The burning sensation in the stomach may be defined as a feeling of discomfort, pain, irritation and hotness starting from the stomach to all the way up to the esophageal tract. Burning sensation in the abdominal region particularly in the stomach area is often a sign of underlying disease conditions.
- Stomach is a sac-like, muscular organ located right after the esophagus (food pipe). It is responsible for the digestion of the food it receives from the esophagus.
- Mucosal layer of the stomach secretes a variety of enzymes and gastric juices that results in the digestion and metabolism of food.
- Hydrochloric acid is also secreted by the mucosal layer in the form of gastric juices
- The acidic environment of gastric sac (pH around 1.5 to 3.5) helps in the digestion of the proteins present in the food. This is done by the activation of enzyme Pepsinogen to Pepsin.
- Beneficial Role of HCl in stomach:
- HCl performs many essential functions in the stomach. It acts as a strong antibacterial and mycobacterial agent. The toxins and bacteria present in the food are killed when the come in contact with HCl in the gastric mucosa.
- The protein digestion is an important role played by HCl too. Large molecules of proteins are broken down into smaller units called metaproteins. They can be stored for further digestion and metabolism later in the digestive tract.
- Activation of Pepsinogen to Pepsin results in the catalysis of Phenylalanine and Tyrosine protein units in the food.
- How HCl can cause stomach burning:
Although HCl and acidic pH is essential for optimal digestion and metabolism of food particles. But if due to any reason the acid begins to damage the inside of stomach wall than it can lead to conditions such as Gastritis, Ulcers and Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). As a result of this damage large molecules of gas may form. These acidic gas molecules can lead to feeling of burning, stinging & pain in the stomach and esophagus tract, also known as Stomach burning.
Symptoms of stomach burning:
Some of the commonly experienced symptoms in the case of burning stomach pain are as follows:
- Feeling of fulness
- Bloating and gas
- Stinging pain in the middle chest region
- Frequent burps
Other associated symptomatic conditions include headache, bloody stools, burning sensation while urinating, high blood pressure, feeling of chest compression from the gaseous molecule etc.
Causes for burning sensations in stomach:
Burning or acidic like feeling produced in the stomach on empty stomach or after meal can be extremely troublesome. The feeling can last for quite some time and it can also produce concomitant side effects on the body. Some of the common causes for burning stomach are as follows:
- H. pylori Infection
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Peptic ulcers
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Stomach cancer
- Obstruction in gastric outlet particularly from stomach to intestines.
Other common causes for burning in the stomach are:
- Diet containing high content of caffeine
- Spicy food
- Carbonated and frizzy drinks
- Low fiber diet/ fatty food/ oily food/ fried food
- Smoking cigarettes
- Stress and lack of proper sleep
- Food allergies such as gluten, lactose or certain other protein allergies
- Medications such as ANSAIDs (ibuprofen, diclofenac, celecoxib etc.)
What foods can help treat stomach burning:
Since the acidity or burning is associated with both disease conditions as well as lifestyle choices. Therefore, in order to alleviate the symptoms, the root cause must be eliminated. In addition, lifestyle and dietary modifications play an important role in the remission of the conditions.
Some of the foods that can help with the symptoms are as follows:
High fiber diet:
Fibers are the bolus producing agents during the digestion process. Fiber help absorb toxins, unwanted waste, bacteria, and acidic material in the diet. Therefore, high fiber diet acts as an aid to relieve gastric gases and improve digestive cycle as well. Fibers rich foods are as follows:
- Green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, broccoli, fenugreek leaves etc.
- Fruits such as grapes, berries, apples, bananas etc.
- Kidney beans, lentils
- Walnuts, almonds
- Chia seeds
- Wheats and barley
Probiotics containing foods:
Probiotics acts as good bacteria and improve the body’s response against toxins. They also help cope against other potentially harmful bacteria such as Helicobacter pylori. Vegan sources of probiotic rich foods are kimchi, miso, sauerkraut etc. Other sources for probiotics are as follows:
- Shallots and onions
- Kidney beans
Vitamin B rich foods:
Vitamin B complex include biotin, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin etc. It has proven benefits in reducing acidic reflux. The acids from the stomach can reflux back to the esophagus such as in the case of GERD. It can help relieve gas bubble formations. Foods containing vitamin B are as follows:
- Seeds such as sunflower seeds, sesame seeds
- Nuts such as walnuts, almonds, pistachio, hazelnuts
- Wheat and cereals
- Certain mushrooms such as Oyster mushrooms are a rich source of vitamin B complex
Although spicy foods trigger the release of excess gastric secretions and enzymes. However, certain herbs and spices have proven benefits in preventing excess HCl secretion.
Turmeric is particularly beneficial in this regard. The chemical constituents of turmeric include Demethoxycurcumin, curcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin. They help in relieving burning sensation and acidity by following mechanisms:
- Improve and repair the gastric lining.
- Protective role against H. pylori bacterium induced ulceration and acidity
- Antagonize the ulcer related oxidative stress. Curcumin can help prevent protein catalysis. Thus, improve the gastric pH
Honeydew Melon Crisp
- ½ bunch parsley
- 2 pears stem removed
- 1 coconut meat & water
- ¾ cup mango use firm mangos to avoid necture consistancy when juicing them
- ¼ cup mango add. topping
- Clean all fruits and vegetables thoroughly
- Juice the parsley first
- Chop the coconut meat and mango into cubes
- Save the coconut water for later
- Add the coconut meat and mangos into juicer
- Lastly add the 2 pears
- Stir thoroughly and enjoy
Parsley is great for the following:
- Effective in removal of H. pylori bacterium from the body
- Washes off excess toxins via improved excretion
- Removes gas build up and bloating from the body
High water content foods:
One of the main causes for stomach burning is direct effect of HCl on the mucosal wall. Therefore, health professionals advise high water intake to prevent this low pH induced damage. Water or watery foods can help Dilute the acid and therefore increase the pH from low to neutral.
In addition to drinking optimum quantity of water in a day, doctors advise to eat fruits and vegetables that are high in water content. Some of these fruits are as follows:
Some vegetables are also a great water source such as:
- Green cabbage
Alginate containing plants:
For years alginate compound has been used for the purpose of treating acid reflux. Large gaseous molecules of acidity rise upto the esophageal tract and produce heartburn, stomach burning, and acidity. Alginate works by producing a gel-like substance inside the stomach knows as Raft. Raft acts as protective barrier for the stomach lining. It sticks to the wall of the stomach and prevent the gastric acid from directly acting onto the mucosal wall. Thus, help treat stomach burning.
- Found in algae such as seaweed and brown algae
- Frequently used in antacid medications
- Can also act as an alternate to Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) for treating ulcers and GERD.
Stomach burning, acidity and pain are extremely common and potentially non-life-threatening conditions. However, acidity & stinging like sensations can alter the quality of life. Usually, there is an underlying pathological reason for the burning that warrants actual medication. However, more often than never, it is a result of bad life style and dietary choices. Consumption of above-mentioned foods in any form can help relieve acidity and stomach burning.