Nighttime Treats that Will Cause Heartburn
Chronic heartburn doesn’t limit its damage to the daytime. Nighttime acid reflux can interfere with sleeping patterns, making you feel even more uncomfortable the next day. What is even worse for many people who are subject to the nightly discomfort is that it so often stems from poor dietary decisions after dark. Before you undergo Nissen fundoplication or find relief from another type of medical treatment, you need to be extra careful about what you are eating for dinner.
Here are a few foods that you should avoid at all costs to prevent nighttime reflux:
- Pasta: Spaghetti is a cheap and common dinnertime staple, but unless you are planning to eat early in the evening this is not a good idea for your acid reflux. Pasta is a big source of carbohydrates, which makes it a good thing to eat before a workout, but it will turn to fat if eaten right before bed. Plus, be honest: you never eat spaghetti plain. You are loading your plate up with cheese, oil and tomato sauce. Tomato and vinegar are both highly acidic foods that could cause heartburn during the night.
- Alcohol: Though many people only have alcohol before going to bed, this is a bad idea if you are suffering from GERD. While your favorite beer may help you to feel relaxed after a long day, it also relaxes different parts of your body—including your lower esophageal sphincter (LES). By slowing down your LES, your night-cap can make it easier for acid and bile to escape into your esophagus.
- Hot Pepper: Spicy foods like those made with hot peppers and chilies may be filled with flavor, but they put you at an increased risk for heartburn. Spicy foods are known to irritate the stomach, and for those of us with GERD an irritated stomach often leads to heartburn and acid reflux.
- Mint: Forget the after dinner mint if you are planning on going to bed soon. While the mint may calm the flavors in your mouth, it is also understood to calm the LES, increasing your likelihood of experiencing acid reflux.
Late night snacks are always going to be a problem. In addition to often aggravating your heartburn and making it difficult to sleep, the wrong bite of food could cause weight gain or an upset stomach. If you like to eat at night trying chewing gum instead. A flavorful piece of sugarless gum can give you a lot of flavor and the sensation of chewing without prompting heartburn. If you are going to eat a late dinner, then pop in a movie afterwards and head to the couch to relax. Give yourself two or three hours after a meal before calling it a night. Your esophagus will thank you for it.