Heartburn is a painful burning sensation in the chest caused due to the reflux of acid from the stomach.
Contrary to what the name suggests, it has nothing to do with heart but involves the lower oesophageal sphincter muscle that covers the stomach entrance and prevents the food to reflex back in the oesophagus. Due to unhealthy lifestyle and diet, this muscle malfunctions and causes this very common ailment.
Though heartburn is experienced by every adult at least once during the lifetime, it can grow into serious disease if not taken care of .
Heartburn diet – what should be taken during Heartburn episodes
A number of low fat foods and vegetables are considered safe for consumption during heartburns as they have less or no potential to cause acid refluxes. Such diets actually help in alleviating heartburn, not by treating it, but by not causing it. A number of possible heartburn diets have been listed below (in random order).
Pro-biotics like Yogurt and curd are a good source of friendly bacteria that speed up digestion and aid in maintaining a healthy gut. It has been shown that the inclusion of yogurt in a pregnant woman’s diet helps keep heartburns in control.
There have been researches regarding the concentrations of different types of pro-biotic bacteria that would keep the gut healthy overall and also prevent heartburns. Artificial pro-biotics are easily available in the market and can be included in the heartburn diet .
Parsley has long been used in salad dressings, but has a role bigger than that. It is well known to cure upset stomach through an unknown mechanism, research on which has been actively going on. Although the mechanism is not known, it is a common consensus among medical practitioners to prescribe parsley for heartburn .
Fennel seeds on the whole or taken in tea help in reduction of heartburns. The long used herb, fennel, works miracles in irritable bowel syndromes, constipations and upset stomach. It is now known to reduce heartburn problems too by improving digestion of the food .
Aloe Vera is an important digestive aid and an anti-inflammatory agent, thus used for relieving heartburns. Aloe-Vera can be taken as juice at the time of heartburns, which reduces the pain caused by the burning sensation due to the reflux of the acid in the oesophagus .
Green leafy vegetable salad is a natural coolant and should be included in heartburn diet without fail. Salad has a lot of fibre which aids in digestion plus it is low in fatty acids which help in reduction of heartburns.
Salads in general are provided with dressings of cheese and mustard which should be avoided because the sole role of green salad is to avoid fatty components which promote heartburns and take in as much fibre as possible which alleviates refluxes .
Bananas make a great snack and are amazing acid neutralizers. A simple mixture of cold non fat milk and bananas or a chilled banana shake works wonders on people suffering with acid refluxes. In some cases, however, bananas may cause irritable stomach, but are generally safe to eat regularly and during heartburns .
A common herb, celery is patented as an active ingredient of sleep inducing night time antacid. It is known for it anti-inflammatory properties and can be taken as curry dressings, juice or in salads to allay acid refluxes in the night-time, when they are most prone to happen .
Lettuce has been used around the world as a popular home remedy for heartburns. Studies have shown that people suffering with heartburns and using lettuce are cured better and faster than the ones who don’t. It is a common ayurvedic herbal medicines used to treat acid refluxes by neutralizing the stomach acid contents pertaining to its high fibre content .
Research has been conducted on a special fibrous product extracted from fenugreek which can alleviate heartburns. A common treatment of acid refluxes is through mild acids.
This is because it is believed that refluxes might occur due to inefficient acid secretions in the stomach. Hence, mild acidic products such as fenugreek may work to reduce heartburn problems in such cases .
Baked Foods insted of fried ones
Major causes of heartburns, indigestion, occur due to excessive fatty food intake. The content of fried food if reduced from the diet works effectively to reduce acid refluxes.
Certain foods such as potatoes, fish, chicken and steak could be included in the diet if they are not fried. Baking is in general considered healthy for a normal lifestyle too, and in heartburns, it restores tasty food without causing and harmful effects .
Cucumber is an important cooling agent and cucumber as a whole or juice helps neutralize the stomach acids apart from acting as an anti-inflammatory agent. It is well suited for heartburns during pregnancy and has been used across the world to reduce refluxes .
Legumes and Lentils
Legumes and lentils have an acid buffering capacity in the stomach which helps in neutralizing the acidic environment of the same. They are also rich in fibre and hence relieve indigestion. The buffering capacity of these legumes is attributed to the fact that they contain neutralizing amino acids like aspartate and glutamate which effectively reduce heartburns .
Low Lactose Milk
Heartburns are mainly caused by high fat and carbohydrates which take a longer time in digestion and cause acid refluxes. Apart from being a good substitute for people with lactose intolerance, low lactose milk is also an aid for people suffering from heartburns but at the same time, looking for nutrition’s .
Ginger is an effective agent in reducing not just heartburns but also many other stomach problems because of its anti-bacterial properties. Ginger root tea can be taken during heartburns to soothe the stomach muscles and increase bile secretion which increases the digestion and relieves heartburns .
Greater celandine is a bitter herb that works to evoke the stomach muscles and increase the muscle tone.
This overall increases the digestion and reduces the incidences of heartburns and other gastric disorders. Greater celandine is taken as tea from the ancient times as a relieving agent for heartburns and upset stomachs .
Liquorice is an Asian legume plant, the roots of which are used to extract a sweet compound. Liquorice alone or its widely available diglycyrrhizinated form is used in ancient medicine to reduce heartburn incidences. It is known to work by reducing the inflammation and ulceration in heartburns and digestive disorders .
Peppermint leaves in tea have a known wondrous effect in cooling down the stomach and improve the digestion if taken after meals. Consumption of peppermint is widespread amongst pregnant women who suffer greatly from heartburns .
Nutritious nuts such as almonds and avocado are beneficial to take during heartburns. They provide enough carbohydrates and nutrition’s at the same time for the body to sustain without posing a risk of high fat content that exacerbates heartburns. However, almonds and other nuts have a variable effect on different people as it is known to increase heartburns in some pregnant ladies .
Wheat and Millets
Grains such as semolina wheat and millets are taken in heartburn as a part of normal diet because these grains are nutritionally complete and do not interfere with the acid secretions in the stomach.
They are recommended by the dieticians as a part of diet during refluxes so that the patient has enough energy and gets proper taste in food without posing a risk of fatty content in the flour which promotes heartburns .
Chamomile belongs to daisy family of plants and its flower petals are taken as a whole or in tea to alleviate heartburns. It has been used as a complementary medicine because of its antacid properties and is a good substitute for tea during heartburns , .
Non citrus fruits such as apples, pears, and previously stated banana juices are good source of taste, nutrition and medication that relieves heartburns.
These fruits contain essential Phytochemicals which have been proved to increase the thickness of the mucilage wall of the stomach and the oesophagus, thereby minimizing the damage caused to the walls of the gut by the acids. As stated earlier, fruits such as banana and apple mixed with cold low fat milk in the form of shakes are a tasty diet and very effective in reducing heartburns .
A number of Food items commonly available are prescribed by dietitians and physicians during heartburn incidences.
All of these consumables commonly and collectively reduce heartburns by increasing digestion, neutralizing stomach acids and toning stomach muscles, at the same time providing enough energy to not lead to other ailments such as weaknesses.
It can thus be concluded that all the natural, green leafy vegetables, juices and baked, not fried products can be taken without hesitation during heartburns.