Although not a major cause, nuts, such as cashews, can trigger heartburn in some individuals.
- Nuts, including cashews, are high in fats, which slow down the emptying stomach.
- This means that they can cause a distended stomach, which can exert pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter or LES.
- The LES is a muscular ring-like structure present at the lower end of the esophagus at its junction with the stomach that prevents reflux of the acidic stomach contents into the esophagus.
When gastric emptying is slowed, as occurs with fatty foods, the acidic stomach contents can pass back into the esophagus causing heartburn. This may specifically be seen when consuming cashew and other fatty foods in excess.
Which foods cause heartburn
Heartburn is a feeling of discomfort or burning pain felt in the chest.
- It is typically felt in the center of the chest right behind the breastbone or sternum.
- The burning sensation is generally felt in the lower chest although it may travel upward as well.
Heartburn usually occurs after eating spicy or fatty foods or when a person lies down or sleeps right after eating a meal.
|Fatty and spicy foods||French fries, fried chicken, bacon, beef, high-fat steak, onion rings, pizza, chips|
Orange, grapefruit, tomato
|Beverages||Tea, coffee, alcohol, sodas, hot chocolate|
|Vegetables||Creamed or fried vegetables, onions, garlic|
|High-fat dairy||High-fat or whole milk, cream cheese, cottage cheese, cream, high-fat ice cream|
|Nuts||Cashew, walnuts, hazelnuts|
|Miscellaneous||Chocolate, peppermint, pepper, hot sauces|
Which foods are safe for heartburn
People who regularly experience heartburn may safely consume the following foods:
|Grains||Oatmeal, brown rice, couscous, quinoa|
|Vegetables||Potato, broccoli, carrots, yam, zucchini, sweet potato, beet, asparagus, green beans, cauliflower, lettuce, cucumber|
|Fruits||Banana, melon, papaya, grapes, berries|
|Beverages||Most fruit juices except those containing citrus fruits, clear soups, herbal tea|
|Dairy products||Low-fat milk, cheese, and cream|
|Meat||Fish, skinless chicken, low-fat steak|
|Miscellaneous||Fennel, egg whites, tofu, low-fat mayo, thyme, rosemary, basil, cilantro|
Tips to prevent and treat heartburn
How to avoid heartburn:
- Eat small meals
- Chew food well
- Do not lie down for about two to three hours of eating a meal
- Avoid fatty and spicy foods
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Quit smoking
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Avoid wearing tight clothes and belts
- Avoid beverages and foods that worsen symptoms
- Avoid sugary foods and beverages including sodas
Over-the-counter medications, such as antacids, may help manage heartburn symptoms. Certain home remedies, such as nonfat milk and lemon water, may also help relieve symptoms.
Occasional heartburn may occur in most people, however, if a person gets frequent heartburn or symptoms worsen over time, they should consider visiting healthcare professional.
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Cedars Sinai. Heartburn and Acid Reflux: What You Need to Know. https://www.cedars-sinai.org/blog/what-causes-heartburn-and-acid-reflux.html
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- Eating a heavy meal
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The treatment for heartburn and acid reflux is to treat the underlying cause, for example, GERD, with over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, prescription medicine, natural remedies, and lifestyle changes like a eating a healthy, less fatty, spicy diet, not eating big meals, not eating before bed, and getting regular exercise to improve your posture.
Sometimes a heart attack can mimic heartburn and acid reflux because they feel very similar. If you have symptoms of chest pain, tightness in the chest, heartburn, acid reflux, jaw, tooth, or head pain; shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, sweating, discomfort in the upper middle of the abdomen, arm or upper back pain, or the general feeling of being ill, go to the nearest Emergency Department immediately because these are the symptoms of a heart attack.
American College of Gastroenterology. "Acid Reflux." 2017.
familydoctor.org. "Heartburn." Updated: Mar 2014.
National Library of Medicine; PubMed Health. "Heartburn and GERD: Treatment options for GERD." Updated: Nov 18, 2015.
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