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Help Your Heartburn with These Tasty Dishes

You don't have to give up all of your favorite foods. Just a few minor changes in what you eat and how you prepare your food can make a major difference in how you feel after your meal.

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A great deal of talk about heartburn and diet focuses on the foods that trigger heartburn and should be avoided. So I’m here to give heartburn sufferers some ideas about what foods they can eat without fear. Hi, I’m Dr. Frank McGeorge for Prilosec OTC, and today we’re going to talk about foods you can eat to avoid heartburn—the fifth 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. Now, just as with any diet, the foods to avoid are less tempting when there’s a supply of safe foods in your kitchen cabinets; that’s why a well-stocked pantry with heartburn-friendly foods can be key to avoiding heartburn. Let’s start at the bottom of the food pyramid: grain products like ready-to-eat whole-grain cereals and brown rice are easy to find and they’re heartburn friendly. A general rule of thumb with all grain is always choose whole-grain products over more processed white starches. Now, pasta is also great because it’s easy on the digestive system; just be sure to prepare it with a light, broth-based sauce instead of one made with tomato, cream, or cheese. Now, other great additions to a heartburn-safe diet are beans, peas, and lentils. All of these provide a great source of vegetable protein, B vitamins, and minerals, like calcium and iron. They’re also an excellent source of fiber. Keep both dried and canned varieties on your shelf, and toss them into soups, salads, pastas, and casserole dishes. Now, large amounts of oil in cooking tend not to be heartburn friendly. Of course, you can’t avoid cooking with at least some oil; the trick is to use it in moderation. Darker oils, like sesame, have a wonderful flavor and they go a long way in adding taste and enjoyment to dishes. Experiment, though, particularly with extra-virgin olive oil, because the taste of olive oils varies from mild to very flavorful. Other oils like walnut, peanut, and canola oils are heartburn friendly, too, in moderation. Also, don’t forget to keep cooking oil sprays in your cupboard; with several flavored varieties available, these sprays provide a handy way to cut down extra fat, keep food from sticking to pans, and add a little flavor. Now let’s talk about cooking methods. Baking can be a great way to prepare healthy food as well as avoid heartburn. Same holds true for roasting, broiling, poaching, or steaming, all of which decrease the amount of fat, but they maintain a dish’s flavor. And, if you’re looking to cook food quickly with little or no added fat, use a microwave, pressure cooker, or a wok. Now, you’re probably aware that vinegar’s high acidic content can be a problem for heartburn sufferers; however, cider vinegar and rice vinegar are often tolerated better by many people and both add flavor to food, so give them a try. Now for the condiments. Most people with heartburn can eat mustard and some can handle ketchup or mayonnaise in small amounts. The best thing to do, though, is to experiment; use small amounts and see how you feel. In fact, many heartburn sufferers actually report that having one teaspoon of yellow mustard during an episode helps calm their stomachs, although this isn’t scientifically proven. Now, dried spices and herbs are also generally less likely to promote heartburn, although each individual system will respond differently. Dried or dehydrated forms of onion and garlic are also more heartburn friendly than their fresh versions. Cinnamon, ginger, sage, and cardamom can help you manage your stomach acid levels. Try them in small doses; for example, brew a cup of cinnamon tea with hot water and a cinnamon stick. Make sure to check the label, though, of some brands of cinnamon tea because they contain black tea, which can cause heartburn. Also, try sprinkling some cinnamon on your toast. And finally, there is cardamom. This old-time digestive aid may help mitigate the symptoms of heartburn. Add it to baked goods or cereals to avoid unnecessary discomfort. If you have time, try making your own muffins or quick bread from scratch; that way, you can monitor fat content as well as avoid troublesome ingredients. Another way to introduce whole grains into your diet is with the breads you choose. You can make your own bread easily with a bread machine. In fact, whole-grain breads are made more simply with a bread machine. So, for those of you ambitious enough to make your own breads and baked goods, try looking online for simple bread recipes that include whole grains. Now, to learn about what foods to avoid, watch our video, How to Reduce Heartburn with Your Diet. I’m Dr. Frank McGeorge for Prilosec OTC.

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