The jury is out on whether there are truly foods that relieve heartburn. A host of suggestions are found on the Internet, as well as many natural products that may be safe to take or try, but most heartburn prevention focuses on avoiding certain foods rather than adding others. Whether someone with heartburn should even attempt a natural food-based cure rather than taking over-the-counter or prescribed medicine also depends on how bad the person's symptoms are. Those suffering from persistent heartburn may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), sometimes just called acid reflux disease, or an ulcer. GERD or ulcers require medical treatment, since they can cause erosion of the esophagus, leading to asthma and other conditions, as well as decaying the lining of the stomach.
People who get heartburn on an infrequent basis, or perhaps once a week, may want to look at the foods he or she is consuming to see if certain foods are creating the problem. Known offenders include many spicy foods, most alcohol, and most high fat foods. Dark green vegetables like broccoli can pose a problem, and carbonated drinks may make heartburn worse. Those who get heartburn once a week may want to keep a food journal to see which foods seems to trigger the heartburn response.
Simply changing what a person eats is often not enough to solve the problem, and he or she may also have to change how he or she eats. People who eat two to three large meals a day instead of four to six smaller ones are more likely to have heartburn. Eating in bed, when an individual can’t fully sit up, and eating two to three hours before sleeping both can cause bouts of heartburn. Light exercise after eating can help stimulate the digestive system and might reduce stomach acid.
While most experts on heartburn suggest what not to eat, there are a few websites that recommend specific foods that relieve heartburn. Sufferers should be aware that these may offer relief, but those who have GERD or ulcers should know that they are not likely to cure heartburn permanently.
Spices like fennel and cayenne may help relieve heartburn. Ginger is also cited as a possible stomach problem cure, as is mint. People might try cayenne as a spice in food, or use ginger, mint, or fennel seeds to make a heartburn tea.
Some people recommend eating papaya. The theory that connects papaya to heartburn relief is that it contains certain enzymes that may aid in the digestion of foods and thus help the body produce less acid. The fruit isn’t always easy to find, but most health food stores carry enzymes from it. Yogurt with active, live cultures may accomplish the same thing, since it can help provide good bacteria to the gut and promote better overall digestion.
Some people are on the fence as to whether high fiber sources are foods that relieve heartburn or cause it. Most medical professionals believe that daily intake of fiber from whole grains overall may promote better digestion and relieve some heartburn. People who are not allergic to milk may find that the calcium offered in this beverage may also help some heartburn sufferers.
The principle thing to remember is that heartburn can suggest the potential of dangerous conditions that need medical treatment. Even by avoiding known offender foods and trying natural cures, some people might not find relief, and ignoring the problem can lead to a damaged esophagus or a very unhealthy stomach. Before trying any heartburn relieving foods, sufferers should check with a medical professional. They should be sure that their heartburn is not caused by a medical condition or illness prior to changing their diet in hopes of relieving heartburn symptoms.