HEARTBURN AND HEALTHY EATING

Nutrition

HEARTBURN AND HEALTHY EATING

HEARTBURN AND HEALTHY EATING

Plagued by constant heartburn and feeling sluggish even though you eat a ‘healthy diet’, hit the gym, and aren’t overweight? While unhealthy diet and an unhealthy lifestyle tend to contribute to heartburn, they aren’t the only causes: even healthy, fit people can suffer from heartburn, as heartburn isn’t caused by anyone specific trigger.

If you’re one of the millions of healthy, fit people who experiences heartburn a little (or a lot) more often than you’d like, we have some tips that may help you beat the burn-once and for all.

SEE ALSO: ALCOHOL & PROTEIN SYNTHESIS 

Heartburn is caused by a lower esophageal sphincter that won’t fully close. Dysfunction in the sphincter has a variety of causes, and while those causes are commonly related to health and weight issues, that isn’t always the case. Overweight and obesity aside, certain behaviors held by even healthy people can cause heartburn.  

COMMON CAUSES OF HEARTBURN IN OTHERWISE HEALTHY, FIT PEOPLE

1) EXERCISE:

Ironic right? Exercising can cause negative health effects? If you’ve just started an exercise routine, there’s a chance that your new activity is causing your lower esophageal sphincter to open and leach acid or stomach contents into the esophagus, causing heartburn. In time, your body will likely become accustomed to exercises that put pressure on the sphincter.

In the meantime, avoid exercises that require you to lean down or bend over, which increases pressure on the sphincter and sets the stage for heartburn. Don’t stop exercising (unless instructed to by your personal physician or healthcare team) - just modify your routine to avoid or reduce the amount of time spent performing problematic exercises.

2) TRIGGER FOODS:

Even the healthiest people may be dietarily at risk for heartburn. Most foods that trigger heartburn are still readily consumed by nutrition-conscious consumers, including alcohol, foods high in fat, chocolate, citrus fruits, tomato, onions, garlic, spicy foods, and peppermint.

Reduce your consumption of problem foods and keep a food log to see which foods may be your own personal triggers. 

3) CERTAIN MEDICATIONS:  

Even healthy people sometimes need to take medications. Ibuprofen and aspirin both tend to cause heartburn, as do certain antibiotics. If you’re on medication, consider talking with your doctor to find an alternative medication that won’t trigger heartburn. Never stop taking medication unless directed by your physician or healthcare team. If you experience heartburn after taking an over the counter medication, talk with a pharmacist to find an alternative.