Heartburn is the worst. Whether you're pregnant or simply more prone to it, we're always looking for ways to dodge it. We've all heard about foods to avoid when we're experiencing heartburn (anything acidic like pasta sauce), but what should we do to avoid having it altogether? Having heartburn can feel like blades of glass in our chest and throat. Luckily, there are some foods that you can experiment with to eliminate this discomfort. Further, there are some behaviors to attempt in easing the discomfort that heartburn brings, too.
According to Healthline, there are some foods that you can try if you're experiencing heartburn. However, "not all of these foods work for everyone. In fact, some of them may even have the reverse effect on some people. So, just be cautious and remember that these foods are most definitely not a cure," said Emily Kuberski, a registered dietitian. Bananas, oatmeal, ginger (in tea or pealed fresh), melon, lean meats (like turkey and chicken), fish, green vegetables, egg whites, and rice or couscous are all options that many of us eat weekly anyway. Some of these options may work for you, but just remember Kuberski's advice: "They could backfire."
If you're leery about experimenting with these food options to alleviate pain associated with heartburn, you may want to try these behaviors instead.
Don't drink a lot of water with your meals.
Try to drink your water between our meals instead of chugging a bunch during your meals. This fills you up even more. And if you take big gulps, you're more likely to inhale more air than usual — creating more gas. And according to Livestrong, your muscles around your esophagus need to practice swallowing more, and that can't be done while guzzling. Instead, simply try to drink slowly and not too much with your meals.
Eat smaller meals.
If you can, try not to eat three big meals a day. According to Health, "A very full stomach can cause the valve between your stomach and esophagus (known as the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES) to relax, pushing stomach acids back up into the esophagus." I certainly served as a witness to this one when I was pregnant. And although it was difficult to get used to, eating five small meals during the day instead of three helped me tremendously.
Avoid lying down right after you eat, and eat about 3 hours before you go to sleep.
Sometimes it's difficult to eat dinner well before bedtime, but if you want to dodge that nighttime heartburn, trust me and do it. As Kuberski said, "Your food needs time for gravity to do its job and for your dinner to shimmy on down to start the digestion process." And by eating at least three hours before bedtime, this will greatly help with that.
Keep a food journal.
When you're trying to discover exactly which foods rile up your heartburn most, the best thing you can do is to start a food journal. This way, you can notice a pattern and work on eliminating and adding foods that both aggravate and lessen your heartburn. Simply make a T-Chart, jot down what you eat at every meal in one column, and take brief notes on the other side explaining how it made you feel. It's that easy.