What to Eat with Acid Reflux (GERD) to Avoid Heartburn

That heartburn you have every time you eat may not be simple heartburn after all. It might be GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. This chronic disease can cause damage to the lining in your esophagus and the surrounding area. It can cause a painful, burning sensation in your throat and chest area as well as a feeling of tightness or pain in your chest.

There are foods that can make GERD worse but sometimes there is actually more help to be found in how you eat your food and when.

Avoid Heartburn – Timing and Size Means Everything

Heartburn can be set off by stress, by not taking enough time when you eat and by eating too much at any given time. Make sure you relax when you eat. Each meal should take at least twenty minutes to consume. Ensure you chew your food well and take the time to enjoy it. If you can eat six smaller meals each day rather than three large ones, this will also help. Cutting portion size is an important part of avoiding heartburn. Avoid stress through annoying or controversial conversation or by watching something stressful on TV while you eat. Eating time should be a time to relax and enjoy your food.

Add Ginger to Your Diet

Ginger is a great natural way to decrease heartburn. Taken in moderation, less than two to four grams a day, this natural ingredient can be very helpful. You can easily add fresh ginger to many root vegetables like carrots or sweet potatoes.

Good Food Choices If You Suffer From Heartburn

There are some foods that are not only good for you but that will help control heartburn. Vegetables like carrots, cabbage, green beans, broccoli and peas are some of these foods. Add apples and bananas to your diet as these will also help mitigate heartburn.

If you’re having a salad, stay away from acidic dressings with vinegar and choose a non-fat dressing. You will also be safe with cottage cheese, baked sweet potatoes, toast and broiled chicken.

Bad Food Choices If You Suffer From Heartburn

What to Eat with Acid Reflux (GERD) to Avoid HeartburnWhile the food triggers of heartburn can be rather individualized, there are some foods that are more likely to cause heartburn if you already suffer from this ailment. It’s a good idea to keep a food diary, a list of what you eat during the day and when, followed by notations when you experience heartburn. This will help you identify the things that cause your heartburn. The other point is that some of these foods when taken in moderation or eaten with other foods that don’t cause heartburn, may not cause a problem at all. Combining the bad foods together can be a recipe for a really bad night.

If you suffer from heartburn you will probably want to stay away from onions and tomatoes. Garlic will sometimes cause heartburn as well. Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges and grapefruit are also bad ideas. So is orange juice. These acidic foods are especially bad for heartburn if eaten on an empty stomach.

Coffee can also trigger heartburn, as can alcohol. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have it at all, but that you should limit yourself to a three or four ounce cup of coffee in the morning. It might be better if you have that coffee after you have your toast. Typically, alcohol like wine, is consumed on top of lots of creamy or red sauces and the combination of fat, tomato based sauces and then wine…can be an incredible recipe for severe heartburn.

Spicy foods like chili, the use of too much pepper, Mexican dishes and other hot spices can also bring on heartburn.

Foods high in fat like avocadoes, cheese, nuts and fatty red meats can slow down the digestive process in the stomach which may lead to stomach distention, which can place pressure on the esophageal sphincter, eventually leading to heartburn. Eat these foods in moderation and try not to combine cheese and red meat in the same meal. Carbonated beverages can also extend the stomach causing heartburn.

If chocolate seems to cause you heartburn, there is a reason for that. Chocolate causes the esophageal sphincter to relax which will let stomach acids to flow back into the throat, causing heartburn and acid reflux. This is definitely one of the foods you should note in your food diary to see if even the smallest piece could be causing your acid reflux problems.

For a slideshow on what to eat and avoid with heartburn, see here.

The Conundrum of Peppermint

Peppermint specifically and mint teas in general have long been used as a natural aid for indigestion and heartburn. Yet scientists are now saying that peppermint may actually be a heartburn-causing food because it has been found to relax the esophageal sphincter muscle that keeps stomach acid and food from flowing back into your throat from your stomach which will cause heartburn and acid reflux.


Many foods may cause heartburn but the symptoms of acid reflux may also depend on what you eat, how much, what foods you combine and how stressed you are when you are eating. It is important to find out what foods trigger your individual cases of heartburn.

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