Safe Foods for Heartburn Sufferers

Roasted root vegetables
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Certain foods can aggravate your heartburn symptoms, and when planning your acid reflux diet, it's best to limit or avoid completely those foods and drinks that result in heartburn. There are some foods that have little or no potential for causing heartburn.

The foods listed in the table below are the most common foods that are usually pretty safe for heartburn sufferers to eat.

For a listing of foods that you may be able to enjoy occasionally, please check out the table for foods that can be Consumed With Discretion.

For a listing of foods that probably should be limited as they are usually responsible for a higher occurrence of heartburn, please check out the table for Foods To Be Limited.

This is by no means a complete list, and in your personal situation, you may either find you can eat the foods from the "Avoid" group with no problem or have problems with foods not listed. It is a good idea to keep a Food Diary. For approximately two weeks, write what you eat, when you eat and any symptoms you may experience. This will help you and your doctor plan your diet and decide on any change in eating habits you may need.

Safe Foods for the Acid Reflux Diet

Food GroupFoods With Little Potential to Cause Heartburn
Fruit• Apple, fresh
• Apple, dried
• Apple juice
• Banana
Vegetables• Baked potato
• Broccoli
• Cabbage
• Carrots
• Green beans
• Peas
Meat

• Ground beef, extra lean
• Steak, lean
• Chicken breast, skinless
• Turkey tenderloin
• Egg whites
• Egg substitute
• Fish, no added fat

Dairy• Cheese, feta or goat
• Cream cheese, fat-free
• Sour cream, fat-free
• Soy cheese, low-fat
Grains• Bread, multi-grain or white
• Cereal, bran or oatmeal
• Cornbread
• Graham crackers
• Pretzels
• Rice, brown or white
• Rice cakes
Beverages• Mineral water
Fats / Oils• Salad dressing, low-fat
Sweets / Desserts• Cookie, fat-free
• Jelly beans
• Red licorice
• Potato chips, baked

Managing Your Heartburn

You can find relief from your heartburn with a few self-care remedies. This involves making a few lifestyle and diet changes.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Eat frequent smaller meals instead of three larger ones.
    This will help prevent excessive production of stomach acid.
     
  • Eat slowly.
    One way to help you slow down while eating is to put your fork or spoon down between bites.
     
  • Don't go to bed with a full stomach.
    Stay up at least three hours after eating your last meal or large snack before going to bed. This gives acid levels a chance to decrease before your body is in a position where heartburn is more likely to occur.
     
  • Raise the head of your bed several inches
    With your head elevated, it will help prevent reflux during the night.
     
  • Avoid your heartburn triggers
    Examples of foods and beverages that can trigger heartburn are coffee (including decaf), alcohol, fatty foods, caffeinated beverages and foods, onions, peppermint, chocolate, citrus fruits or juices, tomatoes. If you aren't sure what your heartburn triggers are, keep a food diary for a week or two.
  • Stop smoking
    Nicotine can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter, the muscle that controls the opening between the esophagus and stomach and prevents the acid-containing contents of the stomach from entering the esophagus.
     
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes
    Tight clothing squeezes the midsection and tends to push stomach contents upward.
     
  • Lose weight
    If you are overweight, losing weight can help relieve your symptoms.
     
  • Chew gum
    Chewing gum can provide short-term heartburn relief by stimulating saliva production, which dilutes and flushes out stomach acid.
     
  • Drink warm liquids
    Drinking a glass of lukewarm water or herbal tea after a meal can dilute and flush out stomach acid.

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