Heartburn affects millions of Americans every year. Spicy, rich foods, overindulging in alcohol, and even our favorite morning cup of java can set off what feels like a 3 alarm fire in your chest. Sensible eating and lifestyle choices can assist in avoiding heartburn or eliminating it altogether. There is no need to give up your favorite foods. Moderation and awareness are the keys to eating heartburn-free.
Discovering your Triggers
Many foods are known to cause heartburn. Rich, fatty foods and heavy meals are triggers for most people. Others may discover that, in spite of the folk wisdom of a peppermint “calming” the stomach, mint is a trigger. Carbonated sodas are another common culprit. Some, however, may find that a few foods commonly related to heartburn have no effect on them, while normally-“safe” foods ignite a blaze. Consider keeping a food diary to track the foods that trigger episodes. By tracking your intake and episodes, you can pinpoint foods which trigger heartburn.
Avoiding Heartburn: Common Culprits
The “trigger foods” are different for everyone, but there are certain foods which commonly cause heartburn in most individuals:
- Carbonated drinks
- Rich, heavy, or fatty foods
- Spicy foods
While it’s not reasonable or even possible to avoid all of the foods which may trigger heartburn, you can choose options that are less likely to trigger heartburn and enjoy foods in moderation, reducing the risk of an episode.
Portion Sizes Matter
Even the blandest foods can trigger heartburn if you over indulge. Choose smaller meals, and eat more frequently throughout the day. This not only allows your body to digest food more thoroughly, it reduces the chances of food backing up through the lower esophageal sphincter and causing heartburn. Eat slowly, taking the time to chew food thoroughly, and you’ll greatly reduce your risk of an episode of heartburn.