White Castle burgers causing chest pain. Remedy?
March 26, 2010 11:33 AM   Subscribe

Can you offer a health/diet remedy for food-induced chest pains?

I'm 31 year old female in good health. I am one of those "alt health" types who feel that their body responds very quickly to good/poor dietary choices. For example, I notice that my thinking and concentration get fuzzy when I eat highly processed food, and I usually feel great when I focus most of my diet on raw or cooked vegetables. Occasionally I eat crap, and in the past two days I cleaned out a box of microwave White Castle cheeseburgers. Beyond the expected feelings of poor concentration and dour mood, I'm also experiencing some tightness and small pains in my chest. I would guess it is heartburn, but it's been going on for a couple of days now. I've heard that hydrogenated foods can cause some chest pains -- I am curious if anyone has ideas about what the pains are AND what food/diet remedies might be helpful?
posted by alice_curiouse to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Try some Pepcid AC or something similar and see if they go away.
posted by caddis at 11:38 AM on March 26, 2010

It's probably reflux. Things that will precipitate this, in my experience, include chocolates, alcohol, caffeine, spicy food, and possibly some dairy products. I'd suggest Gaviscon with a tall glass of water -before- the anticipated onset of these pains. I'd also recommend this before bedtime, since reflux is more likely at bedtime and by reducing stomach acidity at bedtime you'll be taking better care of your esophagus. To avoid brain fog, I recommend avoiding starches, breads, and any processed food, eat more protein, increase your intake of plain water and cut back on other beverages. Personally I don't think hydrogenated foods or the lack thereof makes a difference. Of course you will want to see a doctor on all this since this is just Internet advice and make sure we're not ruling out something else.
posted by crapmatic at 12:31 PM on March 26, 2010

I had simlar problems for years especially with greasy foods. I am now taking 2 generic prilosec a day. It turned out I had worn away part of my esophgous with acid reflux. See a doctor if you can and make sure you are not doing the same. Acid reflux is not something to take lightly and the other explanations for chest pains are worse.
posted by Tashtego at 1:02 PM on March 26, 2010

I had pretty severe acid reflux, to the point where I had couldn't sleep from the pain and had an endoscopy to rule out worse health problems. I was told by my doctor that I'd be taking heartburn pills for life. But by altering what I consumed, and making a few other changes, I've mostly eliminated the burning feeling from my life.

I eliminated some drinks completely for 6 months while I allowed my esophagus to heal, and now am much more moderate in how I consume them:
* All caffeinated beverages. I now allow myself the occasional caffeinated tea, but I make sure to go several days between so I don't get re-addicted.
* All alcoholic beverages. I now do drink on weekends or special occasions in moderation. I have to avoid many red wines and strong beers because they tend to be much more acidic; it seems like I can get away with drinking a number of smooth mixed drinks like white Russians, whereas other beverages I can only have one or two at a time.
* All carbonated beverages. I now have maybe one or two a month.

Other food changes that I've stuck with:
* I scaled back my consumption of high-fat, high-grease food. A few slices of cheese with crackers or a handful of nuts are OK; a big greasy quesadilla is not. (If I'm really craving something greasy, limiting the portion size helps a lot.)
* I never allow myself to get way too full. That bulging-belly post-Thanksgiving feeling is a sure prelude to reflux.
* I eat many small meals and snacks, rather than just a few big meals. Today I ate at 7:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., noon, 2:30 p.m., and I'll probably eat again around 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
* I try not to eat within two hours of bedtime (I'm not as good at this).

Non-food changes that make a difference:
* Don't wear tight and constraining clothes, control-top pantyhose or shaping garments that squeeze your midsection. This can push stomach acid up into your esophagus.
* Raise the head of your bed a few inches, by by putting phone books under your mattress. You want to raise the entire plane of your bed, so your head is elevated above your feet when your body is stretched out straight. If you try to accomplish this with pillows, you will bend your body, so don't do this.

I've also heard that chewing gum and eating mint can be bad, although I have not stopped chewing gum, and I don't shun mint when it comes my way.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 5:57 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Chew your food thoroughly.
Try eating parsley. and ginger. avoid high fat meals.
posted by custard heart at 6:03 PM on March 26, 2010

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