of Asians.
It is safe to say that there are significant flaws in the Western diet, with its emphasis on meat and saturated fats. Fatty foods especially aggravate heartburn because they cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax and allow acid into the esophagus.
It’s More Than Heartburn
Chronic acid reflux is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Common symptoms include burning in the throat, sour taste in your mouth, difficulty swallowing and chest pain. Over time, exposure to acid can cause inflammation of the esophagus and lead to esophagitis, Barrett’s esophagus and, in some cases, adenocarcinoma.
Replace Meat With Fruits and Vegetables
To keep GERD from progressing to more serious conditions, it’s important to prevent acid reflux. One of the most natural ways to treat heartburn is through diet. Research has shown that eating meat doubles the risk for reflux-induced inflammation of the esophagus. Meat and eggs both increase the hormone cholecystokinin, which tends to relax the lower esophageal sphincter.
Conversely, eating a plant-based diet that is high in antioxidants is associated with a 50 percent reduction in the risk of esophageal cancer. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains don’t increase cholecystokinin levels, and they contain dietary fiber and photochemicals. Scientists suggest that increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables will naturally help reduce your meat intake.
Foods That Protect Against Acid Reflux
The most protective produce for your digestive system includes red-orange vegetables, dark leafy greens, berries, apples and citrus fruits. Interestingly, taking antioxidant supplements like vitamin E or C capsules offer no protective benefit against inflammation and cancer; nutrients must come from foods.
In the last three decades, colon cancer in the United States has increased six-fold, an increase greater than that of melanoma, breast, or prostate cancer. It’s time to revamp the American diet and reclaim our health. If you suffer from chronic heartburn, you might be more likely to find your cure in the produce section than the pharmacy (Source: Nutrition Facts).