Meal Planning Suggestions to Prevent Heartburn Symptoms

If you have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) with accompanying heartburn symptoms, it’s not only important to avoid trigger foods and beverages, but it is also crucial to plan the timing and size of your meals, says The American College of Gastroenterology. Along with recommendations from your Dallas/Fort Worth physician, follow these tips to minimize or prevent heartburn:

  1. Don’t lie down after eating. Wait at least two to three hours after eating to lie down to avoid stomach acids from splashing back up into your esophagus
  2. Avoid high-fat meals. High fat foods stay in the stomach longer, increasing the risk of experiencing symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Fried and fatty foods can also weaken the LES muscle, which would allow acids to travel to the esophagus more easily.
  3. Downsize your portion size. Try to eat four or five smaller meals rather than two to three large meals. The more food in your stomach, the increased likelihood that stomach contents and acids will make their way back up the esophagus.
  4. Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking before eating, both of which weaken the LES muscle.
  5. Avoid foods that weaken the LES muscle. Foods and beverages like chocolate, alcohol, peppermint, fatty foods, fried foods and caffeinated beverages weaken and relax the LES muscle. Tomatoes, tomato juice, citrus fruits, and citrus juice may also irritate your esophageal lining.
  6. Drink water after meals. This will help to dilute stomach content and acid. You should also avoid carbonated beverages such as sodas which increase stomach pressure.
  7. Chew Gum. Chewing gum after you eat stimulates saliva, which helps to neutralize stomach acid. Be sure to not choose peppermint-flavored gum.
  8. Plan a diet high in fiber. A recent study suggests that people who followed a high-fiber diet were less likely to have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) related symptoms, such as heartburn.

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