You might be asking yourself what should i eat if i have heartburn? The diet for acid reflux is a very important aspect of doing the acid reflux diet correctly. Acid reflux diet foods can be very helpful in reducing the symptoms of acid reflux and getting your life back to how it was before this whole ordeal.
If you suffer from heartburn, you’ll know that it can ruin your day. the pain can be extreme and last for hours. I’ve found that food is to blame for my heartburn, but luckily there are some simple things i can do to ease the pain if it strikes. Here are a few foods that I should avoid:
What is heartburn?
Heartburn happens when your stomach acid comes up your throat. Foods you should eat if you have heartburn include oatmeal, sweet potatoes, ginger, melons, chicken broth, fennel, non-fat milk, herbs, olive oil and lean meat.
Heartburn happens when your stomach acid comes up your throat. It is also called acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux, but it is a symptom of these conditions.
Ongoing acid reflux that doesn’t get better or interferes with your life is called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. This condition can lead to serious damage and a disease called Barrett’s esophagus.
Symptoms of heartburn include:
- Burning pain in your chest after eating or at night
- Bitter taste in your mouth
- Chest pain when you bend over
- Chest pain when you lay down
- Sore throat
Food moves from your mouth to your stomach through your esophagus. When you swallow, a valve between your esophagus and stomach, called the lower esophageal sphincter, opens and lets food into your stomach. If the valve becomes weak, stomach acid can flush back through this valve.
Pressure on your stomach during pregnancy or obesity and smoking can weaken the valve. Some herbs like spearmint and peppermint can cause the valve to relax, which can cause heartburn.
Other things can trigger heartburn, including:
- Spicy foods
- Citrus foods
- Fatty foods
- Fried foods
- Blood pressure medications
Foods That Fight Heartburn
You’ve heard about the foods that can make your heartburn worse, from coffee to chocolate to tomatoes. But what about foods that could make your heartburn better? Check out some key eats you should add to your diet.
Eat More Low-Acid Foods
When acid and other liquids in your stomach back up into your esophagus, you get heartburn. The acid that’s already in your stomach isn’t the only problem, though.
The natural acids in foods you eat — like many fruits, vegetables, and drinks — play a role, too, says Bani Roland, MD. She is a gastroenterologist and assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University. To curb heartburn, build your meals around naturally low-acid foods like:
- Melons and bananas. While most fruits have a high acid content, these don’t. Bananas are always handy as a snack food. All sorts of melons are good, like watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew.
- Oatmeal. It’s a great way to start your day. Oatmeal doesn’t cause reflux, it’s filling, and it has lots of healthy fiber.
- Bread. Choose whole-grain — it will be the first ingredient on the label — which is made with unprocessed grains. Other healthy-sounding breads — like wheat, whole-wheat, or 7-grain — may be made with refined grains, which are stripped of natural fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients.
- Rice and couscous. These healthy complex carbs are great if you have reflux. When choosing rice, go for brown rice, which has more fiber.
- Green veggies. Broccoli, asparagus, green beans, celery, and cauliflower are all low in acid.
- Lean poultry and meats. Prepare chicken and turkey grilled, broiled, baked, or steamed. Just remove the skin — and don’t fry it, Roland says. Even ground beef and steak can be fine, as long as they’re lean.
- Potatoes. Other root vegetables are good, too — just not onions.
- Fish. Grilled, poached, and baked fish are all good choices. Just don’t fry it or use fatty sauces.
- Egg whites. They’re a good source of protein and are low in acid. Just skip the yolk, which is more likely to cause symptoms.
You can’t tell how acidic a food is by looking at it. It’s not on the nutrition label either. But you can research a food’s pH, which is a score of its acid content. The lower the pH number, the higher the acid — lemon juice has a pH of 2.0. If you aim for foods with a pH of 5 or above, you may have fewer symptoms. You can find the pH level of foods on some government sites and in low-acid diet cookbooks.
Foods that can help heartburn
1. Whole Grains
Whole grains are grains that retain all parts of the seed (bran, germ, and endosperm). Whole grains can be consumed in their whole form or ground. Compared to other grains, they are better sources of fiber, B vitamins, iron, folate, selenium, potassium, magnesium, and other important nutrients. Whole grains can be complete foods, like popcorn or quinoa, or ingredients in other foods, like whole-wheat flour in bread. The amount of fiber found in whole-grain foods may help absorb stomach acid.
Eat these whole grains: Brown rice, oatmeal, and whole-grain bread
Ginger has medicinal properties and anti-inflammatory properties that make it one of the best digestive aids. It’s alkaline, which means that it falls on the opposite side of the pH scale than acidic foods. The low level of acid eases irritation in the gastrointestinal tract. Ginger has been used throughout history for digestive issues.
Add ginger to: Smoothies, soups, and stir fry
3. Fruits and Vegetables
Almost all fruits and vegetables reduce stomach acid. Root vegetables and green vegetables are high in fiber. Foods that are fibrous make you feel full, cutting down on overeating that may contribute to heartburn.
However, some fruits and vegetables can cause heartburn. Garlic can cause heartburn and upset stomach in those who don’t regularly experience gastrointestinal issues. Those who do may have increased symptoms when eating garlic. Onions stimulate acid production which can lead to heartburn. Both garlic and onions are stronger when raw, but some still experience heartburn after eating them cooked.
Citrus fruits, like grapefruit and orange, are high acidity foods. This acid can relax the esophageal sphincter and cause heartburn. Tomato-based foods, like marinara sauce and ketchup, are also high in acid.
Eat these fruits and vegetables: Sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, asparagus, broccoli, and green beans
There are many benefits of yogurt. It soothes an irritated esophagus and is a good source of protein. Yogurt is also a probiotic, a class of foods that contain live microorganisms that maintain the good bacteria in the body. Probiotics usually contain bacteria that add to the healthy microbes in your gut.
5. Lean proteins
Eating lean proteins can reduce symptoms. According to the USDA, a lean protein has fewer than 10 grams of total fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol in a 3.5-ounce serving. The healthiest ways to prepare lean proteins are baked, broiled, poached, or grilled. High-fat meals and fried foods can lead to reflux by decreasing lower esophageal sphincter pressure and delaying stomach emptying.
Eat these lean proteins: Chicken, seafood, tofu, and egg whites
Legumes are a group of vegetables that include beans, peas, and lentils. They’re usually low in fat, have no cholesterol, and are high in nutrients like folate, potassium, iron, and magnesium. Legumes also have beneficial fats and fiber. They’re a good source of protein and a substitute for meat, which has more fat and cholesterol.
Try these recipes: Three-bean salad, couscous with peas and lemon, and lentil soup
7. Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds add fiber, nutrients, and healthy monounsaturated fats to your diet. They may also help absorb stomach acid, reducing heartburn.
Eat these nuts and seeds: Almonds, peanuts, chia, pomegranate, and flaxseeds
8. Healthy fats
Though eating too many fatty foods can trigger acid reflux, fat is a necessary nutrient. It’s essential for heart and brain health, but there are different types of fat. Replacing unhealthy fats with healthy fats may help. In addition, healthy fats also promote heart health because they can reduce the amounts of bad cholesterol in the body.
Top Heartburn Remedies
Heartburn Remedies: The Do’s
1. Understand causes of heartburn and GERD.
Under normal circumstances, the valve between your esophagus and stomach – the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) – acts as a gate to block stomach acid from traveling back into the esophagus. With GERD, the valve relaxes too much, allowing stomach contents to flow the wrong way. If you’re pregnant, elderly or have a hiatal hernia – a condition in which part of the stomach is pushed through your diaphragm and into the chest – you’re more likely to have heartburn or GERD.
2. Eat small portions and chew them slowly.
Large meals bring on large amounts of acid. Stuffing your stomach also adds abdominal pressure and increases acid reflux.If you typically chow down on super-sized portions, shave off at least 20%. Eating smaller portions is one of the tried-and-true heartburn remedies. Eating less helps you lose weight, taming symptoms even further.
If weight isn’t a problem and your portions seem just right, try splitting your three meals into five or six mini-meals.Instead of eating a sandwich, fruit and salad for lunch, eat just the sandwich and salad, and stash the fruit for snack later.
3. Add more fiber to your diet.
The more fiber you eat, the less likely you’ll have GERD, says registered dietitian David Grotto, author of 101 Optimal Life Foods (Bantam). Women should consume 25 grams daily, says the Institute of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of the Sciences in Washington, D.C. (For men, it’s 38 grams.) Unfortunately, most Americans aren’t listening; our average intake is 15 grams a day. Here are some easy ways to boost fiber intake:
- Swap processed foods for whole foods. Eat the apple instead of drinking juice.
- Cook brown rice or barley instead of yellow rice pilaf.
- Eat one small serving of whole grains with each meal.
- Enjoy a variety of at least 1.5 cups of fruits and 2.0 cups of vegetables every day.
- Add chickpeas, kidney beans and other beans to soups and salads.
- Add dried fruit to muffin and pancake batter.
- Sprinkle a few nuts on salads.
- Mix wheat germ or ground flax seed into oatmeal.
4. Seek out a few special foods.
A few specific fruits and vegetables serve as natural (and delicious) heartburn remedies.“Apples, cranberries and cardamom can help heartburn,” Grotto says. The tiny red berry and fragrant spice have antibacterial properties, which may lower your risk of stomach ulcers caused by the bacterium H. pylori, he explains. Apples are also high in pectin, a type of fiber, and the more fiber, the less reflux.Blackberries are another go-to food, he says, because they contain compounds that help heal the esophagus.Put carrots and kale on your list. Their beta-carotene and other nutrients can help repair acid-damaged tissue.
5. Listen to your symptoms.
Studies show that acidic and spicy foods don’t appear to increase gastric acid. Nonetheless, some heartburn sufferers say that spicy foods, tomato products and citrus trigger problems. If that’s your case, eliminate them from your diet on a trial. Otherwise, cutting them out robs you of some essential nutrients.“There needs to be a real emphasis on individualization,” says Grotto, who successfully treated his own GERD several years ago. “I tolerated spicy foods just fine,” he says.
So he increased fruits, veggies, whole grains and fiber and cut back on alcohol and coffee.“I practiced what I preached — and it worked,” he adds.
6. Drop a few pounds.
Lugging extra weight increases abdominal pressure and strains the lower esophageal sphincter.Even normal-weight women are more likely to experience GERD’s pain and discomfort if they gain a few pounds, researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.Hormones secreted by body fat may trigger some of the symptoms, the researchers speculated.
7. Act like a detective.
You’re feeling the burn, but was it chocolate, coffee, mints, pizza or something else that triggered it? The foods and conditions that cause your pain probably aren’t the ones affecting friends and neighbors.To find your triggers, keep a heartburn journal, says Eileen Myers, a registered dietitian in private practice in Nashville, Tenn., and author of a GERD treatment program for nurse practitioners.
Record symptoms, their severity and possible causes. Pinpoint what you ate or drank, how fast and the amount. Then, look for trends. A small notebook will do, but you can find a journal in the Get Heartburn Smart brochure at the National Heartburn Alliance (NHBA) website.