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What the Conventional Wisdom Didn't Teach About Avoiding Heartburn
Old 01-26-2012, 09:25 PM   #1
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What the Conventional Wisdom Didn't Teach About Avoiding Heartburn

Last spring I had some tiny ulcers and a bit of damage to the valve between esophagus and stomach. Drugs and advice was given and followed. And heartburn got worse.

Long story short, this is what I had to learn on my own about eating to avoid heartburn. Your mileage may vary.

No or minimal liquid with meals.

Drink water in small amounts throughout the day instead of the same total amount in larger servings.

Plain yogurt with live culture almost every day.

Cook or soak whole grains until they've absorbed all the liquid they can. Slowly eat small amounts.

No sugar bombs after a meal. My decades long habit of eating a few cookies an hour after a meal sometimes caused stomach havoc.

Identify the foods that cause me heartburn because there is not much overlap between the lists found all over the medical literature and quasi medical advice sites except for highly acidic foods. I have two lists. The long one is for after I've just finished a period of using PPI or H2 blockers. The short one is for when my stomach has recovered from those drugs.

The biggest non diet factor in avoiding heartburn is to use PPI and H2 blocker drugs only as a last resort. They control acid now but cause more heartburn later. I compare them to using chapstick. Using chapstick too often causes one's lips to chap, which means more chapstick, etc.

Since I've combined this with the conventional wisdom of avoiding highly aciidic foods, eating slowly, chewing thourghly (and then chewing some more) and eating small meals, heartburn happens rarely. Much less often than only following the conventional wisdom.

Anybody else use these or other methods to avoid heartburn?
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Old 01-26-2012, 09:27 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by ItDontMeanAThing View Post
Anybody else use these or other methods to avoid heartburn?
Avoid spicy Thai food.
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Old 01-26-2012, 09:30 PM   #3
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Avoid spicy Thai food.
LOL. There are a few I can't go near but it's the vinegar/lime juice, not the spicy. I do miss Som Tam, especially the Isaan versions which double as paint remover.
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Old 01-26-2012, 09:41 PM   #4
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For me it was as simple as cutting out a lot of the fat in my meals, and cutting down the amount of beer I drink.

When I do feel a bout of heartburn coming I drink plenty of water and that usually does it. Over Christmas I did have to chew some Tums a couple of nights after too many mince pies
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Old 01-26-2012, 10:10 PM   #5
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Avoid sugary items like cookies, cake etc. Also acids like vinegar BBQ sauces. And don't stuff self with too much food, such as tons of chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant. When reflux does occur, I take an antacid.
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Old 01-26-2012, 11:01 PM   #6
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Since going low-carb/high-fat I have had only one instance of acid/heartburn, and that was a result of eating something loaded with Serrano and Habanero peppers about an hour before going to bed.
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Old 01-27-2012, 08:53 AM   #7
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A couple I would add: Don't overeat, and wait for an hour or more before reclining.

And avoid the doomsday peppers!
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Old 01-27-2012, 09:41 AM   #8
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I've not had trouble with heartburn (GERD) since I lost a little weight BUT mainly from eating more GREEN food. I have a book about balancing the PH levels in your body. I didn't pay much attention to all the details but I did pay attention to the foods listed as acid and alkaline. Always include some alkaline type foods with your acidic type foods. Apple cider vinegar can be either acid or alkaline...depends on the person. Meat and sugar are acidic along with many other foods that you wouldn't think would be. Eat a salad with every meal for starters.

I no longer take Prilosec....probably hurt my bones while taking that stuff since your body needs some acid in order to utilize calcium.
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Old 01-27-2012, 11:55 AM   #9
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For me, when I lost about 30 lbs my gerd went away, and I attribute that to better diet and exercise.
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Old 01-27-2012, 06:14 PM   #10
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I take a Nexium a day for 3 or 4 days, and that totally eliminates the problem for at least a couple of months.
A 30 day prescription of Nexium is a year's supply for me.
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Old 01-28-2012, 01:04 AM   #11
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Thought my question was clear. Asked for prevention, not treatment. Unconventional, not the AMA party line.

>Always include some alkaline type foods with your acidic type foods.

After first hearing about the Alkaline Diet (it has other names, all are based on how food affects blood ph level) I've paid zero attention to it because anything that bogus makes more well known junk sciences look like Nobel candidates. But if combining alkaline and acid foods, as defined by the alleged affect on blood ph, prevents heartburn then I'm on board. Thanks for the idea. I never would have looked in that direction.

Turns out of the things that cause heartburn for me if I eat them alone or eat too much relative to the rest of the meal, some cause alkaline ph, some acid ph. Ignoring the Alkaline Diet what that means is if I eat small amounts of the things that cause heartburn in a meal of things that don't, the overall effect is no heartburn. I'd better phone Oslo with the news.
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Old 01-28-2012, 05:35 AM   #12
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Make some green smoothies for your lunch once in a while. Load up on greens for a few days to balance out your body's PH a little. Then just watch what you eat and try to balance those foods a little more consistently. You can probably find a list of those foods that are more acidic/alkaline on the internet someplace or a book. You can't always tell what foods are (acid/alkaline).

I'm finding in my old age that balance in EVERYTHING is the key for me anyway.

I can't find my book right now. I'll see if I can find it and post a food list later.
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Old 01-28-2012, 11:18 AM   #13
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I'm too lazy to input a list....that's work ya know.

Here is a link with a nice color coded chart that might help.


Alkaline Food Chart - Official List Of Alkaline Foods & Acidic Foods | Alkaline Foods & Alkaline Diet
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:29 PM   #14
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Just an fyi...but I take Crestor & Zetia in the evening....and read that antiacids should not be taken with 2 hours of taking the meds ... was in the detailed info that accompanies prescriptions. Don't recall exactly what the result is...maybe makes the meds ineffectual? So...have tried harder to avoid heartburn by some of the methods discussed. Anyone on similar medication might want to check with their pharmacist.
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Old 01-29-2012, 04:31 PM   #15
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No sugar bombs after a meal. My decades long habit of eating a few cookies an hour after a meal sometimes caused stomach havoc.
Keep an eye out for whether wheat or other foods with gluten cause you problems. It might have been the sugar that was wreaking havoc but it might also have been the wheat flour...or both.
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Old 01-30-2012, 05:32 AM   #16
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Keep an eye out for whether wheat or other foods with gluten cause you problems. It might have been the sugar that was wreaking havoc but it might also have been the wheat flour...or both.
Thanks for the tip. Wheat bread as part of a meal causes a little gas, but haven't seen any relation between it and heartburn. Maybe it's the combo of wheat and sugar because a small scoop of ice cream (scoops here are about half the size of American ones) doesn't cause problems. Other than that my intake of sugar is rather limited.
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Old 01-30-2012, 10:53 AM   #17
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There was a related thread a few months ago.

Here's an updated version of what I wrote then:

Quote:
I had a particularly bad bout of acid reflux about a decade ago -- thought it was going to be the end of me. I tried the apple vinegar "cure," since it was recommended on various websites, but I thought it made things worse. Subsequently, I took a prescription Prilosec equivalent for a number of months. Then I weaned myself off the medication (despite my doctor's trepidation) by doing an elimination diet. That helped me determine the triggers so I could avoid them. I've kept acid reflux at bay ever since through diet alone.

Our bodies are all different, but these are the conclusions I came to:
  • Avoid all mint. (For some reason, I don't usually see this mentioned when acid reflux is discussed, but I think it's one of the worst triggers.)
  • Consume tomatoes sparingly, particularly in cooked form. Forget tomato soup and V8.
  • Avoid eating too many grains, particularly without vegetables.
  • Eat green vegetables with every meal.
  • Don't combine uncooked acidic fruits with dairy products or meat.

Hope that helps. By the way, some people consider chocolate a trigger; I don't.
Perhaps because it's so obvious, I forgot to include "avoid spicy food" on the above list. That's a must.

I used to consider alcohol and coffee triggers, but in isolation they don't seem to bother me anymore. I'd never combine them, though (e.g., Irish Coffee). In fact, that's an important point: Sometimes a potential trigger won't have much of an effect, but if it's combined with another one, watch out.
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Old 01-30-2012, 09:41 PM   #18
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Aloe vera juice...I swear by it. Get the ulcers and gastritis (self-diagnosed). Dr. prescribed Zantac 150 about 10 years ago for ulcers and it always did the trick. Then I heard from a friend, and read a magazine article, about how bad those meds can be.

Now, I drink 3 oz. of aloe vera juice in AM and PM. It has totally taken care of all those problems...don't have to watch diet. Well, I do go a bit easy on tomatoes. It's been wonderful.
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Old 02-09-2012, 03:11 PM   #19
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For me it was as simple as cutting out a lot of the fat in my meals, and cutting down the amount of beer I drink.
My deepest sympathy to you.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:43 PM   #20
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Changed my eating habits in 5 weeks ago. Almost doubled the amount of fruits and vegetables, also eat them at more times during the day. Since then the only meds I've taken for heartburn is one dose of pepto bismol - after a meal that I knew would trigger it.

First some background. For most of my adult life friends commented that I ate more fruits and veggies than any non-vegetarian they knew. Didn't hurt that I enjoyed cooking and was good at it.

It takes a little effort to get what I thought was an adequate supply of fruits and veggies in Thailand but the amount was well below than when I had a kitchen. I was in Vietnam last month for 22 days. Found the restaurant veggies were easier to find, better tasting, had a greater variety and cheaper than in Thailand so I increased my veggie intake without thinking about it. GI tract function returned to how it was when I had a kitchen. Bought a steamer when I returned to Thailand. Have maintained the higher veg intake. Since then no heartburn and GI track works like when I had a kitchen. In the immortal words of Homer Simpson: "Whoo hoo!".
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