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8 Foods That Triggers Heartburn. Know What To Eat Instead

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8 Foods That Triggers Heartburn. Know What To Eat Instead

It's painful, stressful and can become more serious. Heartburn is an incredibly common affliction, affecting almost everyone. Also known as acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), heartburn is a burn in the chest that occurs when stomach acid enters the esophagus after eating. Normally, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) opens just enough to allow food to enter the stomach and release gas. If the muscle weakens or does not shut properly, the acid can flow back, causing the burning sensation that so many sufferers know all too well.

Increased pressure on the stomach can exacerbate the condition, which is why it is especially common in anyone who is obese, constipated or pregnant. Heartburn symptoms include burning or chest or throat pain, a sour or acidic taste in the back of the throat, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness or a cough. Although the occasional heartburn is not a cause for concern, persistent, relentless symptoms can be a sign that medication is necessary.

For many people, relief is as easy as looking inside the refrigerator. Certain foods can trigger heartburn, and while it is difficult to say goodbye to a few beloved treats (chocolate can be a dietary cause), it is possible to make simple swaps for other common culprits.

Here are some easy and satisfying food swaps to prevent heartburn:

Citrus Fruits
What to eat instead: There are plenty of nutritious non-citrus fruits to replace oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and tangerines. Try snacking on berries, melons, apples, pears, bananas and stone fruit instead. Watch for orange juice too — apple juice is a less acidic option, or make your own veggie-based juice at home.

Tomato Sauce
Instead, tomatoes are another acidic fruit that can cause heartburn— tomato sauce can be particularly problematic. Try dressing pasta with pesto or olive oil, mixed with parsley and oregano. And although it is best to side-step the red sauce altogether, adding a little-baking soda or grated carrots can help neutralize some of the acids.

Spicy Foods
Instead, red-hot salsa and five-alarm chili can be delicious, but spicy foods can be a big problem if you have acid reflux. Herbs such as basil, cilantro, oregano, rosemary, ginger, and thyme are flavorful substitutes for spices such as cayenne, curry, cinnamon and nutmeg that can exacerbate symptoms.

Fried Foods
What to Eat Instead: High-fat foods can slow the emptying of the stomach, making reflux more likely. Instead, choose baked, grilled, poached or roasted versions of your favorite fried options.

What to Eat Instead: If you experience milk-induced symptoms, the problems are due to the high fat content of whole-milk products. Switching to reduced-fat versions of milk, sour cream and yogurt can help alleviate the problems. Try low-fat yogurt instead of milk or cream in dairy-heavy recipes.

Garlic and Onions
What to Eat Instead: It may not be necessary to completely kiss these flavorful, aromatic foods. Dehydrated versions of both can be less irritating to the stomach and less likely to trigger reflux. If even the dried versions cause problems, try subbing parsley, dill or basil for flavor.

Coffee and Mint Teas
What to drink Instead: Although many researchers believe that caffeine makes coffee trouble for heartburn patients, some studies show that tea does not influence reflux in the same way. Just be careful to avoid certain herbal teas — peppermint and spearmint are known to cause heartburn. Try experimenting with a cup of black tea or decaf coffee, which has also shown significantly lower GERD's

What to drink Instead: alcohol relaxes the LES, so it's best to avoid it completely. But if you can tolerate a drink without symptoms, avoid citrus or carbonated mixers and choose alcohol as low as possible. If your heartburn persists despite these dietary changes, medicines such as omeprazole (Prilosec, Omesec) may help. If you still have discomfort, talk to your provider for further guidance.