Heartburn is an uncomfortable, burning sensation that many people experience in their chest and throat, particularly when lying down or bending over. It is caused when the muscle at the end of the esophagus is weak and does not close the whole way, which allows stomach acid to flow backward. In most cases, some people are simply susceptible to heartburn and make it worse with the foods they eat and the lifestyle they lead. Many people take over the counter or prescription medications in order to control their heartburn. What they do not realize is that for heartburn relief foods are an easy way to prevent and reduce flare ups.
Common foods that trigger heartburn are acidic, greasy, or spicy. While heartburn triggers vary for everyone, there are some common causes. Coffee is highly acidic and contains a lot of caffeine, which are both bad for heartburn sufferers. Choose a low-acid, decaffeinated coffee, and try to reduce the amount you consume. Fatty, greasy foods make up a large part of the American diet and are terrible for heartburn. It is best to avoid especially fatty cuts of meat or anything that is deep-fried or cooked in greasy sauces. Opt for lean cuts of turkey, chicken, or fish that are baked or broiled instead of cooked in fat. Alcohol, especially wine and beer, are major triggers for heartburn. They have high acid levels and relax the esophagus, which can make heartburn flares worse than usual. Smoking also enhances the effects of heartburn, so it is a good idea to consider how you might stop smoking.
While many fruits and fruit juices are very acidic, heartburn sufferers should have no problem enjoying fruits such as melon, berries, bananas, coconut, mango, and pears. Leafy green vegetables like broccoli, green beans, lettuce, cucumber, and avocados are all healthy ways to avoid heartburn pain. Root vegetables except for onion are also excellent choices. Choosing cereals like oatmeal are a healthy way to quell heartburn pain and add more fiber to your diet. Add fresh ginger to your food or drink ginger tea before bed, as ginger root has a calming effect on the esophagus and prevents flare ups. Studies have also found that chewing gum after meals can reduce heartburn because the excess saliva created washes acid back down into the stomach. Also avoid eating close to bed time and drink plenty of water to prevent heart burn.