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Foods That Help Prevent Heartburn

When To Visit Your Doctor

Zap That Heartburn Fast! 9 Natural Ways & Foods Prevent Heartburn

Some people find relief on their own, without needing to see a doctor. If you experience symptoms of acid reflux two or more times per week, however, you may want to consider scheduling an appointment as this can indicate gastroesophageal reflux disease. Your doctor may refer you to a gastroenterologist, who can perform tests such as:

  • Barium X-rays: You drink a barium solution and then your doctor takes X-rays of your upper digestive tract
  • Endoscopy: Your doctor inserts a camera into your esophagus to examine the tissue and take a small biopsy if necessary
  • Biopsy: Your doctor takes a small sample of tissue from your esophagus to examine under a microscope
  • Monitoring your pH levels: Your doctor monitors the acidity of your stomach

Seeking treatment for chronic acid reflux is important. Untreated, gastroesophageal reflux disease can lead to cancer of your esophagus. Other complications of untreated gastroesophageal reflux include:

Symptoms of acid reflux can also mimic symptoms of other serious conditions, such as:

How To Prevent Heartburn Through Diet And Lifestyle

Gaby Vaca-Flores, RDN, CLE, sheds light on how to prevent heartburn from occurring and what causes it.

As a dietitian, heartburn is a common condition my clients complain about all the time. In fact, its so common that the American College of Gastroenterology reports that over 60 million Americans feel heartburn at least once a month. Thats about one in five people!

But before you reach for antacids, lets review what causes heartburn and simple dietary and lifestyle changes you can make to manage it.

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Eating Apples May Help To Decrease The Frequency Of Heartburn

Apples are a convenient and healthy snack that can also potentially help to reduce acid reflux symptoms. These fruits are actually packed with pectin, a soluble dietary fiber that’s been found to sometimes decrease the frequency of heartburn.

“Soluble fiber is needed to help regulate digestion and has been shown to decrease heartburn in somestudies,” registered dietitianJeanette Kimszal told INSIDER. “Apples are also a rich source of minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium. These nutrients are helpful for lowering stomach acid.”

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Best Diet For Heartburn Prevention

Heartburn is a common ailment that is experienced by millions of people every day. Indeed, almost everyone will get heartburn at some point in their lives. For most people, it is a mild annoyance that crops up after eating something spicy, fatty, or acidic and then goes away on its own. For others, though, it can become a regular occurrence that decreases ones quality of life and the pleasures associated with eating. While heartburn isnt always caused by specific diet choices, it is usually a primary contributing factor to reduce the chances of getting heartburn, there are some foods and beverages that are best to avoid.

Heartburn: Why It Happens

Foods that prevents Acid Reflux and Heartburn

A muscular ring between the end of the esophagus and the beginning of the stomach normally keeps stomach acid where it belongs — in the stomach. But in people with frequent heartburn, this area, the lower esophageal sphincter muscle , may not prevent stomach acid from splashing up into the esophagus.

Does this mean you just have to live with heartburn? No! A recent survey conducted by the National Heartburn Alliance revealed that 92% of frequent heartburn sufferers point to food as the primary cause of their digestive discomfort.

So, if a change in diet can help you avoid heartburn, which foods should you choose to lose to help head off the pain?

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A Note About Proton Pump Inhibitors

Proton pump inhibitors are the most effective treatments for chronic acid reflux. Theyre generally considered very safe. They reduce your bodys production of gastric acids. Unlike some other medications, you only need to take them once a day to prevent symptoms.

There are also downsides to using proton pump inhibitors on a long-term basis. Over time, they can deplete vitamin B-12 in your body. Since stomach acid is one of your bodys defenses against infection, proton pump inhibitors can also raise your risk of infection and bone fractures. In particular, they can raise your risk of hip, spine, and wrist fractures. They can also be expensive, often costing more than $100 each month.

When To Call A Doctor

Antacids can often relieve symptoms of excess stomach acid. However, sometimes these symptoms mean you have a more serious condition.

Its important that you know how to recognize these conditions and how to respond to them. An upset stomach could actually be gastroesophageal reflux disease or a peptic ulcer.

Antacids can only soothe, not cure, some of the symptoms of these conditions. If you have severe pain that doesnt get better after using the recommended dosage of antacids for two weeks, call your doctor.

Some heart attack symptoms can also mimic stomach pains. You may be having a heart attack if you have severe chest pain that lasts longer than two minutes with any of the following symptoms:

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Heartburn Relief: Food Facts

Though heartburn triggers can vary from person to person, certain food and drinks are more prone to allowing stomach acid to splash up into your esophagus, including:

  • Meats. Ground beef, marbled sirloin, chicken nugget-style, and chicken/buffalo wings.

  • Fats, Oils & Sweets.Chocolate, regular corn and potato chips, high-fat butter cookies, brownies, doughnuts, creamy and oily salad dressings, fried or fatty food in general.

  • Fruits, Vegetables & Juice. Orange juice, lemon, lemonade, grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, tomato, mashed potatoes, French fries, raw onion, potato salad.

  • Other Beverages. Liquor, wine, coffee, and tea.

  • Grains. Macaroni and cheese, spaghetti with marinara sauce.

  • Dairy. Sour cream, milk shake, ice cream, regular cottage cheese.

Foods and beverages like these contribute to heartburn by lessening the effectiveness of the LES to keep stomach contents in the stomach. Smoking also plays a large role, and carbonated beverages should be added to the list as they can put pressure on the stomach, forcing stomach acid back up into the esophagus.

Avoid the foods and beverages above — and eat smaller meals — and you may decrease the amount of reflux from your stomach into the esophagus.

Yet changing what you eat isn’t the only way to avoid the horrors of heartburn, there are simple lifestyle changes you can make as well.

How A Doctor Can Help

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If you have heartburn two or more times a week and changes to your diet or eating pattern haven’t helped, consult a doctor. A gastroenterologist can perform tests to measure the acidity in your stomach and see if frequent acid reflux has damaged your esophagus.

GERD is often treatable through a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. But persistent symptoms of reflux need thorough evaluation by a gastroenterologist who can find the underlying cause and discuss available treatment options.

The Johns Hopkins Heartburn Center

GERD is an ongoing condition that often requires more attention than over-the-counter treatments can offer. The Heartburn Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine provides personalized care to help patients find relief.

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Garlic Onions And Spicy Foods

Spicy and tangy foods, such as onions and garlic, trigger heartburn symptoms in many people.

These foods wont trigger reflux in everyone. But if you eat a lot of onions or garlic, track your meals carefully in your diary. Some of these foods, along with spicy foods, may bother you more than other foods do.

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.

  • Alcohol

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Side Effects From Misuse

Many of the side effects of antacids come from not taking them as directed.

Many antacids including Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids and Tums contain calcium. If you take too much or take them for longer than directed, you could get an overdose of calcium. Too much calcium can cause:

Excess calcium can also lead to alkalosis. In this condition, your body doesnt make enough acid to function properly.

If you feel like you need to use a lot of an antacid for relief, that might be a sign of another condition. If youve taken an antacid according to the directions and havent gotten relief, talk to your doctor.

Antacids can interfere with the function of other drugs. If you take other medications, check with your doctor or pharmacist before using antacids.

Some antacids, such as Alka-Seltzer, contain aspirin. The Food and Drug Administration issued a safety alert about this type of antacid in June 2016. This alert was issued because of reports of serious bleeding related to aspirin-containing antacids.

If you take another medication that increases your risk of bleeding, such as an anticoagulant or antiplatelet drug, you shouldnt take these antacids.

Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking aspirin-containing antacids if you:

Foods That May Cause Heartburn

Avoiding Heartburn

Foods commonly known to be heartburn triggers cause the esophageal sphincter to relax and delay the digestive process, letting food sit in the stomach longer, says Gupta. The worst culprits? Foods that are high in fat, salt or spice such as:

  • Fried food
  • Peppermint
  • Carbonated beverages

“Moderation is key since many people may not be able to or want to completely eliminate these foods,” says Gupta. “But try to avoid eating problem foods late in the evening closer to bedtime, so they’re not sitting in your stomach and then coming up your esophagus when you lay down at night. It’s also a good idea to eat small frequent meals instead of bigger, heavier meals and avoid late-night dinners and bedtime snacks.”

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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 it√Ęs free of anthraquinones , which can be irritating to the digestive system.

What To Eat For Acid Reflux

Whether it’s a chronic condition or a newfound symptom of stressful days, heartburn happens! Avoiding spicy, acidic and fried foods as well as cutting back on alcohol and chocolate can help douse the flames and there are some foods you should gravitate towards to help reduce the discomfort. Here’s what you can eat to help keep heartburn symptoms from being too upsetting.

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Weve Been Approaching Heartburn And Acid Reflux The Wrong Way

Its time to bust a common myth about acid reflux and heartburn! Weve been treating acid reflux and heartburn by reducing stomach acid, but scientific research has found that more often, the real problem is the presence of too little stomach acid! 4

This makes perfect sense because, as a natural part of aging, our stomach acid begins to decline after the age of 20.5 Also, 65% of people using antacids are 45 and older, and there is just no evidence that too much acid is a common culprit for heartburn. 6

Despite our tendency to blame stomach acid for heartburn, we actually need a healthy supply of stomach acid to break down food, signal digestive enzymes to break down protein, fats, and carbs, and get rid of unwanted bacteria and pathogens that are in our food and water. 7

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How To Get Heartburn And Indigestion Relief

Worst Foods to Eat with Acid Reflux (GERD, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) | How to Reduce Symptoms

For general healthful digestion and also to minimize the acid reflux, ensure that you get a lot of fiber from various non-citrus fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. Drink enough fluids to aid your own body absorb lubricate food waste, significant nutrients, and also follow low fat approaches when cooking. Attempt drinking chamomile tea right after dinner or just before bedtime, because it is thought to really have a relaxing influence on the gut. Frequent smaller meals also can help reduce indigestion and heartburn episodes. Make sure you eat your snacks and meals in a peaceful, relaxed feeling where there is little or no distractions and noise. Do not lie down straight away after having a meal. Read more about heartburn and indigestion relief.

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Eat Smaller More Frequent Meals

Theres a ring-like muscle known as the lower esophageal sphincter where the esophagus opens into the stomach.

It acts as a valve and normally prevents the acidic contents of the stomach from going up into the esophagus. It typically stays closed but may open when you swallow, belch, or vomit.

In people with acid reflux, this muscle is weakened or dysfunctional. Acid reflux can also occur when theres too much pressure on the muscle, causing acid to squeeze through the opening .

Unsurprisingly, most reflux symptoms take place after a meal. It also seems that eating just one to two large meals per day may worsen reflux symptoms (

24 ).

For this reason, some studies suggest that losing at least 10% of your body weight could significantly decrease symptoms of GERD in people with the condition .

Achieving and maintaining a moderate body weight can help reduce acid reflux in the long term.

However, if youre interested in this approach, make sure to speak with a healthcare professional to assess whether its right for you, and if so, how you can lose weight safely and sustainably.

Summary

Losing belly fat and maintaining a moderate weight might relieve some of your symptoms of GERD. However, make sure to speak with a healthcare professional before attempting to lose weight to treat this condition.

What Causes Heartburn

There’s a circular band of muscle at the bottom of your oesophagus where it joins the stomach, which acts as a sphincter. This one-way valve lets food and drink into the stomach, but not back out again. However, if it leaks, the acidic stomach contents reflux upwards into the oesophagus causing heartburn and irritation.

It’s often not clear why the sphincter leaks, but certain factors do increase your risk. These include:

  • Being overweight or heavily pregnant – this presses on the stomach and encourages the acid contents to move upwards into the oesophagus.
  • Smoking – nicotine is thought to relax the sphincter allowing acid to escape. Smoking also reduces saliva in the mouth. Swallowing saliva helps to protect your oesophagus from stomach acid.
  • Drinking too much alcohol – this stimulates stomach acid and can cause inflammation.
  • Stress and anxiety.

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Diet Changes For Gerd

Proper treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease always begins with a visit to a healthcare professional to obtain an accurate diagnosis. It is important to recognize that chronic reflux does not get better on its own. Over-the-counter remedies may provide short-term symptom relief, but can mask an underlying disease if used long-term.

Symptoms of GERD

Just about everyone has had heartburn that uncomfortable burning feeling in the chest after eating a heavy meal at some point in their life. But, while occasional heartburn is nothing to worry about, heartburn that occurs more than once a week, becomes more severe, or occurs at night and wakes you from sleep may indicate gastroesophageal reflux disease . And, a visit to the doctor is advised.

Treatment for GERD may include medications advised by your doctor and certain diet and lifestyle changes. A combination of approaches, and some trial and error, may be necessary.

Diet and lifestyle changes often begin with what to avoid. These include things that can trigger or worsen symptoms.

Examples of things to reduce or steer clear of in your diet include:

  • High fat foods
  • Alcohol
  • Citrus and tomato products

When To Talk To Your Doctor About Acid Reflux

Pin on stop acid reflux in its tracks

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.

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