Heartburn is a painful and uncomfortable condition that often occurs in response to eating certain foods. You experience heartburn when the acid in your stomach comes back up into your throat and esophagus, which causes burning in your chest, neck and shoulder area. Avoiding trigger foods can help, but adding certain foods to your diet may also help prevent future occurrences of heartburn.
Ginger may not be considered a food that heartburn sufferers should eat because of its spicy taste, but it may actually help prevent heartburn symptoms. The properties in ginger may help protect your esophagus so acid cannot come back up, Reader's Digest reports in "Fight Back With Food: Use Nutrition to Heal What Ails You." Ginger tea is one soothing way to use this food. Boil peeled fresh ginger with water for several minutes and then drink the tea while it is still warm. Adding fresh ginger to bland foods like oatmeal or yogurt may also bring relief.
Besides being cool and soothing, yogurt can actually help prevent future heartburn episodes. Yogurt contains beneficial bacteria that help fight infection and keep your entire body healthy. Deborah Mitchell and Winifred Conkling report in their book, "The Complete Book of Nutritional Healing: The Top 100 Medicinal Foods and Supplements and the Diseases They Treat," that eating yogurt on a regular basis may help treat current heartburn as well as prevent it from returning. Choose a low-sugar variety because sugar can lead to painful heartburn symptoms.
Alkaline Fruits and Vegetables
Alkaline fruits and vegetables are those that do not contain a great deal of acid, such as that found in pineapple, citrus fruits, tomatoes and bell peppers. Mitchell and Conkling recommend alkaline fruits and vegetables because they may reduce the amount of acid in your stomach, which would reduce how much is available to cause heartburn symptoms. Lettuce, cucumber, broccoli, bananas, melons and peaches are some examples of vegetables and fruits that may help prevent your instances of heartburn.
Beans contain fiber, which benefits the health of your entire digestive system, including those parts that can lead to symptoms of heartburn. "Fight Back With Food" suggests adding beans, such as black, navy, pinto or garbanzo, to your diet because they also contain complex carbohydrates, which can often prevent heartburn. Puree beans with olive oil for a healthy dip or add some to chili or stew. Other complex carbohydrates, including whole grain breads, cereals and pastas, can have similar protective benefits.
- MayoClinic.com: Heartburn
- "Fight Back With Food: Use Nutrition to Heal what Ails You"; Reader's Digest; 2002
- "The Complete Book of Nutritional Healing: The Top 100 Medicinal Foods and Supplements and the Diseases They Treat"; Deborah Mitchell and Winifred Conkling; 2008