Heartburn is a condition also commonly known as indigestion, cardialgia, or pyrosis. Patients with heartburn usually experience a burning sensation in the upper abdomen or central chest. This discomfort can rise in the chest and radiate to the angle of the jaw, throat, or neck.
Heartburn usually occurs due to gastric acid regurgitation where the acid in the stomach backflows into the esophagus. The term gastroesophageal reflux disease is often used interchangeably with heartburn to describe a burning sensation in the chest. This discomfort or pain that is felt in the upper abdomen or central chest can sometimes be a symptom of ischemic heart disease. This is seen in about 0.6 percent of cases. Patients at risk of cardiovascular disease should seek medical attention when they experience discomfort in the chest or upper abdomen to ensure that it is not a medical emergency. Heart and esophageal-related symptoms can be similar as they have the same nerve supply.
Heartburn has been estimated to affect as many as 40 percent of Americans. About 95 percent of these individuals can determine and trace their symptoms by keeping a food diary. Those who constantly experience heartburn will greatly benefit from monitoring their diet so they can avoid triggers. While everyone has different triggers, there are some common foods that have often been found to cause heartburn.
Heartburn Causing Food #1: Onions
Onions are available globally. They are a widely cultivated vegetable used in various cuisines. Onions can be eaten cooked or raw. They contain fermentable fibers known as fructooligosaccharides that relax the gastroesophageal sphincter, leading to higher incidences of acid regurgitation.
One study compared the consumption of a burger with onions against a burger without onions. The researchers found that the group consuming onions experienced significantly more heartburn. To make sure that the fermentable fiber is broken down, the onions can be cooked well, and this reduces the risk of heartburn.