Heartburn Prevention and Diet

Improving your diet is one of the lifestyle changes that can help with heartburn prevention. As a bonus, a good diet can reduce the extra pounds that can push stomach acid into your esophagus. Not all of these heartburn-prevention tips may be right for you. Remember to check with your doctor before starting any special diet.

Watch What You Consume

Reducing certain foods, drinks and other substances can prevent heartburn. That’s because some foods stimulate the overproduction of stomach acid. Others weaken or relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is the band of muscles that normally keeps acid in your stomach.

Try some of these tips to help prevent your heartburn symptoms:

  • Avoid citrus, tomato products and other acidic foods. Try eating pasta with pesto sauce and getting vitamin C from broccoli, sweet peppers and potatoes.
  • Reduce fatty foods. Eat more vegetables, non-citrus fruits, skinless poultry and fish. Fried, high-fat and spicy foods can stimulate the production of stomach acid.
  • Avoid cow’s milk. Try soy and rice milk substitutes. Dairy can contribute to a range of digestive health problems, especially if you’re lactose-intolerant.
  • Cut down on caffeine. Drink non-citrus fruit juices (apple, grape, etc.) and hot or cold herbal teas.
  • Stop smoking. Talk to your doctor about the best way for you to quit.
  • Reduce alcohol. Try alcohol-free beers and wine instead. Drinking less also eliminates alcohol’s empty calories.
  • Watch how you eat. An important part of heartburn prevention is watching how, what and when you eat.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Eating four to six smaller meals a day (instead of two or three large ones) can reduce the amount of acid in your stomach.
  • Eat slowly. Eating too quickly can lead to heartburn.
  • Eat less. More food in your stomach can result in more acid that can bubble into your esophagus. Another benefit of not eating too much is that it may help you lose weight.
  • Ensure an empty stomach before bedtime. Do not eat or drink anything other than water within two or three hours of going to bed.