If you've ever woken up with a scratchy throat after eating certain foods the night before, you're not alone. Many of us have experienced this weird coincidence and wondered, why does eating 'heaty' food give you a sore throat? Is there a scientifical reason behind it?
Heaty Foods: Is That The Real Culprit of Your Sore Throat?
Have you ever gotten a sore throat after eating too much deep-fried food, chocolate, or durian? You probably blamed it on eating too much "heaty" food.
There's a scientific reason why certain foods cause sore throats. The explanation, however, is not due to the "heaty" nature of the food; rather, the explanation is closely related to a type of gastric reflux: Laryngopharyngeal reflux, a medical condition that causes a sore throat after eating fried food (LPR).
Which Type of Foods Triggered Laryngopharyngeal Reflux?
Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) is a condition in which stomach acid and other contents of the stomach flow back up into the larynx (the voice box) and pharynx (the throat). LPR can occur when the lower oesophagal sphincter (LES) does not close properly, allowing stomach contents to leak back up into the oesophagus.
Common foods that are known to cause LPR to include:
Fatty or fried foods: These take longer to digest and put pressure on the LES.
Tomatoes and citrus fruits: The acid in these can trigger LPR symptoms.
Chocolate: This also contains caffeine, which can aggravate reflux symptoms.
Laryngopharyngeal Reflux: How to know if you have it?
Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) is a condition in which stomach acid and digestive enzymes flow from the stomach up to the larynx, causing irritation and inflammation of the vocal cords. You may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
• A “lump” in the throat that doesn’t go away
• Difficulty swallowing
• Chronic cough
• Sensation of post-nasal drip
• Sore throat
If you constantly having the mentioned symptoms, it is advised to see your doctor for a diagnosis. Your doctor will likely ask about your symptoms and medical history, and may also recommend a test called oesophagal pH monitoring.
5 Ways to Prevent Laryngopharyngeal Reflux
Avoiding or limiting the intake of foods that may aggravate LPR, such as oily and spicy foods, alcohol, chocolates, coffee and tea, carbonated soft drinks, and citrus fruits (e.g., lemons and oranges), tomatoes, and so on.
Consuming small meal portion. One can eat several meals throughout the day but never overeat.
No food intake 3 hours before going to bed
Raise the head of the bed to sleep more upright. This allows gravity to prevent stomach contents from going back up the food pipe.
If you are overweight or obese, you should lose weight. Anything that puts additional pressure on your abdomen can aggravate LPR.
Is "Heaty" Food Causes Sore Throat?
Well, "heaty" food may not actually be the root cause of a sore throat. It could be due to certain food intake triggered the laryngopharyngeal reflux, which is a condition that affects the throat and voice box.
It's still a good idea to heed our parents' advice: "don't eat too much fried food, it's heaty!" Since everything in moderation is preferable to excessive consumption of a particular type of food anyway.