It can be difficult enough to diet without having to cope with the irritation and stress caused by heartburn. Heartburn is the sensation that occurs when gastric acid comes up through the esophagus. This can be caused by a number of different factors. If heartburn pain is persistent, it should be checked by a doctor, as sometimes it can be a symptom of heart disease.
One of the factors that might cause heartburn is obesity. However, dieting can sometimes cause heartburn to flare up, making it difficult to stay on an eating plan. Here are some tips on how to prevent heartburn when dieting.
Coffee and tea, as well as diet soda, can seem like a dieter’s best friends as they provide a lot of comfort without adding many calories. Unfortunately, caffeine can contribute to heartburn, so avoiding caffeinated drinks is essential to preventing it. Even diet soda without caffeine is not recommended, as carbonated drinks are another heartburn factor.
Avoid Acidic Fruits and Vegetables
While eating as wide a range of fruits and vegetables as possible is always to be encouraged, heartburn sufferers should try to avoid the more acidic foods, such as citrus fruits and tomatoes, and eat other fruits such as strawberries, grapes and nectarines in moderation. Onions and garlic should also be eaten in moderation. These foods should particularly be avoided in the hours before sleeping, as when the esophagus is horizontal gastric acid can rise more easily, causing heartburn.
Avoid Fatty Foods
This is an easier rule to follow when on a diet, as avoiding fatty foods is generally part of the plan. It can be difficult on a low carb diet, however. But fat can increase stomach acid, which can lead to more reflux and more heartburn, so it is best to avoid it. Even milk products, which are often erroneously thought to decrease heartburn, can increase it with their high fat content.
Engage in Mild Exercise
Exercise may cause heartburn in some people, which can be discouraging. Some ways to prevent this include taking an antacid before exercising, and only doing gentle exercises, like walking, to prevent agitating the stomach. Avoid exercising until at least an hour after eating.
Eat Small Meals
Eating small, frequent meals can help to raise your metabolism as well as help to reduce heartburn. Eating a large meal may force stomach acid up the esophagus. Eating small meals will help to prevent this from happening.
Keep a Heartburn Journal
Keeping a record of what foods you eat and when you get heartburn can help you to correlate which foods and activities are causing it so that you can avoid them better in the future. Keeping a food journal is often useful when embarking on a diet anyway, as it can help you to see other patterns of eating, like stress eating, and learn to avoid them.
Heartburn is an unpleasant condition which may be avoided with careful monitoring of your diet and an exercise plan. Reducing or eliminating heartburn will give your diet the best chance of success, and reducing your weight can help prevent heartburn, so sticking to it is the best course of action.