Ways To Quell The Fire Of Heartburn
Heartburn is a common problem. It’s caused by the backwash of stomach acid into the esophagus, the tube connecting the mouth and stomach. This is formally called gastroesophageal reflux disease . More than just a minor discomfort, heartburn can significantly reduce quality of life. “Heartburn can cause damage to the esophagus and even increase the risk of cancer if ignored and untreated,” says Dr. William Kormos, editor in chief of Harvard Men’s Health Watch and a primary care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital.
These eight steps can help ease heartburn.
Take The Pressure Off
One of the best and easiest anti-heartburn strategies, say our experts, is simply to relax during and after meals. Thats because stress and indigestion go hand-in-hand. When the body is under stress, it puts off housekeeping chores, like making mucus to coat and protect the stomachs lining.
Stress also leads to speed-eating, less chewing and, ultimately, disrupted digestion. When youre stressed, the LES relaxes and the sphincter at the bottom of the stomach tightens up, Hyman explains. The result is food traveling back up your esophagus. Taking a few deep breaths during a meal may be enough to reverse that trend.
For more tips on how to ease heartburn, see the sidebar Heartburn Dos & Donts, below. Most heartburn can be easily resolved, says Lipski. No one should accept heartburn as just how it is.
Consuming Aloe Vera Can Sometimes Help Reduce Symptoms Of Acid Reflux
“Aloe vera is famous as a natural healing agent and also appears to reduce gastric acid levels naturally. It is available as a living plant but the leaves or liquid form are sometimes sold separately in grocery and health food stores,” bariatric surgeonDr. Michael Jay Nusbaum told INSIDER. He also said the liquid form of aloe can be used as a thickening agent when preparing certain dishes.
Liquid aloe vera can have a slightly sour taste, so you may want to add a drizzle of honey if you plan to consume it undiluted. And if you want your aloe vera to be as fresh as possible, you can keep a live plant in your home and remove its leaves as needed.
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What Are The Food Triggers For Acid Reflux
A food diary is an invaluable tool for working out the foods which act as your triggers record what and when you eat and drink, what activities you were involved in after eating and what symptoms you experienced. Keeping a journal or using an app or tracker for at least a week can help identify your personal food triggers.
Typical culprits can be divided into three categories:
- Foods which are acidic in nature and cause irritation to the lining of the oesophagus such as tomatoes, onions and citrus fruits, as well as spices.
- Food and drinks which cause the stomach to distend, including carbonated drinks and large, calorie-dense meals.
- Foods which promote relaxation of the LES including caffeinated drinks like coffee, chocolate, mint, alcohol, fatty and fried foods as well as carb-rich meals.
Eating any of these foods late in the evening whether as a full meal or substantial snack may also aggravate symptoms.
Foods That Help Heartburn
Many people experience occasional heartburn or acid reflux. Heartburn is the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus, and itâs often caused by what you eat. Thankfully, there are certain foods that are known to reduce, relieve, and help heartburn.
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More Foods To Soothe Heartburn
Other foods and herbs have long been treatments for reflux and upset stomach. But keep in mind that while they may provide relief for some, “they won’t work for everyone,” says gastroenterologist Jay Kuemmerle, MD, of Virginia Commonwealth University. You might want to try:
- Fennel. This crunchy vegetable with a licorice flavor makes a great addition to salads. There’s some evidence that fennel can improve your digestion. It has a pH of 6.9, so it’s low in acid, too.
- Ginger. A long-standing natural treatment for upset stomach, ginger does seem to have benefits for reflux.
- Parsley. That sprig of parsley on your plate isn’t only for decoration. Parsley has been a traditional treatment for upset stomach for hundreds of years. And there’s some evidence that it can help with acid reflux.
- Aloe vera. This is another old treatment for GI problems that seems to help with reflux. You can buy aloe vera as a plant or as a supplement — in capsules, juices, and other forms. It works as a thickener in recipes.Just make sure itâs free of anthraquinones , which can be irritating to the digestive system.
Foods That Help Heartburn And Indigestion Relief:
1. Egg Whites: They are an excellent supply of protein and are low in acid. Simply skim the yolk, thats more prone to cause the symptoms.
2. Rice and Couscous: These healthy complex carbs are excellent for those who have reflux. When selecting rice, go for brown rice that contain more fiber.
3. Parsley: For tens of thousands of years, parsley was utilized as a medicinal herb to settle the stomach and help digestion. Level-leaf and curly parsley are broadly accessible, plus thousands of years make an excellent garnish and seasoning.
4. Celery: Wild Celery has practically no calories due to its high water content, and is an excellent option for those who have acid reflux. Its also an appetite suppressant and superior supply of roughage.
5. Fennel: The fennel is an excellent food for acid reflux and really appears to enhance gut function. This vegetable has a special tastea light licorice flavor. It really makes a wholesome salad with baby spinach and arugula. It is also excellent in chicken dishes, and makes a wonderful bite in the event you like the flavor.
6. Banana: The bananas produce an excellent bite, and at pH 5.6, they are generally excellent for individuals with acid reflux. Nevertheless, about 1% of acid refluxers discover their condition get worse by bananas. So remember that what works for most folks may not meet your needs.
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Eating Oatmeal And Whole Grains Can Help Reduce The Acid That Builds Up And Causes Heartburn
“Acid is the irritating factor in heartburn and the fiber in oatmeal and whole-grain products like whole-grain bread and pasta can help reduce it. The high fiber content of these foods helps to absorb and reduce the acid that builds up and causes heartburn,” registered dietitianEmily Wunder told INSIDER.
When cooking these whole grains, you may want to avoid pairing them with ingredients that are known to trigger heartburn, like tomato or garlic.
Gerd Diet: Foods That Help With Acid Reflux
Getting a case of acid reflux once in a while isn’t unusual, but some people suffer from burning discomfort, bloating and belching almost every time they eat. About 20% of the population has gastroesophageal reflux disease , a chronic acid reflux condition that’s diagnosed by a doctor.
Normally, the esophageal sphincter protects the esophagus from stomach acid. However, if the sphincter relaxes, food can push upward through the loosened opening and cause acid reflux.
“Diet plays a major role in controlling acid reflux symptoms and is the first line of therapy used for people with GERD,” says Ekta Gupta, M.B.B.S., M.D., gastroenterologist with Johns Hopkins Medicine.
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Consuming Lean Proteins Instead Of Fatty Ones Might Help You To Avoid Triggering Heartburn
A common dietary trigger of heartburn is consuming excess fat, which can be found in fried foods or certain meats like beef or lamb. Opting for leaner protein sources can potentially help to prevent acid reflux.
“Choose lean sources of protein like grilled chicken or turkey, egg whites, and even beans or legumes. These protein sources are lower in acid than red meat with very little fat,” registered dietitian Katie Hughes told INSIDER.
You may also want to bake or broil proteins instead of frying them if you’re trying to avoid triggering acid reflux, as frying foods can increase the fat content of a dish.
Great Foods You Can Eat With Gerd
Gastroesophageal reflux disease, otherwise known GERD, is a chronic and severe type of acid reflux. The condition manifests when the acid in your stomach flows back up into your esophagus. There are several reasons this may occur, with one common cause being a weakened or damaged lower esophageal sphincter . Designed to stop food from reentering the esophagus, the LES closes to keep it in the stomach to be digested. When it does not work properly, you may suffer from heartburn or other discomforts like chest pain and cough. A proven form of managing acid reflux is a healthy diet. Knowing what foods to eat with GERD can keep your symptoms from disrupting your life.
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Natural Ways To Prevent Heartburn
One in three Americans regularly experience acid reflux. Try these food- and lifestyle-based strategies to tame the flame.
Hand sanitizer and toilet paper aren’t the only products flying off shelves lately. Heartburn medications are also more in demand than ever, as reports of acid refluxwhen stomach acid or food flows back up into the esophagus, causing symptoms like chest pain or that on-fire feeling in your throatare on the rise nationwide. Experts like Carolyn Newberry, M.D., co-director of Weill Cornell Medical College’s Innovative Center for Health and Nutrition in Gastroenterology in New York City, say factors contributing to this spike include changing eating patterns, weight gain and less physical activity.
Over-the-counter and prescription acid-suppressive medications can help. But wariness of long-term use and potential side effects have more people seeking nonpharmacologic therapies, says Newberry.
Here we take a look at what heartburn is, plus offer diet and lifestyle remedies to help improve your symptoms.
Pictured Recipe: Quinoa Avocado Salad
Foods That May Help Reduce Your Symptoms
Reflux symptoms may result from stomach acid touching the esophagus and causing irritation and pain. If you have too much acid, you can incorporate these specific foods into your diet to manage symptoms of acid reflux.
None of these foods will cure your condition, and your decision to use these specific foods to soothe your symptoms should be based on your own experiences with them.
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Best Foods For Acid Reflux
A diet balanced with vegetables, protein and fruits is best, Dr. Khaitan says. Examples of the best foods for acid reflux include:
- Chicken breast Be sure to remove the fatty skin. Skip fried and instead choose baked, broiled or grilled.
- Lettuce, celery and sweet peppers These mild green veggies are easy on the stomach and wont cause painful gas.
- Brown rice This complex carbohydrate is mild and filling just dont serve it fried.
- Melons Watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew are all low-acid fruits that are among the best foods for acid reflux.
- Oatmeal Filling, hearty and healthy, this comforting breakfast standard also works for lunch.
- Fennel This low-acid crunchy vegetable has a mild licorice flavor and a natural soothing effect.
- Ginger Steep caffeine-free ginger tea or chew on low-sugar dried ginger for a natural tummy tamer.
The Cause Of Acid Reflux
When reading through this infographic, you may have stopped and questioned why having too little acid in your stomach would cause acid reflux. Thats because many people believe acid reflux is caused by having too much acid in the stomach. While its easy to understand why someone would think that, the truth is stomach acid is very important for breaking down the food we eat and to properly absorb it. If your stomach acid is too high, that will actually stop the body from breaking down the food you eat. The fact is, problems begin to arise when acid comes out of your stomach where its supposed to remain .
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Fennel And Green Vegetables
Fennel is not common in Western diets, but it can be a delicious, heartburn friendly addition to your diet.
Fennel is considered a low acid vegetable, so it should be safe for most people who have heartburn.
An easy way to add fennel to your diet is to slice the bottom white part and put in with your salads. It can also be eaten just how it is for a crunchy, slightly licorice taste.
Eating Spinach Can Potentially Help Reduce Stomach Acidity
“Spinach is rich in calcium, which increases bone health, and it’s highly alkaline, which helps the stomach to reduce acidity levels,” Scabardi said. Spinach is a versatile ingredient that can be added to recipes or smoothies in order to get the most out of its potentially soothing impact on heartburn.
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When To Talk To Your Doctor About Acid Reflux
It’s a good idea to speak with your doctor if the best foods for acid reflux do not relieve your symptoms, Dr. Khaitan says. Other options can include lifestyle changes, medications to block acid, and surgical procedures on the esophagus sphincter.
It is important to make a doctor’s appointment if you have heartburn or acid reflux that is severe or frequent, Dr. Khaitan adds. Chronic acid reflux is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease and can lead to esophageal cancer.
How Do You Know If You Have Gerd
Heartburn is an occasional annoyance for millions of Americans. But how do you know when it has progressed to the next level and become chronic hearburn or GERD ? The experts at the American College of Gastroenterology put together a quick self-test to help you figure it out.
- Do you often have one or more of the following:
- Discomfort behind the breastbone that seems to originate from the stomach?
- A burning sensation in the back of your throat?
- A bitter acid taste in your mouth?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions more than twice a week, see an integrative physician for advice.
Thoughts to share?
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How To Manage Symptoms
If you already have acid reflux, theres much you can do to minimize symptoms and perhaps avoid them entirely. Instead of consuming large meals, eat smaller ones more often. Minimize fatty foods and skip fried and fast foods entirely. A friend uses an air fryer to achieve a crispy skin on chicken, but I prefer grilled chicken and skip the skin. Choose lean meats and low-fat or nonfat dairy products, and avoid eating within three hours of bedtime. Also, try sleeping as if on a recliner, with the head of the bed propped higher than the foot.
Foods that many people with GERD find most irritating include tomatoes and citrus and their juices, coffee , alcoholic and carbonated beverages, spicy foods, garlic, chocolate and peppermint. I long ago switched to low-acid orange juice, consuming only a few ounces a day to dissolve a fiber supplement. Ive also found instant coffee to be less irritating than brewed, and drink the latter only with food to help protect my digestive tract.
To counter an occasional unexpected attack of heartburn, many people use a quick-acting antacid like Tums to help neutralize stomach acid. A more modern remedy, an H2 receptor blocker like Pepcid , can relieve symptoms within about 20 minutes by blocking the histamine receptors in the stomach that trigger acid production.
Foods To Avoid To Prevent Heartburn
More than half of heartburn sufferers taking medications feel less than satisfied with their results . Fortunately, there are many remedies for heartburn besides simply reaching into the medicine cabinet just a few diet changes may be enough ward off the fiery sensation. Though it very much depends on the individual, there are several common trigger foods that tend to affect many people and may be worth avoiding.
- Coffee and other caffeinated food and drink
- Carbonated beverages
- Large, fatty and/or fried meals
How To Prevent Acid Reflux With Cancer Treatment
Acid reflux, heartburn, indigestion, sour stomach, etc. no matter what you call it, it can be an uncomfortable issue. There are foods to prevent acid reflux and acid reflux with cancer treatment is a common side effect. Eating Well Through Cancercookbook includes recipes for cancer patients like this easy to tolerate Rice and Pasta recipe. Sometimes caused by the cancer itself or other factors, such as treatment, diet, being overweight, or inactivity. Acid reflux is also a risk factor in developing esophageal cancer so how to prevent acid reflux? For some it can cause a few hours of discomfort, but for others it can be the difference in eating and not eating. Below Savor Health has provided a few tips to prevent and help acid reflux during cancer treatment and beyond. Be sure to try the Rice and Pasta recipe.