Chest discomfort can manifest with or without pain and arise at different occasions for various reasons. Some individuals describe the chest discomfort as a sensation of a band that tightens around the chest or a heavy object on top of the chest.
The pressure-like sensation can come from certain conditions in any part of the chest including the esophagus, chest wall muscles or the heart. In case the symptoms occur after eating, the chest discomfort might be linked to certain foods, how the individual ate or a health condition. If the symptoms are severe or accompanied by pain along with difficulty breathing or rapid heartbeat, it is vital to seek immediate medical care.
There are certain conditions that are linked with chest discomfort after eating that can range from mild to severe. Heartburn is a common and minor cause of chest discomfort that can worsen if the individual bends over or exercises after a meal.
Frequent episodes of heartburn can indicate gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) which is a condition where the stomach contents gush back into the esophagus which is called acid reflux. The chest pressure can also originate from anxiety, obesity, eating too quickly, hiatal hernia or pregnancy. The chest heaviness that lasts for more than a few minutes might indicate a heart attack.
If an individual is prone to chest discomfort after eating, a doctor must be consulted in order to determine if a medical condition is responsible. The consumption of antioxidant-rich foods such as tomatoes, berries, squash and bell peppers as well as foods packed with B vitamins and calcium. These foods can help minimize the symptoms of heartburn, GERD and hiatal hernias.
It is vital to avoid refined foods such as sugary foods, enriched pasta and white bread. Do not forget to include sources of lean protein such as soy, lean meats and cold water fish. In addition, maintain proper hydration by drinking water throughout the day and avoid foods that trigger or worsen the symptoms.
The ideal way to reduce the risk for chest discomfort and other symptoms of GERD, hiatal hernias and heartburn is to avoid lying down after eating, slow down the pace while eating, stop smoking, exercise regularly and maintaining a healthy weight.
Always bear in mind that a heart-healthy diet includes fiber-rich, whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The unhealthy fat sources such as butter, red meat and cheese must be limited to reduce the risk for heart attack and other heart conditions. In addition, cold water fish such as mackerel, salmon, flounder and halibut can provide healthy fats called omega-3 fatty acids that reduce the inflammation and protect the body against heart disease.
There are certain foods that can instigate chest discomfort linked to GERD, heartburn and hiatal hernia. The usual triggers of these conditions include acidic foods such as coffee, tomato sauce and orange juice as well as chocolate, alcohol, spearmint and peppermint, carbonated beverages as well as fatty foods including fatty meats, French fries and full-fat dairy products.