When we say that a person experiences hiccups, what does that exactly mean? It indicates that the diaphragm is moving up and down involuntarily. The diaphragm is a dome shaped sheet of muscle found just below the lungs and is connected to the lower ribs. It contracts during inhalation, allowing the lungs to expand and relaxes when the air is exhaled from the lungs. The phrenic nerve is said to regulate movement of the diaphragm. Certain foodstuffs upon consumption can create disturbances in the functioning of the phrenic nerve, which can trigger spasmodic activity in the diaphragm. Given below is some information on certain foodstuffs that lead to hiccups.
Spicy food items like chili, hot pepper and curry may pamper your taste buds but their consumption is likely to cause hiccups immediately after eating. Even a small bite of chili or a hamburger containing a great deal of jalapeno pepper is enough to give you hiccups that may not leave you for more than a minute.
Hot or Cold Foods
Drinking chilled beverages or swallowing very hot food during meals can also cause the diaphragm to contract abnormally. Diaphragm spasms is a common complaint among people who prefer to eat hot food. Even switching from hot to cold food or vice versa while taking lunch or dinner can trigger spasms of the diaphragm.
Certain beverages when taken in excess can trigger sudden episodes of hiccups. Some have the habit of consuming alcoholic beverages during meals. Well, there is no harm in it, but too much intake predisposes a person to hiccups. Too much alcohol consumption while having lunch or dinner causes irritation to the nerves controlling the diaphragm. The irritated nerves are likely to induce spasms into this dome shaped muscle.
Eating Food Hastily
In case of morning rush hours or job deadlines, we tend to either skip or eat the meal hurriedly. Consuming food quickly with minimal amount of chewing may not go too well with the diaphragm. It is likely to respond with an involuntarily muscle movement. In an attempt to swallow the meal in short amount of time, too much air gets swallowed that eventually gets stuck up in the diaphragm. This can also lead to involuntary contraction of diaphragm. Even newborn babies have a tendency to gulp while feeding, which can cause excess swallowing of air. No wonder hiccups in newborns is pretty common. People drinking soft drinks also tend to swallow air excessively, which can result in hiccups.
Indigestion is another cause that can induce sudden hiccups. Heavy meals followed by little physical activity causes indigestion of food. Eating a large sized meal is a common culprit behind sudden onset of hiccups. Those who have the habit of overeating are bound to experience hiccups after meals on a daily basis.
Hiccups after eating is not a cause of concern and usually doesn't require any medical treatment. In fact, it is a minor issue and goes away within a minute or two. Drinking adequate water just after the episode of hiccups starts is an effective hiccups treatment to stop involuntary contraction of diaphragm. Making some simple dietary changes will ensure that hiccups do not occur after eating. Stop the habit of consuming very spicy meals. Following a diet that is less spicy and more nutritious can go a long way in preventing these hiccups. In order to prevent indigestion, one should avoid over indulging in anything. Having smaller meals throughout the day coupled with adequate exercise will ensure that indigestion does not occur, thereby keeping hiccups at bay.