Heartburn is pain or a burning sensation behind the breastbone caused by excess stomach acid that has been forced up into the unprotected oesophagus. Your heartburn could be caused by the food you have eaten reacting negatively to the digestive process. For some people heartburn is also caused by stress or illness. Frequent heartburn is not only painful but causes lasting damage to your oesophagus. You could use a prescription or over-the-counter heartburn medication to relieve your discomfort. Or you could try to relieve your heartburn by watching what you eat.
Certain spices like fennel, cayenne, ginger and mint can relieve heartburn. Add fennel or cayenne to your meal or make ginger or mint tea, or add them to other teas. Grocery stores sell ginger and mint teas that are easy to brew at home. Fennel and cayenne can be added in small amounts to most meals without compromising the flavours of the dish.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits that help relieve heartburn are bananas, apples and papayas. Helpful vegetables include broccoli, cabbage and carrots. The enzymes in these fruits and vegetables aid digestion, which causes your stomach to produce less acid.
For some people eating lean minced meat or skinless chicken breast can relieve heartburn, or at least prevent it when less carefully prepared meats and chicken could have caused it. Drain the excess grease off the meat before eating. Excess fats can cause heartburn to worsen.
Calcium found in low-fat milk, cream cheese and yoghurt can help soothe heartburn. The calcium pushes the acid back down into the stomach. Cold milk can also offer you some pain relief in your oesophagus as you drink it. Do not drink milk for heartburn if you are lactose-intolerant as this may make the indigestion worse. Yoghurt that contains live and active cultures also offers relief. These cultures help provide your gut with good bacteria that aid with digestion.
A daily intake of fibre will help your overall digestion and help prevent indigestion. You should eat whole grain cereals, bran or multigrain breads daily. Eating fibre when you have heartburn puts the excess acid to work. This will keep the acid in your stomach and out of your throat.
The best way to use food to relieve heartburn is to avoid foods that trigger the symptoms. Certain foods can increase the amount of stomach acid that can lead to heartburn or indigestion. Foods to limit or avoid are fatty or fried foods, tomatoes and tomato products, citrus, chocolate, alcohol, dark-green vegetables and carbonated beverages. By preventing heartburn you are avoiding the damage heartburn causes to your oesophagus and stomach. It is easier to prevent the heartburn than it is to fix long-term damage caused by frequent bouts with the condition.
No one solution or prevention strategy will work for everyone. To control your heartburn you will need to experiment with foods. Monitor what you eat and your reaction to those foods to determine what foods cause or relieve heartburn in you.