Heart pain after eating

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Our heart is the most essential organ in our body and is responsible for nothing more than pumping and circulating oxygenated blood throughout our body.

An unhealthy diet due to unhealthy eating habits (greasy or sugary foods, drinking sugary drinks or alcohol) may affect our healthy heart.

Heart Diagram
Heart Diagram

Why does your heart hurt after eating?

Just like in chest pain, heart pain is commonly experienced within the chest and sometimes in the upper abdomen area of the body.

Heart discomfort could be a symptom of many things like:

  • being overweight
  • high levels of bad cholesterol
  • excessive intake of greasy or sugary foods
  • heart disease
  • and many others.

More often than not, heart pain may mean that you have bad eating habits and eat the wrong kinds of food.

Kinds of heart pain:

Heart attack

A short but informative video about the differences between heart attack and heartburn. Duration: 1:44.

Heart attack in any sense is a serious issue. It can be felt as a more severe and prolonged heart pain that could kill anyone with just one attack

Heart attacks occur when the flow of the oxygen-rich blood going to the heart is blocked. When the flow is blocked and unable to be restored as soon as possible, sections of the heart muscle begin to die.

Heart pain due to heart attack is mostly felt in the center area of the chest, spreading over both arms, especially on the left side and up to the lower jaw.

Angina or pectoris angina

Angina Diagram
The heart pain felt after eating might be angina.

Pectoris angina is a severe pain felt in the chest area of the body, caused by a lack of oxygen-rich blood supply that gives tissues the oxygen the body needs. It is usually brought on by too little physical exercise and a poor diet.

Angina occurs when the coronary arteries, the same arteries that supply blood to the heart, are blocked by fatty deposits. When this happens, the artery walls precipitate, causing the flow of the blood to diminish.

Why do we experience heart pain after eating?

As we age, we begin to notice the effects of eating the wrong kinds of food when we were young. Aside from a lack of exercise, excessive eating and eating the wrong types of food have a huge effect on our heart’s health.

This effect may serve as a long-time consequence that, if not corrected, can cause heart disease, heart pain.

Most of the time heart pain after eating is caused by the food that we eat or the way we eat it. Food that is starchy, fatty, and high in bad cholesterol may block the flow of the blood to the heart, causing us to feel heart pain. Eating too much or too fast can also cause heart issues.

What foods can cause heart pain?

Fast Food
Junk food – this is what you should try to avoid

But what do we mean exactly by “unhealthy” kinds of food?

This is food that has a large amount of salt, sugar, saturated fats, and few nutrients. This food is commonly called “junk food”. And because it is high in bad nutrients, it can cause high blood pressure and obesity which in the end may result in heart pain or disease.

You don’t have to be a physician in order to understand the effects of unhealthy food on your heart. What most of us fail to remember, is that unhealthy food will do nothing except produce a poor unhealthy heart, leading to heart attacks and diseases like atherosclerosis and angina.

What foods to eat to avoid heart pain?

Healthy Food
Healthy food – try these instead of fast food, your heart will thank you for it.

They say “you are what you eat”. It sounds clichéd but it is true.

For most people, healthy food is not good-to-taste food. However, what they probably refuse to understand is that these healthy foods are the exact foods that their heart needs; food like almonds, oranges, kale, garlic, dark chocolates, pomegranates, lentils, and sardines.

These healthy foods will all help to protect you from experiencing heart pain and other heart diseases.

On the other hand, sugary, fried, or greasy foods are bad for your heart, stomach, and entire body. Overeating or eating too often such foods often leads to chest, heart, or stomach pains.

So next time you think of your heart, try to remember that regular exercise, rest, constrained bad vices, sufficient water intake and happy thoughts are great but not enough.

You must also consider the importance of a balanced diet and correct eating habits to avoid having too many health complications as you grow older.

Why does your heart feel heavy after eating?

It might sound surprising, but quite often what you feel like heart pain after eating has nothing to do with your heart.

Turns out that about 30%-40% of people ending up in the emergency room thinking they have a heart attack actually have acid reflux.

When you eat too much or too heavy foods, stomach acid might flow back into the food pipe, irritating the lining of the esophagus. This burning sensation is called heartburn (and has nothing to do with your heart).

Something heartburn can be so severe, that people think they have a heart attack.

While some acid reflux symptoms and heart attack symptoms overlap, there are a few differences between the two conditions. E.g. acid reflux usually gets worse when you lie down, heart attack does not.

However, sharp pain in the chest after eating is not a good sign. When you are not sure what causes the pain, you should always ask for immediate medical help!

Final thoughts

Eating has a significant effect on the health of your heart. Try to choose low-calorie, low-fat foods, without added sugars.

Sharp pain in the chest after eating is something that should be diagnosed as soon as possible.

Sometimes the chest pain is caused by acid reflux and is not related to the heart.

Frequently asked questions

Can overeating cause a heart attack?

It might, but if you have a healthy heart, it is not likely.

However, the best thing you can do is to eat reasonable size healthy meals, so that you won’t have to experience heart pain after eating.

What causes pain around the heart after eating?

This might or might not be a heart problem, you should talk to a doctor for a proper diagnosis.

However, the most likely cause in such cases is heartburn, i.e. stomach acids irritating the esophagus.

Muscle problems and other health conditions that are not related to the heart might also cause pain around the heart. There is a separate name for such conditions: non-cardiac chest pain.

What causes pain under the heart after eating?

This again might be a heart-related issue or a digestive problem.