Most people know that painful burning sensation in the chest that usually creeps up after a meal or during sleep. While many see it as a necessary evil, it can be avoided or lessened by eating the proper foods for heartburn. The burn might last a few minutes to a few hours depending on the severity of the case. The longer your episodes last and the more intense the pain, the more important changing your diet is. This is because heartburn can be complicated by other gastric conditions and cause further damage to your digestive system.
What are the best foods for heartburn?
The best foods are those that are low in fat and high in fiber. You can start your day with a bowl of oatmeal, bran cereal or slices of multi-grain bread. All are rich in fiber to help grind the food substances in your stomach and are less likely to trigger heartburn. If you prefer fruit in the morning, bananas and apples are the safest option. They are much gentler on the stomach and will keep acid where it belongs.
It’s important for meals to include balanced portions of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Brown rice and vegetables like broccoli, baked potatoes, carrots, beans and cabbage are great sources of carbohydrates. Another vegetable to note is ginger, which should be consumed in its natural state and in small amounts. For protein, load up on lean meats like steak with the fat trimmed, skinless chicken and fish. Your supply of healthy fats can come from feta cheese, goat cheese, fat-free sour cream and low fat oils like olive oil and canola.
For dessert, treat yourself to baked chips instead of fried or processed, licorice and fat-free biscuits. Drinking a lot of water is a must because the fluid plays a vital role in digestion.
What are the worst foods for heartburn?
Different people find different foods to be triggers for acid indigestion but there are some common foods that are known for bringing up stomach acid. Among the beverages are coffee, wine, orange juice and cranberry juice. Meat and fish are generally good for your health but if they have added fat, they can be among the worst foods for heartburn. Pasta can also trigger heartburn, especially if it’s eaten with spicy Italian sauces and marinades.
If you are going to eat dairy, choose those that have the lowest fat. Regular sour cream, cheese and cottage cheese have been reported as causes of gastric acid going up into the esophagus, but low-fat versions of these foodstuffs are believed to prevent acid reflux. Tomatoes, garlic, grapefruits and oranges are the leading fruits and vegetables on the bad food list because of their acidic nature and should be avoided if found to cause heartburn after consumption.
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Spicy foods have also been dubbed as the worst foods for heartburn and many have reported feeling the burn after eating Indian, Mexican and other traditionally spicy cuisine.
Keep a food journal to find out which foods you should avoid and consult your doctor if heartburn occurs frequently.