Cooking Tips for Heartburn-Friendly Meals
Having heartburn doesn’t mean you have to give up eating well.
Heartburn-Friendly Meals: Trim Down Portion Sizes
Perhaps the most effective way of preventing heartburn is to limit portion
size. “The bigger the meal, the greater the risk of reflux,” says Yale
University gastroenterologist Anish Sheth, MD. It’s easy for portion sizes to
creep up in the kitchen. Magee advises:
- Use measuring cups to limit how much you cook.
- Dine on smaller plates so that less still looks like a lot.
- Go for intensity over quantity. For example, if you love chocolate --
frequently cited as a heartburn trigger -- enjoy a small square of dark
chocolate instead of a big chocolaty dessert.
Heartburn-Friendly Meals: Serve Water With Meals
“Drinking water can help dilute stomach acids and reduce the risk of
reflux,” says Sheth. “Water can also soothe the burn when heartburn strikes by
washing stomach acids out of the esophagus.”
Avoid carbonated water. Carbonated water can increase stomach pressure and
lead to belching. Belching causes the valve at the top of the stomach to open,
which increases the likelihood of acid reflux and heartburn.
Heartburn-Friendly Meals: Make Meals a Leisurely Affair
Eating too fast can lead to overeating. That increases pressure on the valve
at the top of the stomach. Eating just before bedtime also adds to the danger
of reflux, since your stomach is likely to be full when you lie down.
“Plan meals at home early enough to allow three hours before bedtime --
plenty of time for the stomach to clear its contents,” advises Lauren Gerson,
MD, a gastroenterologist at Stanford University.
- After a big meal, encourage family members to get up and get moving rather
than stretching out on the sofa. Being upright helps keep food from
- And of course, a brisk walk around the neighborhood instead of half an hour
of television can also help control your weight, another important way to put
out the fire of heartburn.