"The most classic symptom that people describe is heartburn, and what that typically means is that they have a burning sensation in their chest area," says Sussman. "They can also get bad breath. Some people will cough or get wheezy, and some people can feel pain that is similar to that of a heart attack."
Although there appears to be no great substitute for tomatoes, Sussman suggests not eating them near bedtime.
"There are many people who in the middle of the night are refluxing, and it's because of something that they ate for dinner," she says.
And since gravity is the one thing that helps with acid reflux, when someone lies down with a distended stomach, gravity isn't allowed to work. To help combat against this, Sussman tells her patients to prop themselves up in bed at a 15-degree angle.
If you are all too familiar with the fiery sensation in your lower chest that grabs hold of you after you eat something citrus-y, you have plenty of company. One in every 10 Americans suffers from acid reflux or heartburn on a weekly basis. Although the acid reflux-inducing citrus fruits can vary from person to person, the most common offenders are oranges, grapefruits and lemons.
As with tomatoes, it is the high acid content of these fruits that causes the pain, Sussman says. The aggravation is the same as well; eating citrus-y foods affects the lower esophageal sphincter in much the same way as tomatoes. These foods cause the lower esophageal sphincter to overly relax, allowing acid to squirt back up in to the esophagus, leading to heartburn. Excessive acid reflux can eat away the lining of the esophagus and if left untreated can cause difficulty in swallowing or even cancer of the esophagus.
For those who suffer from acid reflux, the first thing Sussman likes to do is talk about lifestyle modifications.
"Most people want to take a magic pill to cure reflux, but really, everything starts with the patients and the habits they have," she notes. One such lifestyle change she recommends is keeping a food diary to help identify reflux-inducing foods in your diet and then eliminating them.
Sussman does admit that despite lifestyle changes, many patients need to go on medication to help their acid reflux and some many even require surgery to help correct a weakened lower esophageal sphincter.
Although it may be a weekend ritual for many, Askari cautions that consuming high-fat meats such as bacon could be the cause of your arthritic pain, especially when the meats are deep fried. The average slice of bacon is made up of 71 percent fat, and about half of that fat is saturated fat -- and that's before it's cooked.
Eating high-fat meats such as bacon may form the internal substances that are responsible for inflammation, Askari says. And it's this inflammation that leads to increased arthritic pain.
"Saturated fatty acids lead to the formation of arachidonic acid, which in turn converts to inflammatory substances called prostaglandins and leukotrienes, which are pro-inflammatory agents," notes Askari.
And if the prostaglandins and leukotrienes don't get to you, the extra weight you'll put on by consuming fatty foods will, says Dr. Carol Warfield, a professor of anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School.