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- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER) and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) in Adults
- MedlinePlus: Bland Diet
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Heartburn, also known as acid reflux, and linked to gastroesophageal reflux disease, is an uncomfortable condition where contents of the stomach are regurgitated back up through the esophagus, creating a burning sensation in the chest. While treating heartburn often requires avoiding certain foods and changing habits, a number of foods are still safe to eat.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
A diet high in grains, especially whole-grains, is safe for those who have heartburn. Good options include brown and wild rices, oats, bulgur, kasha and cornmeal. Bread and pasta are also safe to eat; however, avoid high-fat sauces or those which are tomato based, as fats and the acid in tomatoes could trigger heartburn.
Healthy Protein Choices
Animal proteins are among the hardest foods for the body to digest. However, you can safely include lean meats such as turkey, chicken and fish in your diet. High-fat foods, such as fatty cuts of red meat, can trigger heartburn symptoms. Be sure to chew your food thoroughly to reduce the risk of developing heartburn. Non-animal sources of protein are also safe to eat, such as canned or dried beans and lentils.
Low-Acid Fruits and Vegetables
Low-acid fruits and vegetables are safe for eating if you have heartburn. In addition to beans, which also count as a source of protein, carrots, baked or boiled potatoes, cabbage and broccoli are safe choices for those with GERD. Also recommended are cucumbers, radishes and beets, because they are naturally alkaline. Avoid citrus and other high-acid fruits, including pineapple, cranberries, tomatoes and their juices. St. Vincent Healthcare recommends bananas and apples.
In addition to grains, proteins, fruits and vegetables, some other foods can be helpful in settling heartburn. According to Jill Sklar and Annabel Cohen, authors of "Eating for Acid Reflux," drinking water immediately after sensing heartburn can help wash the acids back into your stomach. Drinking baking soda mixed with lemon juice and water can help neutralize the stomach acid because it is alkaline. As well, teas made from ginger, anise, caraway, fennel, cinnamon, cardamom, slippery elm and marshmallow root may also help for soothe heartburn.
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