Healthy Living

Heartburn Pain Relief: Natural Ways To Reduce Heartburn Pain With Your Diet

Clone of Woman in pain
Naturally reduce heartburn pain with these simple diet changes. Kennedy

If you find yourself clenching your chest because of waves of unpleasant, burning sensation, chances are you're having heartburn pain. Forty-million Americans experience heartburn symptoms at least once a week, while 60 million have heartburn symptoms at least once a month, said James C. Rossler, Jr., MD, and colleagues from the Florida Hospital Medical Group.

Heartburn pain commonly occurs when the food you consume goes through the throat to the stomach and into the esophagus and moves backward, causing a leakage in the food pipe. The irritation of the esophageal tissue is a side effect from foods, medications, or activities that trigger the heartburn response in your body. Sufferers of acid reflux often look for heartburn remedies but fall short of finding a cure that can effectively treat and significantly reduce the burning pain. A simple modification in your dieting habits can naturally reduce and even prevent unpleasant heartburn symptoms.

Adjusting your eating habits is the first step in reducing the heartburn pain you feel after meals, believes Dr. Michael Wald, a dietitian-nutritionist in Mount Kisco, N.Y. “Not chewing well and drinking too much liquids during a meal can dilute stomach acid causing heartburn,” said Ward to Medical Daily. “On the other hand, drinking water can help relieve heartburn."

While heartburn is often thought to be a common symptom of acid reflux, it can also be a strong indicator of a variety of health problems, such as esophageal cancer, stomach and intestinal ulcers, and stomach cancer. Frequent heartburn that interferes with a person’s daily routine should be treated immediately, says Mayo Clinic. The incessant chest pain could also be a symptom of a heart attack.  

Read more: A New Path to Predicting and Preventing Heart Attacks

To relieve heartburn pain and prevent excruciating chest pains, add these healthy eating habits to your diet:

Avoid the following foods and drinks

1. Acid-forming foods

Acid-forming foods, such as red meats, fried foods, and spicy foods, are triggers of heartburn. Tova Payne, B.Sc., R.H.N., suggests incorporating a lot of greens and eating an alkaline-forming diet to help prevent the reoccurrence of heartburn. Alkaline-forming foods include apples, cauliflower, and grapefruit.

2. Carbonated beverages

Carbonated beverages can put extra air into the stomach and lead to extra pressure, which can result in heartburn, said Dr. Julia Pewitt Kinder, F.P., to Medical Daily. The extra pressure of the bubbles found in carbonated drinks causes your stomach to expand, contributing to acid reflux. Caffeinated soft drinks are one of the major primary culprits of heartburn pain. Kinder said to Medical Daily that coffee drinkers should be extra careful, as an excess in caffeine is a potential contributing factor to heartburn.

3. Peppermint

Sufferers of frequent heartburn are often told to have peppermint to alleviate their burning chest pains. Kinder debunked this myth, saying that cool and fresh hybrid mint can actually worsen heartburn. Peppermint can cause the lower esophageal sphincter to allow acids to reenter the esophagus, which contributes to further aggravation and pain for heartburn sufferers.

Read more: Many Women Need More Guidance About Sex After a Heart Attack

Follow these daily habits

1. Do an antihistamine-rich diet

Foods like apples, onions, and fresh parsley can naturally prevent heartburn and even strengthen your immune system. These anti-inflammatory foods can decrease inflammation and aid your digestion. Yasmina Ykelenstam, the "Low Histamine Chef," told Medical Daily that her favorite antihistamine-rich food is Holy basil because it's as effective as ranitidine (Zantac) in treating histamine-induced ulcers and preventing mast cell degranulation. Holy basil is rich in vitamin K and is potently anti-inflammatory.

2. Do lose the extra pounds

Being overweight or obese can put additional pressure on your stomach and increase the risk of heartburn. Findings published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology suggest that “belly breathing” exercises can reduce acid reflux because breathing provides great heartburn relief. “There are a number of non-drug ways to help soothe heartburn -- from diet changes, to quitting smoking, to losing excess pounds,” said Dr. Neil Toribara, a gastroenterologist and professor of medicine at National Jewish Health in Denver, to the Huffington Post.  

3. Do use wooden blocks

Kinder told Medical Daily that an alternative way to prevent heartburn is to place 2-inch-high wooden blocks under the head of your bed. “At first, you may feel as if you are sliding out of bed, but will quickly adapt,” she said. Heartburn often occurs at night while you are sleeping since stomach acid is more prone to move into the esophagus, which can result in long-term damage since you might not know you are having heartburn.

Read more: Negative Thinking About Stress Doubles A Person's Risk For Heart Attack: How Worrying Can Make You Sick

For low-fat recipes that reduce heartburn, click here

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