Foods That Can Cause and Relieve Heartburn

Sunrise Senior Living  |  June 9, 2016
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While heartburn is a common condition, it's not one that's welcomed by any means.

According to the American College of Gastroenterology, about 60 million Americans live with heartburn at least once every month. Heartburn is a symptom caused by acid reflux, which is when stomach acid is forced back up into the esophagus, creating an unpleasant burning sensation between the throat and chest. Heartburn can be caused or made worse by certain foods, so it's important to understand which ones could be triggering the discomfort. Likewise, knowing which foods can help soothe those harsh feelings is just as crucial.

Foods to avoid
According to Health magazine, your best bet for curbing heartburn and acid reflux is to avoid the foods that are causing the conditions. Here are a few of those you should consider removing from your diet:

1. Chocolate
It is said that chocolate can trigger acid reflux more than any other sweets. Why? Because it contains high levels of caffeine, fat and cocoa - three factors that all contribute to heart burn. This might be a hard one to give up, but it's in your best interest to at least cut back on the sweet stuff.

2. Alcohol
According to Alcohol Rehab, consuming alcoholic drinks causes more production of acid in the stomach, which often forces itself back into the esophagus, resulting in acid reflux. Additionally, alcohol tends to cause inflammation in the stomach, which can quickly turn into heartburn. If you enjoy drinking alcohol, just limit yourself. It is suggested that women stick to one drink per day and men only consume two.

Foods to consume for heartburn relief
If you find yourself experiencing a harsh case of heartburn, consider grabbing one of these foods for a natural, nutritious approach for comfort.

1. Bananas
Prevention magazine reported that bananas are a low-acid fruit that make the perfect resolution for harsh feelings caused by heartburn. Dr. Gerard E. Mullin, author of "The Gut Balance Revolution" told the magazine that a ripe, mushy banana makes a great relief treatment because it sticks to the esophageal lining.

"It forms a protective film that coats, protects and soothes," he said.

2. Oatmeal
If you're looking for a treat that will coat your stomach lining while fueling you with fiber, oatmeal is snack for you. However, Mullin told the source to be cautious about what liquids you're adding to the stuff.

"Just avoid splashing your oatmeal with heavy cream," Mullin says. "High fats, even healthy fats, relax the lower esophageal sphincter, which can prompt reflux."

Instead of opting for a dairy source, just use almond milk. Not only is it a healthier choice, it also help neutralize acidic foods. Talk about a win-win!

3. Skinless chicken
Chicken is a great source of protein and makes the perfect main dish for meals. It's also a food with low acidity, according to Everyday Health, so it's perfect for balancing heartburn. Just be careful about how you cook it – deep-frying it in oil can create a reverse effect and cause pain and discomfort.