The National Library of Medicine defines Heartburn as the painful burning feeling in your chest or throat. Heartburn occurs when stomach acid travels up into your esophagus from your stomach. Nearly everyone will experience heartburn; however, if you experience heartburn more than twice a week, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD for short. For those with GERD, medical treatment is sometimes necessary as recommended by your physician.
It is estimated by Canadian Digestion Health Foundation that 5 million Canadians experience heartburn at least one time per week! Similarly, the lost productivity from those who suffer each year amounts to $2.1 billion.
What can you do about Heartburn:
Whether you have occasional heartburn or chronic issues with GERD, there are dietary and lifestyle factors that play a major role. Here are my top lifestyle suggestions:
- Control excess body weight (being overweight is a strong risk factor for heartburn – speak with a Registered Dietitian if you need support for achieving weight loss)
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals (3 meals a day and snacks if hungry)
- Drink beverages between meals
- Avoid laying down within 3 to 4 hours of eating
- Avoid smoking
Food Symptom Diary:
This is probably the most important point from a dietary perspective. If you need information on how to complete a food symptom diary please see my website resources for an attachment. Likewise, completing a Food Symptom Diary allows a dietitian to help you discover your unique food triggers, this will help in the management of your symptoms.Using a food diary can help spot food triggers for heartburn. Find out more about common food triggers here! Click To Tweet
Most common food triggers for GERD:
- Fried foods or fatty foods
- Garlic, onions, spices
- Alcoholic beverages
- Coffee (decaf may also trigger symptoms)