That heavy, uncomfortable feeling in your chest when you eat bread—a unique chest pain that no other food causes. What truly is going on here?
How can bread cause chest pain
in the first place?
“Bread itself is not the cause of chest pain,” says Stacy Mitchell Doyle, MD, resident physician of FoodTherapyMD and long-time advocate of plant-based nutritional protocols.
So right off the bat, you’ll want to eliminate any ingredients as a culprit.
Dr. Doyle explains, “It is that mechanically, it is being poorly digested and stuck at the junction of your stomach and esophagus.”
The esophagus (“food pipe”) is behind your sternum, so any irritation to it will cause pain in the chest area.
“Any food bolus can cause these symptoms,” says Dr. Doyle. “However, some foods may also be more likely to cause acid reflux, which results in irritation and spasming of the esophagus.
“These are spicy foods, alcohol, tomatoes and peppermint. This spasming causes chest pain, which can be indistinguishable from the chest pain caused by the heart. The solution is to eat small bites, eat slowly and chew your food well.”
And insert sips of water to help smooth out the process.
The esophagus is a muscle, actually, so it’s capable of going into spasms, just like skeletal muscle is. And you may already know just how painful a skeletal muscle spasm is.
Ever get a calf cramp in the middle of the night? How about a toe cramp? The pain is horrendous though very transient.
If you still continue to suffer chest pain from eating bread, you may want to cut back on bread and replace it with something that’s more health-giving to the body, such as brown, wild or basmati rice; barley; or lentils.