Millions of heartburn sufferers have been told to avoid spicy foods in order to find relief from their heartburn symptoms. But is giving up the foods you love the only answer? Check out these heartburn tips for spicy food lovers.
3 Heartburn Prevention Tips for Spicy Food Lovers
Know your own heartburn triggers. Mint, alcohol, caffeinated coffee, and other foods are believed to cause the lower esophageal sphincter—the valve between the stomach and esophagus that is supposed to keep stomach acids at bay—to relax. This relaxation causes reflux. But researchers have had difficulty proving these theories during clinical trials. Doctors admit that what triggers heartburn in one person may cause no reaction in another, so the best way to prevent heartburn without unnecessarily avoiding “safe” foods is to get to know your own triggers. Keep a food journal for several weeks and document what you eat, how much you eat, and when heartburn symptoms occur.
Eat smaller servings. If you find that your favorite foods do, in fact, trigger your heartburn, it’s probably best to avoid them all together. But if you can’t bear the idea of giving it up forever, try eating smaller amounts. Eating too much at one time puts added pressure on your stomach and LES, causing acid reflux and heartburn. Limiting your portion sizes might allow you to enjoy the taste of your favorite foods without paying the painful price.
Chew gum. Chewing gum after and between meals stimulates the production of saliva, your body’s natural acid neutralizer. It also helps move food and acids down the esophagus and into the stomach. If you do chew gum, avoid minty flavors, as this may trigger heartburn symptoms for you.