“I wake up in the middle of the night with great pain. The burning sensation in the chest is terrifying. It feels like a heart attack. Why does this happen?” asks one of my clients.
Heartburn is a common complaint from people who are overweight. Foods stimulate the release of a strong acid in your stomach. This acid is necessary for digestion. If your meal is high in fat or you eat too much, the strong acid in the stomach leaks into your esophagus. It may even rise to your throat, and you’ll taste sourness in your mouth. The valve between the stomach and esophagus, which keeps the food in the stomach, is weakened by the large quantity of food putting pressure on it. The lining of the esophagus is only capable of handling food going into the stomach, not the reverse. So when the food does come up with the strong stomach acid, the lining of the esophagus is damaged, causing great pain. If you start the meal with alcohol and end it with coffee, both of which stimulate stomach-acid secretion, you further aggravate the condition.
If you suffer from heartburn regularly, keep track of everything you eat for one week and document when you have heartburn. Below is a checklist:
You are a candidate for heartburn if you:
• Are overweight
• Eat large meals, fatty meals, spicy meals, chocolate, peppermint
• Eat or drink late at night
• Drink tomato or fruit juice, alcohol, coffee, especially at night
To Stop Heartburn
• Lose weight
• Eat smaller meals more often
• Eat low-fat meals
• Eat small starchy meals at night
• Avoid coffee, fruit juices, tomato juice, alcohol and peppermints at night
• Avoid late-night eating
• Drink water at night
• Chew sugarless gum to increase saliva production
• Quit smoking
It's worth it!