Meal Planning Tips to Prevent Heartburn
One of the leading causes of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which causes acid reflux and heartburn, is the food you eat. Heartburn occurs when the valve between your stomach and your esophagus is weakened and stomach acid refluxes back into your esophagus. By changing your eating and drinking habits, you can prevent the items you consume from triggering heartburn.
Change How You Eat
Overeating can cause heartburn by increasing pressure on the esophageal valve. Try eating smaller, more frequent meals instead. In addition, by eating slowly and chewing thoroughly, you’ll feel full with less food, making it less likely that you’ll overindulge.
After you eat, chewing gum will stimulate saliva production, which can neutralize stomach acid and speed up digestion. A glass of room-temperature water or herbal tea can also dilute and flush out the acid in your stomach. One thing to avoid, though, is an after-dinner cigarette. The nicotine will actually weaken the esophageal valve and can increase your risk of heartburn.
Change What You Eat
There are certain foods that are known to trigger acid reflux. Foods and beverages such as chocolate; peppermint; greasy, fried, or fatty foods; and caffeinated or alcoholic beverages can weaken the valve between your stomach and your esophagus. Other foods such as citrus, tomatoes, chili peppers, and black pepper may irritate your esophagus directly. Avoid consuming these products when you’re trying to curb heartburn.