Fact: You don't have to give up all of your favorite foods to avoid heartburn. A well-stocked pantry with heartburn-friendly foods is key. So is making the right choices at restaurants. Foods that trigger heartburn symptoms, such as fats, chocolate, or citrus products can be less tempting when there's a supply of "safe" ingredients in your kitchen cabinets.
It all starts with learning how eating habits and diet can affect your digestive system. Certain spices may trigger heartburn for some, but not others. Some people may love to catch up with friends and chat while eating slowly and others can eat within a few minutes. The key is to identify what triggers your heartburn and make lifestyle and diet changes to see what helps you reduce or avoid heartburn.
Follow these 10 tips for eating well while managing heartburn to kickstart your heartburn-friendly diet.
1. Stay away from common heartburn trigger foods
Stay away from commonly recognized heartburn trigger foods like citrus fruits, chocolate, peppermint, spearmint, tomatoes or tomato-based products, raw onions, and garlic.
2. Avoid fatty or greasy foods as much as possible
Yes – we’re talking about those oh so good french fries and onion rings. Fatty and greasy foods tend to slow down digestion, which means that these foods take longer to process and move out of the stomach. When the stomach is full longer, it gives the acid more opportunity to move back up into the esophagus.
3. Be careful using spices
Every person’s digestive system handles spices differently. Monitor the effect the following spices have on your heartburn. And remember, just because you experience heartburn after using it, doesn’t mean you have to stop using it altogether – moderation is key.
Spices: Cinnamon, ground ginger, coriander, dill, parsley, basil, thyme, tarragon, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, Tabasco sauce, chili powder, curry powder, cloves, mustard seeds, nutmeg
4. Chew gum
When you chew gum, your mouth creates saliva, which acts as a natural barrier to acid. Your saliva can help ease the burning feeling you may experience when you get heartburn.
5. Watch what you drink
Cut back on drinking coffee, citrus juices, carbonated and alcoholic beverages. We know, not something anyone wants to hear. But these beverages can be the cause of heartburn for some people.
6. Practice portion control
By eating large portions, your stomach can become overly full, putting additional pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This can be uncomfortable and lead to a greater chance of acid reflux. Portion control in your heartburn friendly diet can help you avoid discomfort later.
7. Don’t rush through meals
Slowing down how quickly you eat will make you feel fuller—as food has had time to digest. This will decrease the likelihood of heartburn.
8. Finish eating your final meal of the day at least 2-3 hours before going to bed
This time before bed will give your food a chance to digest and stomach volume to go down, reducing pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) when lying down. Lying down is a position in which heartburn is most likely to occur.
9. After a meal, try sucking on hard candy
Surprised to read ‘candy’ since it’s not exactly healthy? Similar to gum, hard candy also triggers the production of saliva. Just be sure to avoid the mint candies that restaurants like to give out after a meal.
10. Fill your pantry and refrigerator with heartburn-friendly items
If you keep heartburn trigger foods at home, it can be difficult to avoid eating them. Consider some of the below options on your next shopping trip:
Whole Grain Pastas or Cereals
Beans, Peas, Lentils
Poultry: White Meat
Red Meat: Lean cuts
11. BONUS TIP: Consider treating your frequent heartburn with Prilosec OTC
Your heartburn friendly diet may be working but if you’re still experiencing heartburn two or more days a week, Prilosec OTC can help treat your frequent heartburn symptoms. Prilosec OTC stops heartburn before it starts, blocking acid at the source.* With one pill a day, you can have 24 hours of heartburn relief and experience zero heartburn.* Prilosec OTC is to be taken for 14 days, no more than every 4 months.
Never tried Prilosec OTC? You can sign up for the Two-Week Challenge for $3 off to help you get started! You’ll also receive 14 days of heartburn tips, tricks and reminders.