Those of us who play sports have perhaps never associated heartburn with intense physical activity. Could it happen that after a demanding workout you have some gastric disturbance? Heartburn in particular can happen. Let’s see why and how to remedy with nutrition.
Heartburn: What Is It?
First of all, we understand what heartburn is, a feeling that many of us will know. Heartburn or gastric heartburn is a condition characterized by a more or less acute burning sensation at the base of the sternum; it often spreads to the esophagus and pharynx.
This condition is usually associated with gastric acidity and reflux. Sometimes heartburn occurs at the same time as other symptoms, such as difficulty or pain in swallowing, nausea, dry cough, vomiting, wheezing, and breathing noises.
That said, have we ever noticed a worsening of heartburn (if we already have it) or episodes of acute onset? Well, if so, it may be useful to know that intense athletic activity could be a predisposing factor. We understand better why.
Is There A Link Between Sports And Heartburn?
Intense sporting activity can interfere with digestion: in fact, the more intense sporting activity is and the closer you are to your personal endurance limit, the more the body is “forced” to give priority to the processes involved in athletic performance, that is, the activity that requires a greater supply of blood.
The blood is rich in oxygen and nutrients, and will therefore be conveyed mainly to the muscles, to the detriment of other organs and therefore other functions, such as digestion.
For this reason, especially in the case of exercises that involve excessive intra-abdominal pressure or tension, heartburn can arise. Heartburn during or after physical activity can be caused by at least three factors :
Increased intra-abdominal pressure;
Alteration of the motility of the esophagus during athletic effort;
Increased release of the cardia, that is, the valve that connects the stomach and esophagus, which usually prevents the gastric contents from returning from the stomach to the esophagus.
Some sports could aggravate the situation, especially bodybuilding and therefore weight lifting, abdominals, and rowing can make heartburn worse. Not only. This condition could be aggravated by other predisposing factors, linked to a bad performance of the sport.
Let’s Fight Heartburn With Friendly Foods And Good Habits
We must not give up on training, because workouts and fitness are always recommended in a healthy lifestyle.
The first step to reducing and preventing heartburn after sports is to find a balance between a type of training and intensity suited to our abilities and a diet that is well tolerated by the stomach.
In general, the sportsman’s diet must be varied and based on the principles of the Mediterranean diet: basic foods include fruit, vegetables, and vegetables, followed by complex carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, rice, spelled, potatoes, but also legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils), other nutrients well present in the food pyramid, which contain carbohydrates and proteins.
Then we find animal proteins (fish and eggs), and meat, which should be inserted no more than twice a week, and should include poultry or other lean white meat. As a condiment, we choose raw extra virgin olive oil. Dairy products and other products such as sweets and confectionery are present in smaller quantities in this diet.
Citrates And Vitamins Can Help
The citrates counteract gastric hyperacidity, thanks to their alkalizing action which helps to balance the gastric pH. Vitamins B1 and B2 promote digestive functions, while vitamin B6 counteracts the feeling of nausea.
And finally, a short vademecum to follow carefully:
1: After physical activity, always drink plenty of water, in small sips and frequently ;
2: Among the relaxation tips, let’s not forget the cool-down phase at the end of the sport. The pre-workout stretching or muscle lengthening phase is also very important.
3: Integrate the lost sugars with fresh fruit (we avoid citrus fruits and kiwis), or dried fruit, avoiding packaged snacks;
4: Before training avoid the consumption of acidic foods (for example chocolate, mint, citrus fruits, tomatoes, spices, alcohol, tea, coffee, cola);
5: Do not train on a full stomach, but wait at least three hours ;
6: Prefer light cooking methods. Light preparations such as boiling, grilling, baking, or steaming will make foods light and easily digestible.
7: Eat five moderate meals a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus two hunger-breakers, one mid-morning and one mid-afternoon. In fact, having a snack (an apple, a banana, or a handful of dried or fresh fruit) will allow us to avoid long hours of fasting and prevent acidity problems, above all it will help us to arrive less hungry for dinner.
8: Eat slowly and chew for a long time. In fact, remember that the first phase of digestion takes place in the mouth, thanks to the digestive enzymes contained in saliva.