Millions of people around the world suffer from heartburn occasionally. It is a common problem; however, you shouldn’t take it lightly. When you have heartburn, the pain may be as bad as a heart attack. Leaving the condition untreated can lead to more severe diseases like GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease), ulcer, or even cancer.
What is heartburn?
After we eat, our food gets churned up in the stomach. The stomach is acidic and during acid reflux, some contents of the stomach get back into the esophagus. The delicate tissue of the esophagus cannot withstand the acid, so we feel pain and discomfort. You will have a dry cough, sore throat, hiccups, bloating or bitter taste at the back of the throat when you have heartburn.
Best foods to eat when you have heartburn
The foods you eat affect how much acid is produced by the stomach. So, it is necessary to consume the right combination of food items and drinks so that you don’t experience heartburn. You should eat foods that have low-acid content because the acid in the stomach combined with the acid in food can make the condition worse. Here is a list of the best foods to eat when you have heartburn.
You should know that citrus foods trigger acid reflux and therefore you must stay away from them. Banana is a non-citrus fruit and is good to eat. Its pH level is neutral and so it won’t increase the amount of acid in our stomach. Whenever you feel the symptoms of heartburn, you can grab a banana and eat to feel better. It will stick to the lining of esophagus forming a protective coat and you won’t feel that pain anymore. Here are some other benefits of banana:
- It contains potassium that is alkaline and reduces the acidity in the stomach.
- It contains protein and sulfur which helps in digesting food properly.
- It has protease inhibitors that help to get rid of the bad bacteria present in the stomach.
- It is rich in Vitamin B6 that strengthens the esophagus.
- It has pectin, a soluble fiber, which lets the food pass smoothly through the stomach.
- It contains prebiotics that helps to ferment the good bacteria in the stomach and so lowers the chance of acid reflux.
- It secretes lots of mucus that protects the walls of the intestine from gastric acid.
You should eat a banana every day to stay healthy. Just eat it with your breakfast or at any other time and reduce the chance of heartburn.
Oatmeal is full of fiber and is very filling. It is a great way to start the day and avoid any heartburns. It can absorb the acid produced in the stomach and so the symptoms of acid reflux will be reduced. Oatmeal has the following benefits:
- It is rich in selenium which is an antioxidant and so good for the body.
- It provides a protective coat on the food pipe so that gastric acid cannot affect it.
You must choose gluten-free unsweetened oatmeal. Make sure you don’t include any dairy with it; instead use soy milk or water to prepare it. You should avoid having any cream as topping as it may trigger the acid reflux.
You should choose vegetables that are less acidic, like green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, etc. These vegetables will lower the amount of stomach acid. Vegetables will give you the following benefits:
- They help to manage weight and so lower the chance of heartburn.
- They are full of fiber that will make you feel full.
With these vegetables, you shouldn’t add any dressing like cheese or pepper that may increase the acid level in the stomach. Also, you should avoid eating processed vegetables as these may contain acid-inducing fat.
Wild salmon is a great choice when you have heartburn. It has astaxanthin, an antioxidant that reduces the symptoms of acid reflux. Salmon is rich in omega-3 and so is very good for your health. But, you should not fry the fish; instead, steam or grill it. You should avoid using any fatty sauce as well.
5. Egg whites
Egg whites contain protein that is good for the body. They are less acidic as well and so can reduce the symptoms of acid reflux and prevent heartburn. You shouldn’t eat the yolk as it has fat which may trigger acid reflux. Try to include egg whites in your everyday breakfast if you have symptoms of heartburn.
The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger make it a natural remedy for treating heartburn. Ginger has the following beneficial properties as well:
- It boosts the immune system, so is good for gut healing.
- It prevents the growth of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori which causes stomach ulcers.
- It can make you feel better and prevent the development of nausea due to acid reflux.
- It helps the foods to move through bowels and prevents the formation of acidity or gas.
You can have ginger in the raw form or add it in smoothies. Drinking ginger tea can also give you similar benefits.
You must know that turmeric has been used as an alternative medicine for many years. It is also very effective in getting relief from heartburn for the following reasons:
- It has an active component called curcumin which heals the cells of the esophagus. This reduces the burning sensation and you won’t feel any discomfort.
- It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds that help to reduce the symptoms of heartburn and also improves digestion.
You can take the turmeric powder orally, use it in cooking or take supplements. You will have less possibility of having heartburn if you include turmeric in your diet regularly.
Many people have the misconception that you shouldn’t have pineapple during heartburn. But, it’s actually the opposite because pineapple can help to lower the symptoms of heartburn.
- It contains a compound called bromelain that digests proteins easily and prevents indigestion.
- It reduces pain and inflammation caused during heartburn.
- It contains lots of fiber and so helps to prevent constipation.
Though pineapple is a bit acidic, you can still eat it and feel better when you have heartburn. However, you should eat it moderately to prevent any side effect.
9. Aloe Vera
You can drink aloe vera juice to get relief from heartburn. It has anti-inflammatory properties, so can reduce the discomfort. It improves digestion and as a result, you will have less chance of having heartburn. It is packed with amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that are very good for the body.
Yogurt is alkaline in nature and can maintain the pH level in the system. It has probiotics that increase the production of good bacteria and keeps the bad bacteria under control. As a result, there is less chance of heartburn or other digestion problems. It reduces inflammation and is best suited for acid reflux.
You should avoid eating any spicy, high-fat foods or caffeine as these will cause heartburn. Include the foods just mentioned in your diet regularly and you will have less risk of suffering from heartburn.
Along with the food habits, you should bring some changes to your lifestyle as well in order to prevent heartburn. Here are some suggestions for you:
- Reduce your weight if you are overweight and always try to maintain a healthy weight.
- Quit smoking and avoid drinking alcohol.
- When you sit for breakfast, lunch or dinner, eat slowly and don’t rush.
- You should eat in small portions and also avoid overeating. If you eat more food at once, your stomach will find it hard to digest the food.
- Have chewing gum as it produces saliva and controls the acid reflux. However, you should avoid the spearmint and peppermint flavors.
- Don’t go to bed right after eating. You should walk around and stay upright for at least 2 hours after eating. That way the acidic contents in your stomach won’t be able to flush back and cause that irritating feeling.
- Avoid wearing tight clothing as it will increase the abdominal pressure and may trigger heartburn symptoms.
- While sleeping, have a couple of pillows so that your head is raised and you don’t have any heartburn issue while sleeping.
If you find that your symptom of acid reflux is not improving, then you should take antacids or other over-the-counter medicines. If the condition becomes severe, you should consult a doctor. Food reaction is not the same for everybody so you should maintain a journal for yourself to keep track of the foods that trigger acid reflux in your case.
If you have other health issues for which you are taking medications, then you need to find out from the doctor if these medications are increasing acid production. If so, you should ask the doctor to give you alternative medicines. You can keep your heartburn problem under control by eating the right foods and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.