Seasonal changes are the periods of the year with the highest risk for the reappearance of the annoying symptoms of gastric reflux and dyspepsia.
Gastric reflux: what is it?
Let’s start with reflux. We speak of reflux when the normal passage of gastric juice from the stomach to the esophagus becomes excessive, in terms of quantity and duration, and therefore no longer physiological.
The most frequent symptoms are acid regurgitation after meals and heartburn (retrosternal burning), aggravated by lying in the horizontal position; other possible symptoms and consequences are night coughs, hiccups, chronic laryngitis, bronchial asthma, and erosion of the gums.
Currently, there are numerous and effective therapeutic means (both pharmacological and surgical), but the diet remains highly valuable; specific foods that can promote reflux should be eliminated and it’s certainly useful that overweight and obese people reduce their body weight accordingly.
What should you eat and what should you avoid in the case of reflux?
- Avoid coffee, tea, citrus fruits, tomato, pepper, chilli, vinegar, mint, chocolate, and alcohol
- Make light, small but frequent meals, containing limited amounts of fat (especially in the evening)
- Prefer the consumption of liquid-based foods (vegetable purées and soups) at lunch, rather than in the evening.
- Prefer dry foods such as toast, crackers, and dry biscuits
- Don’t wear clothing that is too tight and avoid going to bed immediately after eating; trying, if possible, to elevate your head a bit during the night (reclined, at 45 degrees).
- Eat slowly, shredding the food well to discourage the risk of stomach contents rising into the esophagus.
- Do not smoke
Dyspepsia. What kind of pathology is it?
As we’ve stated before, we often hear about dyspepsia associated with reflux, but what kind of pathology are we dealing with here?
The term dyspepsia indicates a chronic or recurrent symptomatology generally indicative of difficult digestion. Dyspepsia is divided into primary and secondary. In the primary dyspepsia, alterations in motility and gastric secretion are related to various factors, such as poor eating habits, psychological factors, stress, visceral hypersensitivity, Helicobacter pylori infections.
Secondary dyspepsia is related to various pathologies (hernia iatale, gastritis, biliary tract diseases, cirrhosis of the liver) or depends on the intake of drugs or alcohol abuse. The prevalent symptoms are burning and epigastric pain, usually at night and away from meals, often relieved by food and antacids. Also, the feeling of heaviness after a meal and frequent belching persist.
What should you eat and what should you avoid in the case of dyspepsia?
- Avoid alcohol, broths, stock cubes and meat extracts, ravioli, tortellini, fried food, sauces, fermented, mature and spicy cheeses, sausages and salami, spicy dishes and sauces; tomato, citrus fruits, pineapple, dried fruit, vinegar, mint, chocolate, tea, coffee, and carbonated drinks.
- It is recommended to eat vegetables rich in fiber, boiled potatoes, and ripe bananas.
- We recommend steaming, baking or grilling ,and the use of extra virgin olive oil.
- Avoid foods and drinks that are too cold or too hot.
- It is preferable to have four or five meals per day and avoid the evening snack that stimulates acid secretion.
- It is useful to take infusions of thyme and mauve, chamomile tea, licorice, and lemon balm.
- Eat slowly and chew well
– INRAN (Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca per gli Alimenti e la Nutrizione).
– “Dietologia” di Zangara A., Zangara A., Koprivec D, Ed. Piccin 2016.
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