Diet can play a big factor in causing heartburn, so it’s important to avoid foods that trigger heartburn and its symptoms.
The following suggestions are not universal. Heartburn triggers vary person to person, so experiment with these options and make a conscious effort to assess how your body feels.
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 the key to avoiding heartburn.
Pasta and Grain Products
Grain products, like ready-to-eat whole grain cereals and brown rice, are easy to find and they’re heartburn friendly. The general rule of thumb with all grain is to always choose whole grain products over more processed or white starches. 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.
If you have time, try making your own muffins or quick bread from scratch. That way, you can monitor the fat content and avoid troublesome ingredients.
Another way to introduce whole grains into your diet is with the breads you choose. You can make your own breads easily with a bread machine. Whole grain breads are made more simply with bread machines.
Beans, Peas, and Lentils
Beans, peas, and lentils 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 soup, salads, and casserole dishes.
Large amounts of oil in cooking tend not to be heartburn-friendly. Of course you can’t avoid cooking with at least some oil, so the trick is to use it in moderation. Darker oils like sesame have a wonderful flavor and go a long way in adding taste and enjoyment to dishes. Experiment with extra virgin olive oil, because the taste of olive oils varies from mild to very flavorful. Other oils like walnut, peanut, or canola oils are heartburn-friendly in moderation. Don’t forget to keep cooking oil sprays in your cupboard. These sprays provide a handy way to cut extra fat, keep food from sticking to pans, and add a little flavor.
Baking can be a great way to prepare healthy food as well as avoid heartburn. Roasting, broiling, poaching, and steaming also decrease the amount of fat but maintain the dish’s flavor. If you’re looking to cook food quickly with little or no added fat, use a microwave, pressure cooker, or wok.
Vinegar’s high acidic content can be a problem for heartburn sufferers, however, many people often tolerate cider and rice vinegar better and both add flavor to food.
Most heartburn sufferers can eat mustard and handle ketchup or mayo in small amounts. The best thing to do is to experiment and use small amounts and see how you feel. Many heartburn sufferers report having one teaspoon of yellow mustard during an episode helps calm their stomachs, although this isn’t scientifically proven.
Dried Spices and Herbs
Dried spices and herbs are less likely to promote heartburn, although each individual system will respond differently. Dried or dehydrated forms of onion or garlic are also more heartburn friendly than their fresh versions.
Cinnamon, ginger, sage, and cardamom can help you manage your stomach acid levels. For example, brew a cup of cinnamon tea with hot water and a cinnamon stick. Be sure to check the label, because some brands of tea contain black tea, which can cause heartburn. Also try sprinkling cinnamon on your toast. Cardamom, an old-time digestive aid, may help mitigate the symptoms of heartburn. Add it to baked goods or cereals to avoid unnecessary discomfort.