The symptoms of heartburn are at best, uncomfortable – at worst, debilitating. Now that’s naturally going to cause some trouble. And the simple fact is that you cannot keep living with heartburn – you need to do something about it.
At this juncture, most people opt for Proton Pump Inhibitors, Beta Blockers or Antacids – all medicines that treat the symptom itself, but do nothing much for the underlying condition of GERD. And its treatment is imperative if you want long term relief. For as long as GERD persists, heartburn will be a regular visitor and there’ll be little you can do to treat it.
Now, when GERD reaches severe levels, you can go to a doctor for treatment, but till then, some simple home care and following the best diet for heartburn can actually bring you a world of relief!
So, you must be wondering now…
What is the best diet to treat heartburn?
GERD and heartburn both happen because the lower esophageal sphincter loosens, allowing food to move upwards into the esophagus. When the food brings up acid with it, this causes irritation that you commonly call heartburn.
But having the right foods and following a few changes in the way you eat can actually go a long way in treating the condition.
And when it comes to diet and heartburn, we thought to lay out what foods to eat and what to avoid…
Foods that loosen the LES further and should be avoided:
- Food – dairy, nuts and other items – that are high in fat
- Meat that is high in fat
- Salad dressings and sauces that are creamy
- Citrus fruits
- Acidic fruits and vegetables (example: tomatoes)
- Too much coffee
On the other hand, here are the foods to eat – they promote healthy digestion and therefore help to keep reflux in check:
- Probiotics – either as yogurt or in supplement form
- Food that is high in fiber
- Ginger or fennel for relief
And now for some…
Handy tips on diet related care for GERD and heartburn
- Not everybody’s body reacts the same way to the same foods. For instance, peanut butter is something that may trigger heartburn in some, and help to suppress it in some others. So maintain a food journal so you can track exactly what you are having at those meals which are followed by heartburn.
- Eat smaller meals – an overfull stomach means the upward pressure on your LES is higher and the food and acids will get pushed up.
- Eat more frequently – this speeds up digestion, helping to counteract GERD.
- Prepare food that isn’t too fatty or spicy – you need to go easy for the time being so your GI tract can heal itself.
- Try to cook your meals in minimum oils and using those foods which are safe when you have GERD.
And now for…
A list of foods which are safe when you have GERD
- Red kidney beans
- Split peas
- Scarlet runners
- White kidney beans
- Garbanzo beans
- Navy beans
Most vegetables, excluding tomatoes.
By way of grains:
- Rice (brown, basmati, short-grain, long-grain, wehani)
- Quick cooking grains – grits and oats
- Stone ground cornmeal
You can also have pastas – but again, do not overdo – with neither portion, nor sauce.
You can have most dry condiments and spices, and as for fresh spice – ginger and herbs are good.
When you can eat keeping all these factors in mind, you will be able to slowly tailor the best diet for heartburn for you. And once you’ve got yourself into this regular routine, along with the other lifestyle changes – you will find that heartburn becomes a thing of the past – along with the other signs of GERD!