Heartburn is a very common symptom of acid reflux and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, or GERD. It typically starts with a burning sensation in your chest that typically becomes quite painful.
Most of us have had heartburn at least once in our lives, but when it becomes a frequent occurrence and interrupts our sleep, we should take notice and figure out the causes.
The simple fact is that what and how much we eat and drink can contribute to painful heartburn or acid reflux. Not everyone has the same triggers, so our approach will stress common foods to avoid and helpful substitutes.
Why We Have Heartburn
A small muscle separating our esophagus from our stomach known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) normally keeps stomach acids from flowing back up into the esophagus. If there is too much acid in the stomach or if our food stays in the stomach too long, it can give us heartburn.
Eat This, Not That
To make this simple we will provide examples of healthy foods to eat that actually help ease heartburn. We will then highlight some similar foods you should avoid.
It doesn’t mean you can never have another milkshake or go to an Italian restaurant. It is a helpful guide if you suffer with heartburn or acid reflux.
- Lean meats like turkey, chicken, fish and seafood. They are best prepared grilled, baked, poached, or broiled.
- Vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, green beans, leafy greens, cucumbers and cauliflower. They reduce stomach acid and are low in fat and sugar. Steaming is best.
- Healthy unsaturated fats like avocados, walnuts, sunflower oil, olive oil, or flaxseed.
- Non citrus fruits and juices like melons, bananas, apples, and pears.
- Ginger and ginger tea, water, egg whites, and oatmeal. Oatmeal absorbs stomach acid.
- Ground beef, sirloin with marbled fat, fried foods of all kinds including chicken, and tangy buffalo wings.
- Deep fried foods, chocolate, spicy foods, potato chips, corn chips, doughnuts and oily salad dressings. Mac and cheese, spaghetti and red sauce should be avoided too.
- Sour cream, milk shakes, ice cream and cottage cheese.
- Orange juice, lemonade, grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, tomatoes and tomato juice.
- Coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, wine and alcoholic beverages, peppermint.
Other General Tips to Reduce Heartburn & Acid Reflux
- Eat smaller meals
- Don’t lie down too soon after eating
- Don’t smoke
- Take home half the meal at a restaurant
- Record what you ate and drank on a night you had heartburn to discover your own triggers.
Talk to the Philadelphia Gastroenterology Consultants about what else can be done to limit your heartburn and acid reflux by scheduling an appointment at our office in Philadelphia, PA today! Our gastroenterologists are highly trained and have extensive experience diagnosing and treating reflux disease. Just call our office at (215) 742-9900.