There has been massive increase in popularity of dark chocolate in the last decade. The reason is simple. It is loaded with nutrients like potassium, iron, magnesium, copper, selenium, fiber, phosphorus, zinc and manganese.
That’s why it is now the no.1choice whenever you feel craving to eat something sweet whenever you are depressed, anxious or frustrated and have the problem of diabetes and obesity, high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
Dark chocolate seemed like the best option for almost any situation. But it is not great in a single condition – if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and heartburn (or acid reflux). This condition causes pain in your chest. It causes burning sensation in throat or sore throat. Even burning sensation in your mouth and stomach.
This condition could be quite stressful and uncomfortable. It causes pain that could simply ruin your great dinners and beautiful evenings.
This problem results from excess stomach acid. In fact, it can also be due to reduced stomach acid levels in your body. Other causes include obstruction within the upper bowels and LES (weak lower esophageal sphincter).
These foods can cause weakening of the LES:
– Fish oil (both supplementary and dietary)
– Citrus fruits & juices (like orange, lime and lemon)
– Some medications (like hormonal treatments and SSRI)
Chocolate has shown to cause reduction in lower esophageal sphincter (LES) pressure. This condition has been named Chocolate-Induced Reflux.
LES is a muscle binding the esophagus with the stomach. It will open for allowing food and drinks into the stomach. It closes for preventing them from returning.
When it gets weakened, the food and drinks can return back and cause irritation. LES can also become weaker due to an intestine obstruction. It can even become weaker due to small intestine bowel overgrowth (SIBO).
When it is not treated, acid reflux could cause damage to the mucosal membrane. It can also result in ulcers and even cancer.
That’s why it’s so important that you chew your food properly and take your food in relaxed state. You should also avoid the trigger foods.
When there are mild signs of acid reflux, you are less likely to visit the doctor for getting this state checked. You should consider examining if the underlying reason is excess or too low stomach acid. But you can do a test that requires just 1 ingredient. It is apple cider vinegar (ACV).
This is how you should do the test:
– Take 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar and swallow it
– When there’s no burning sensation, it is due to hypochlorhydria or low stomach acid. Gradually increase the levels by the subsequent addition of 1 tbsp of ACV every day until you are taking 6 tbsp or you get slight burning sensation.
– When there are no symptoms, you must continue with the dose and daily reduce it by 1 tbsp until you get the burning sensation.
– When you have severe burning and irritation after taking first tablespoon of ACV, it means you have hyperchlorhydria (which means excess stomach acid).
You must then consult doctor and get tested to ensure that the burning pain is not one of the symptoms of peptic ulcer or some heart condition.
What to Do for Low Stomach Acid?
If you have low stomach acid, you must take these steps:
– Make sure that you chew you food properly
– Take digestive enzymes after taking big meals
– Eat more pineapple and papaya because they have natural bromelain and papain enzymes
– Keep taking the 1 to 6 tbsp dose of ACV everyday if you don’t have the burning sensation
– You should massage your abdominal area for stimulating the gastric secretion
– Before eating, take three deep breaths before your meals. Also smell the food because your nose plays the role of first step in digestion. It will help in stimulating saliva secretion in your mouth and release of digestive enzyme from pancreas.
– Make sure to manage stress through deep breathing methods, exercise, meditation and walks in nature
What to Do for High Stomach Acid?
If you have high stomach acid, you must take the following steps:
– Daily add 1 to 2 tsp sodium bicarbonate in 1 glass water
– Don’t lie down right after your meals
– Make sure that you eat food few hours before going to bed
– Engage in regular exercise and lose weight
– Do upper body and abdominal massage for relieving gastric stress and pressure
– Take more sleep and keep your head slightly lifted
– Take three 3 breaths before eating your meals
– Take acid suppression pharmaceutical agents like proton pump inhibitor H2-receptor antagonist and antacid calcium carbonate
– Drink lots of water
– Take smaller foods and meals such as smoothies that can be easily digested
– Properly manage your stress through exercise, meditation, swimming, reading books and gratitude
– Avoid acidic foods like citrus fruits, vinegar and meat. Also don’t drink carbonated beverages and avoid food triggers like tomatoes, chocolate, papaya, pineapple, alcohol, spicy food, and caffeine. Avoid smoking for one week and evaluate the level of discomfort.
The condition could also be taken as peptic ulcer, serious heart condition, lung conditions, or musculoskeletal issues.
So if you see bleeding in your stool or through mouth, or chronic discomfort, or pain without explanation, you must see your doctor.
When acid suppressing pharmaceuticals have been used for some time, you must switch over to other natural alternative, such as get help from a Naturopathic doctor.
But you must not stop or start using some medications without consulting a doctor. This is because the body has to be prepared to eliminate medications and for introducing new alternative therapy.
Other included sources linked in Family Life Goals’s article:
Murphy DW, Castell DO. Chocolate and heartburn: evidence of increased esophageal acid exposure after chocolate ingestion. Am J Gastroenterol. 1988 Jun;83(6):633-6. [link]
Wright LE, Castell DO. The adverse effect of chocolate on lower esophageal sphincter pressure. Am J Dig Dis. 1975 Aug;20(8):703-7. [link]
Featured Image sources: