If you suffer from heartburn, there are some simple things you can do that will help manage your levels of stomach acid. Hi, I’m Dr. Frank McGeorge for Prilosec OTC. Today we’re going to talk about ways in which you can reduce your heartburn—the fourth video in this series. Now, the following suggestions are not universal; heartburn triggers vary from person to person, so experiment with these suggestions and make a conscious effort to assess how your body feels. Using a diary to track what works and what doesn’t can help you figure out the best diet for you. For example, drink water between meals rather than with them. If you consume too much liquid with a meal, it actually increases the volume of stomach contents, which increases your chance of heartburn. Be careful with peppermint, spearmint, and chocolate; they all contain compounds that cause the lower esophageal sphincter—that’s the muscle that acts like a valve to let food into the stomach—to loosen or relax. When that happens, acid in the stomach can flow back up into the esophagus. Also, highly acidic foods like oranges, orange juice, tomatoes, and grapefruits are classic heartburn foods, especially when they’re consumed on an empty stomach. You might consider experimenting with stomach-cooling juices like papaya, mango, guava, and pear instead of that morning glass of orange juice. Now, certain spices like ginger, curry, and parsley all provoke heartburn. Same holds for garlic and raw onions, or any food loaded with pepper, so try just a little bit at a time. Alcoholic beverages—wine or beer, for example—can trigger heartburn for some people, and caffeinated beverages—coffee, tea, and cola—all raise the level of acidity in the stomach, making stomach juices even more irritating if they make their way up into the esophagus. One of the best things you can do to help avoid the wrong foods and drinks is to keep a stash of safe snacks in your home or office. Having healthy foods on hand that you enjoy—like cut-up raw vegetables, raisins, or graham crackers—make reaching for those less healthy snacks and beverages less likely, plus you don’t feel like you’re missing out as much. And when it comes to dessert, always try to go light. Heavy desserts tend to be higher in fat, meaning they can induce heartburn. Try sucking on hard candy instead—this triggers the production of saliva, which acts as a natural barrier to acid; just be sure to avoid mint candies. Also, don’t forget that how you eat is just as important as what you eat. Practice portion control because your stomach responds to large portions by producing large amounts of acid. Also, eating slowly and chewing foods thoroughly will not only make you feel fuller, it gives your stomach time to digest, and that can decrease the probability of heartburn. Finally, finish eating your last meal of the day at least two to three hours before going to bed. That time will give your acid levels a chance to decrease before you lie down; that’s a position in which heartburn is likely to occur. Remember, though, the best heartburn protection comes from a combination of diet, health, and lifestyle changes. Now, if you’re still suffering from heartburn two or more days per week, you should talk to your doctor about supplementing your diet with a medication. For more ideas, watch our video, What Foods You Should Eat to Reduce Heartburn. I’m Dr. Frank McGeorge for Prilosec OTC.
Heartburn-Reducing Foods to Keep at Home
Try to purchase whole grains versus refined grains whenever possible. Be sure to
store in an airtight container after opening.
Basmati Rice (aromatic long-grain rice)
Wehani Rice (dark, Basmati-type from California)
Polenta (instant and regular)
Ready-to-Eat Whole-Grain Cereals
Be sure to prepare these with a light broth-type sauce (not tomato-based or high-fat).
Perk up the dish with herbs such as basil and tarragon. (See Bow Tie Pasta with Peas and Ham recipe.)
Beans, peas, and lentils
All of these items provide a good source of vegetable protein, B vitamins, and minerals
such as calcium and iron. They are also an excellent source of fiber for your heartburn
diet. Keep both dried and canned varieties on your shelf, and toss them into soups,
salads, and pasta and casserole dishes.
Split Peas (yellow, green)
Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
Use oils in moderation. Darker oils (such as sesame) have a wonderful flavor,
and a little goes a long way in adding good taste and enjoyment to dishes.
Extra-Virgin Olive: Experiment, as the taste of olive oils varies from mild to very
Note: Keep cooking-oil sprays (such as PAM®)* in the cupboard. There
are several flavored varieties available too. This is a handy way to cut down extra
fat, keep food from sticking to pans, and add a little flavor.
These can be problem items for severe heartburn sufferers because of the acid content.
However, cider vinegar and rice vinegar are often tolerated better by many people,
and both add nice flavor to food. Use other vinegars in moderation if there hasn't
been a problem with them in the past.
Condiments and canned goods
Most people with heartburn can eat mustard, and some can handle ketchup (in small
amounts) fairly well. These are handy items to perk up recipes, and quick add-ons
to a meal.
Chicken and Vegetable Broth
Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter
Spices and herbs
Keep lots of dried spices and herbs on the shelf. They are generally less likely
to promote heartburn, though each individual's system will respond differently.
Dried/dehydrated forms of onion and garlic are more user-friendly than fresh.
Onion Powder and Dried Onion Pieces
Note: There are several spices that are generally irritating to the gastric (stomach)
lining and are especially troublesome for heartburn sufferers and their heartburn
diet. The spices listed below may be troublesome for some sufferers, but pose no
problem for others. The best advice is to listen to one's own body.
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Fresh Garlic (raw or cooked)
Muffins and quick breads made from scratch can be made with less fat and without
other troublesome ingredients such as pepper or spice. (See Whole-Wheat Corn Muffins recipe.) Whole-grain breads are made
more simply with a bread machine. Here are some of the basic ingredients:
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Smart Heartburn Food Choices at Restaurants
While you might have already experienced heartburn after dining out, you may not
know that there are some simple tips that can help alleviate, if not eliminate,
heartburn brought on by a restaurant meal. Just as at home, some foods served at
restaurants, such as high-fat dishes, certain spices, citrus products like tomatoes
or oranges, caffeinated beverages, and chocolate can bring on heartburn.
Restaurant meals can also bring on heartburn because they tend to be higher in fat.
Fat takes longer to digest, so food stays in the stomach longer and has a greater
likelihood of causing problems. Restaurant portions also tend to be larger than
recommended serving sizes. This increases pressure in the stomach and can cause
acidic stomach contents to backsplash into the
Esophagus:Tube connecting the mouth to the stomach; a passageway
for food; part of the digestive system..
If you suffer from heartburn, eating out can be a challenge. What ingredients did they use, how was the meal prepared, can I ask for my meal to be cooked differently? Hi, I’m Dr. Frank McGeorge for Prilosec OTC, and today we’re going to talk about things you can do to dramatically alleviate, if not eliminate, your chance of heartburn after eating in a restaurant—the sixth video in this series. We’re going to start by identifying questions you can ask about your food that will help you avoid heartburn. Then we’ll discuss portions and what preparation styles are the most heartburn friendly. Just like at home, eating certain foods might trigger heartburn and need to be avoided. Be careful if you’re eating out; restaurant menus can be deceiving. So first, ask questions to help avoid heartburn, and don’t be shy; knowledge is your belly’s friend. Your server should be able to give you key information about your meal so you can make smart, well-informed choices. One of the best questions a heartburn sufferer can ask is, “How is this dish prepared?” This tidbit of information is critical because dishes are often prepared differently than you might think. For example, steakhouses sometimes broil steaks in butter, so even though it’s broiled, it’s still more likely to trigger heartburn. Simply asking the question can help you avoid traps like these. In general, it’s best to order your dishes grilled or broiled without butter rather than fried or sautéed. And, if the dish comes with a high-fat gravy or sauce, ask for it to be served on the side. Now, soda crackers, preferably unsalted, are bland, they digest easily, and they absorb stomach acid well. They also contain bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar, which neutralize the acid. Next, watch your portions. Restaurant portions tend to be much larger than recommended serving sizes. Take this, for example: The restaurant dish is actually twice the size of a proper serving. Any extra bites increase pressure on the stomach and cause acidic juices to splash back up into the esophagus. If portion control isn’t your strong suit, ask to split your entrée with a friend, or try eating only half of what you ordered, and take the other half home. You might even want to ask the waiter to portion off half to take home before it even gets to your table. Plan ahead. Most menus can be viewed online, so don’t leave your decision until the last minute; you have a much greater likelihood of making a smart decision when you’re not under pressure. Now, for a few things on the menu that someone with heartburn can safely order: Leaner cuts of red meat, like sirloin or filet mignon, can help avoid heartburn, as opposed to T-bone or prime rib; white wine instead of red; and lighter desserts like angel food cake. Now, another tip is to have herbal tea after dinner instead of caffeine or a heavy dessert. Sage is a wonderful belly-soothing remedy, which can relieve stomach weakness that allows acid to be released back up into the esophagus. Drinking chamomile tea after meals can also relieve esophageal irritation. Remember, pay special attention to what you order; ask questions; watch portions; plan ahead. If, however, you’re doing all the right things and you’re still experiencing heartburn two or more days a week, you may have frequent heartburn, in which case, you should talk to your doctor. I’m Dr. Frank McGeorge for Prilosec OTC.
The following recommendations will help you make heartburn-smart choices when dining
Tips for Ordering Heartburn-Friendly Dishes at Restaurants
Questions to ask the server:
- - How is the dish prepared?
- - Can my menu selection be grilled or broiled instead of fried or sautéed?
- - Does this dish come with a high-fat gravy or sauce that could be served on the
- - Could I split an entrée with a friend rather than ordering a large meal on my
Questions to ask yourself:
- - Does this meal contain any of my heartburn trigger foods?
- - Will having a cocktail, beer, or glass of wine with dinner make my heartburn worse?
- - Do I really want or need dessert, or is it just a matter of habit?
Heartburn foods to avoid:
- - Foods that are fried, sautéed, or prepared in butter or oil
- - High-fat side dishes such as onion rings or French fries
- - High-fat sauces, gravies, and salad dressings
- - Tomato-based foods and juices
- - Caffeinated beverages such as cola and iced tea
- - Citrus drinks such as lemonade or orange juice
- - Alcoholic beverages
- - Chocolate
- - After-dinner mints (peppermint can exacerbate heartburn)
What to look for:
- - White meat, which is lower in fat than dark meat
- - Leaner cuts of red meat
- - Smaller portion sizes
- - White wine instead of red
- - Lighter desserts, such as angel food cake
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