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Kerry Torrens BSc. PgCert MBANT is a BANT Registered Nutritionist®with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.
All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See our terms and conditions for more information.
Foods That Can Cause Heartburn
Heartburn affects more than 60 million Americans every month .
It is best described as a painful, burning sensation that occurs in the lower chest area.
Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux, a condition where stomach acid escapes into the esophagus, the tube that delivers food and beverages to your stomach.
Normally, stomach acid cannot escape into the esophagus because of a barrier called the lower esophageal sphincter. This is a ring-like muscle that naturally stays closed, and normally only opens when you swallow or belch .
However, in people with acid reflux, this muscle is often weakened. This is one reason why people with acid reflux experience heartburn .
Diet plays an important role in heartburn. Many foods can relax the lower esophageal sphincter, which allows food to escape into the esophagus and cause heartburn.
Here are 11 foods that can cause heartburn.
Heartburn Tip: Write It Down
What may cause heartburn in one individual may not cause it in another. Everyone is different so you may find a small cup of coffee with food doesn’t cause you heartburn anymore but could still cause heartburn in someone else. If you begin to make a list of food and drink items that cause you to experience heartburn, you will know which ones to avoid, which ones to reduce in serving size, and which ones will require eating with other non-heartburn causing foods.
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What Else Causes Gerd Symptoms
As you might have noticed the common factor through most of the above foods is how they make symptoms worse. Most cause a combination of either relaxing the LES, increasing stomach acid production or keeping the stomach full for too long. The above foods are not the only foods and drinks that can aggravate GERD symptoms. Additional items include the following:
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Resistant Starch Rice Pudding
My low sugar, egg-free, bone broth infused version of rice pudding makes a great breakfast option. It is also a great food for soothing ulcers.
It is full of easy to digest low-FODMAP carbs if you stick to a half-cup cup serving.
I cooked the rice in bone broth in my Instant Pot.
You cant taste the broth in the final dish, but it adds protein, amino acids and gut-healing gelatin. If you make the rice with water, you can add a scoop of collagen powder.
To make it creamier, blend half of the rice pudding and add it to the other half. This makes it thick and creamy without eggs to thicken.
The best kind of rice to use is basmati or jasmine rice as theyre the easiest to digest. If you tolerate brown rice you can use that too, but the extra fiber may be tougher to break down if you have weak digestion.
This can be customized with your favorite flavors or toppings, and eaten hot or cold. I prefer it hot.
Makes 4 half-cup portions.
2 cups of rice cooked in bone broth
1 cup of non-dairy milk
1 Tablespoon of honey
Vanilla, cinnamon and salt
Optional add ins:
1-2 Tablespoons of collagen, lemon or orange zest, goji berries, chia seeds, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, chai spices, sliced banana, nut butter, butter, spirulina
Cook the rice in water or bone broth. I used an Instant Pot to cook my rice. The rule of thumb is 2 parts liquid to 1 part rice. One cup of uncooked rice should yield 3 cups of cooked rice.
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Which Foods May Help Soothe Acid Reflux
Sadly, no food cures the condition, but certain foods may lessen the effects of reflux when combined with lifestyle changes. Be aware not all these suggestions work for all sufferers, so use your own experience to determine the most relevant for you.
Foods which may help include:
- Vegetables such as green beans, potatoes, fennel, asparagus, cucumber and leafy greens including spinach and kale.
- Fruits including melon, banana, apple and pears.
- Fibrous foods including oatmeal, wholegrain rice and psyllium husks.
- Ginger, famed for its stomach calming properties and natural anti-inflammatory status. Grate the fresh root and add to meals or brew as a tea when making tea for therapeutic purposes cover while steeping to retain the active constituents.
Although lean meat, fish and egg whites are often cited as useful food inclusions, evidence is inconclusive, with some studies reporting no difference to symptoms. Clearly, more research is needed to clarify this.
Eat More Helpful Foods To Reduce Symptoms
Finally, you may find it helpful to adopt a GERD-friendly diet. Green vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats are all great options for controlling reflux in your daily activities. Eating these foods may actually help reduce the number and severity of acid reflux events, while helping you avoid the foods that may trigger them.
Additionally, it may be helpful to shift your mindset and attitude about GERD. It can be a difficult condition to deal with, but making these changes to your diet and lifestyle is an important first step toward controlling it. Managing GERD doesnt have to mean eliminating fun foods from your diet instead, think of this as an opportunity to try new things and enjoy a greater variety of foods. After all, when it comes to GERD, controlling your diet is a necessity for living a healthier, higher-quality life.
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Angela Privin is proof that IBS is NOT an incurable disease or a disease at all. IBS is a body out of balance. Its an invitation for change. After solving her own IBS mystery more than a decade ago Angela trained as a health coach to help others.
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Foods That Help To Kill Heartburn
Eating a banana can help to form a lining that prevents heartburn from getting worse.
Most of us have suffered from heartburn at some point or another, and it sometimes seems so common that there isnt really any cure for it.
Heartburn is unlikely to last more than a few hours, but if you experience recurring heartburn, you can start to feel like you are constantly suffering.
If you want to try some natural ways of relieving heartburn, you can start by eating the right foods.
Here are 10 of the best foods that you can try if youre experiencing heartburn and want to get rid of it quickly.
Read Also: Why Do I Have Such Bad Heartburn
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.
How To Get Heartburn And Indigestion Relief
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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Should I Be Worried About Heartburn During Pregnancy
While heartburn isnt fun, it generally isnt a serious problem. However, pain in the abdomen or shoulder, which is sometimes mistaken for heartburn, can be a sign of preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication where the woman develops high blood pressure and signs of damage to the liver or kidneys, usually after 20 weeks. If your heartburn is sudden, doesnt go away, accompanies pain in the abdomen and up the back, and is really intense with severe pain, contact your health care provider or go to the hospital for emergency assessment, says Martin.
Improving Sleep Position And Habits
Raising the head of your bed 15 cm to 20 cm will help keep stomach acid from flowing into your esophagus when you are sleeping. You can do this by putting blocks underneath your bed frame or by placing a foam wedge under the head of your mattress. Using extra pillows will not work.
Lying down soon after eating will also increase the chance of getting heartburn. After you eat, wait 2 to 3 hours before you lie down. Late-night snacks aren’t a good idea.
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What Is The Best Diet For Heartburn
That does not have to be true, however. Breakfast, lunch and dinner can be both enjoyable and heartburn-friendly if you know which foods to incorporate into your diet.
Heartburn can flare when your stomach produces too much gastric acid, and your food choices can directly affect this. Here are three meals that incorporate heartburn-reducing foods that your stomach will appreciate.
Oatmeal and Wheat: Try Whole Grains for Breakfast
Oatmeal has been a whole-grain breakfast favorite for generations. It is a good source of fiber, so it keeps you feeling full and promotes regularity. Oats also absorb stomach acid and reduce symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease . For something sweet, top your oatmeal with bananas, apples or pears. The fructose in these fruits is less likely to trigger acid reflux than other sugars. Of course, eating oatmeal every day could get boring, so switch things up with a warm bowl of Cream of Wheat, or some whole grain toast with peanut butter.
Avoid coffee and most teas that contain caffeine, which can cause heartburn. Instead, brew a soothing cup of ginger tea. Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties that will help regulate acid production.
Vegetables: Add Some Color and Nutrients to Your Lunch
Try these options for a light and tasty lunch:
- Baked potato with steamed broccoli
- Mixed green salad with fresh-cut vegetables and a light oil and vinegar dressing
- Veggie wrap or veggie quesadilla
What To Eat And What To Avoid For Gerd
Finding a way to add in some of these foods can reduce your symptoms and put you on a path for healing your gut, while eliminating others can stop your symptoms. In some cases, you may be able to limit certain foods, rather than remove them from your diet altogether.
What to eat:
- Nutrient-dense, whole foods, which will maximize your nutrient intake
- Fermented foods with probiotic effects like yogurt and kefir or, if you cant tolerate dairy or its too high-carb, raw sauerkraut, pickles, and kombucha
- Bone broth, which is rich in collagen, gelatin, glutamine, and prolineall helpful for healing the gut
Note:If youre sensitive to FODMAPs, avoid bone broth and collagen.
What to eliminate if you have GERD:
- Fructose and artificial sweeteners, which can increase bacterial overgrowth and worsen your symptoms
- Processed foods that include additives, preservatives, and industrial seed oils, which can worsen gut health
- Alcohol, as it can worsen many gut conditions
- Drinking water with mealsthis dilutes your stomach acid even more, further hampering your digestion and nutrient absorption
Like what youve read?
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Mainstream Theory About Gerd And Reflux
Most doctors believe GERD is caused by high stomach acid and a loose or lazy LES . The LES is a muscle that tightly seals the stomach off from the esophagus and prevents acid from flowing up the pipe. With GERD and reflux, the LES does not properly seal.
Foods that encourage the LES to relax and loosen are:
Acid foods like citrus and tomatoes
Onions and garlic
Things that help tone the LES and keep it tightly shut are foods that are high in fiber like veggies and oatmeal as well as bananas, lean protein, white rice and ginger.
While this diet may help with symptoms, you are stuck in food jail. And that takes a toll.
If you want to be able to go out to eat or have an occasional cocktail without flaring symptoms I believe addressing the root cause of the problem.
The Gerd Diet: What To Eat
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is an incredibly common digestive disorder, affecting almost 30 percent of North Americans.
The distressing symptoms of GERDheartburn, problems swallowing, regurgitation, sore throat, and morehave led many to turn to acid-blocking drugs, which dont solve the underlying problems and can trigger their own set of troubling health issues. However, adopting a GERD diet that supports digestive health and addresses the root causes of GERD can help to heal your gut.
I dont believe theres a one-size-fits-all approach to any diet, but when it comes to heartburn and GERD, there are some foods that will exacerbate symptoms and others that will alleviate them. Find out what to eat and what to avoid as part of a GERD-friendly diet.
Which foods improve GERD symptoms ? Check out this article to find out. #nutrition #chriskresser
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Functional Medicine View Of Reflux
Theres an alternate theory in functional medicine, that it is low stomach acid and NOT high stomach acid that causes GERD and reflux.
The idea is that the LES gets loose when stomach acid secretion are lower than normal. And that a sufficient level of acid is what signals the LES to stay tightly shut.
One of the most common causes of low stomach acid is a bacterial infection of the stomach called h pylori.
Regular testing at your doctors office is not sensitive enough to catch this inflammatory and acid lowering infection. I use a highly sensitive functional lab test with clients that identify h pylori along with any other gut infections that it can lead to. The test I use is called the GI Map.
Stomach acid kills and protects you from pathogens like parasites as well as bacterial and fungal overgrowth. When acid is low it leaves the gut vulnerable to infections.
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More Ways To Control Gerd With Dietary Changes
In addition to avoiding certain foods, there are even more dietary changes and lifestyle modifications you can make to control GERD. Exploring all the various ways you can manage this condition will help you discover what works best for you and make dealing with GERD that much easier on a daily basis.
How Do You Test For Stomach Acid
The stomach acid test is called the Heidelberg test and gives the most accurate results. This test is done by naturopathic practitioners and is not widely available.
There is an at home test that can provide a clue about stomach acid but are not diagnostic.
It uses baking soda and water consumed first thing in the morning. If a burp happens within 3 minutes your stomach acid is at a good level. Google the baking soda stomach acid test if you want to try it at home.
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