Good Foods for Heartburn

Along with avoiding foods and eating habits that aggravate heartburn, here are some good foods for heartburn that can help put out the fire.



Fruits and Vegetables for Heartburn

Bananas and Plantains

peeled banana

These foods are and old remedy for many gastrointestinal problems because they soothe and calm the digestive tract.

In particular plantains - close cousins of the banana - are good foods for heartburn because contain an enzyme that stimulates mucus production in the lining of the stomach, helping to relieve upset and heartburn.

Plantains that are green and a bit unripe are best because they contain leucocyanidin, an anti-ulcer flavonoid that can even protect the lining of the stomach from damage caused by aspirin.

In addition, current research is under way at the University of Liverpool in England to confirm initial findings that the soluble fibre in plantains can soothe the painful inflammation of Chron's disease and ulcerative colitis.

Carob

carob pods

Carob contains a honey-like substance that surrounds the seeds. Some naturopaths suggest consuming 20 grams of carob powder for GERD or acid reflux.

As we've seen on a previous page, chocolate can be responsible for heartburn. The good news is that carob powder can be used in many recipes that require chocolate, so not only you can avoid the heartburn, but you can actually soothe your digestive system in the process.

Have a look at some mouth-watering recipes for Carob Cake, Carob Fudge and Carob Mounds and let me know what you think.

Celery

celery stalk and celery juice

Hungarians have long used celery to calm indigestion and Germany Commission E, a government agency that evaluates the safety and efficacy of medicinal herbs, has approved its use for indigestion.

It can contain two dozen painkillers, more than two dozen anti-inflammatories, 11 anti-ulcer compounds and more than two dozen sedatives to complement the activities of its three carminative compounds.

No wonder celery is one of the good foods for heartburn!

Radishes

bunch of radishes

Radishes contain a variety of chemicals that help improve digestion (in addition to keeping your gallbladder healthy and protecting against cancer).

Many cultures have used radishes among their good foods for heartburn and indigestion and especially stomach ache and gas.

Both the root and juice of the plant have medicinal benefits.

Papaya

pineapple and papaya

This tropical fruit contains papain, an enzyme that helps digestion, soothes the stomach and relieves heartburn and indigestion.

Papain is a proteolytic enzyme - that is, it helps digest or break down proteins in the digestive system, so it's obviously very good after eating meat.

Pineapple

Pineapple is also loaded with digestive enzymes and proteolytics and should be included among the good foods for heartburn. It has been widely used to relieve heartburn and indigestion.

In particular pineapple contains glutamine a compound that helps protect the lining of the stomach.


Spices for Heartburn and Indigestion



Cinnamon

cinnamon sticks and cinnamon powder

Cinnamon is a carminative - an herb that soothes the digestive tract and minimizes gas. You can add some to your herbal tea, or sprinkle it on toast.

Apart from being one of the good foods for heartburn, cinnamon is also good to keep blood pressure down.

Chinese scientists use cinnamon to treat a wide variety of gastrointestinal disorders, including indigestion, gastritis, and even gastric cancer. And cinnamon is approved for such ailments by Commission E.

Ginger

ginger root

Ginger has to be king among the good foods for heartburn.

Ginger contains certain chemical (gingerols and shogaols) that soothe the entire gastrointestinal tract, making it helpful for all kinds of digestive troubles. It relaxes the walls of the oesophagus, aids digestion by increasing the wavelike muscle contractions (peristalsis) that move the food along the intestines.

It also helps tighten the LES (lower esophageal sphincter), which keeps stomach acids in the stomach and out of the oesophagus.

Ginger contains 180 times the protein-digesting power of papaya and stimulates fat-digesting bile, which helps restore proper digestive balance.

Ginger has been used for centuries for its digestive healing powers. The ancient Greeks ate ginger wrapped in bread after a large meal to prevent all kinds of digestive repercussions. Eventually, they added it to dough to give us gingerbread.

In 16th-century Europe, ginger became such a popular digestive herb that it was put on every table right along with salt and pepper. In the 19th century, bar keepers in English pubs put ground ginger in small containers so patrons could sprinkle the herb into their beer, creating ginger ale.

Ginger is particularly helpful for relieving gas, bloating and cramps. It settles the intestines and removes gas from the digestive tract.

For instant relief of heartburn, make a cup of ginger tea by adding 1/2 teaspoon of ground or freshly grated ginger to 1 cup of hot water.

For added protection, and to prevent heartburn and indigestion, sip it 20 minutes before you eat.

Try spicing you favorite dishes (especially beans) and drinks with ginger.

Fresh, not dried ginger, is best for indigestion, but never on an empty stomach. Pickled ginger is also tastefully effective.


Herbs for Heartburn



Angelica and Its Relatives

angelica plant

Angelica is another carminative herb that soothes the digestive tract and minimizes gas. It's a relative of the carrot and a member of the celery family.

Many members of this plant family seem to produce a soothing effect on the digestive tract.

Healing Juice for Heartburn

You can try to make a juice out of these foods: angelica stalks, carrots, celery, fennel, garlic, parsley and parsnips.

Feel free to add some water and spices to make it more drinkable. If you can't get fresh angelica, just use any of the other ingredients, all of which have heartburn-soothing benefits. Mix and match to create a juice you like.

Basil

basil plant

Like most members of the mint family, basil and holy basil are traditional remedies for settling an upset stomach, and for good reasons.

They're loaded with carminatives.

When you're particularly stressed out, try making a pesto with basil leaves, have some on a celery stalk with a dash of powdered rosemary, three of the top good foods for heartburn.


Chamomile

chamomile plant

Widely used as a digestive aid in Europe, chamomile is well suited to treating digestive ailments such as heartburn and indigestion.

This is because it has a unique combination of anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic and stomach-soothing properties, so it has to be included among the good foods for heartburn.

According to Michael Berry, Ph.D, a pharmacognosist in Liverpool, England, chamomile is safe, effective and particularly useful for small children with colic and teething pain.

You can also mix chamomile with peppermint and together these two herbs are even more effective at relieving heartburn and indigestion.

Dill and Fennel

fennel and dill

During medieval times, the emperor Charlemagne provided dill on his banquet tables to calm the stomachs of guests who overindulged. Like cinnamon, dill is a carminative and has been used for thousands of years to treat heartburn and soothe the digestive tract.

Try crushing a few teaspoons of dill seed and steeping them in hot water for a tea.

Fennel is a similar herb that's been used for as long as dill and you can use the seeds in the same way. This is why many preparations for digestive herbal teas contain fennel and/or dill.

Licorice

licorice root and powder

Licorice contain several compound that help protect the lining of the stomach and intestine.

Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL), a processed form of the herb, is your best choice for heartburn and indigestion and may reduce the risk of some unwanted side effects that licorice can sometime cause.

The flavonoids in licorice are especially helpful in preventing ulcers. DGL has been shown to promote the release of certain compounds in saliva that may stimulate the healing of stomach and intestinal cells.

If you have heartburn, add 1/2 a teaspoon of DGL powder to you favorite herbal tea or use a bit of DGL by itself to make a sweet, pleasant-tasting infusion.

Peppermint

peppermint plant

Peppermint is an age-old indigestion remedy and a good deal of research validates the folklore. Many traditional cultures - from the ancient Hebrew to the Pilgrims, who brought mint to the United States on the Mayflower - used peppermint for all sorts of digestive problems, including heartburn.

There is some controversy surrounding this use of peppermint. In fact, you might have noticed that it's included in some lists of foods that can actually cause heartburn, as they claim it relaxes the LES. If this happens to you, obviously don't use this herb. But my experience, along with many other people's, has been that most mints ease digestion and help prevent heartburn. It would be very interesting to hear your comments on how it affects you!

Commission E endorses peppermint tea for treating indigestion. And Varro Tyler, Ph.D, late dean and professor emeritus of pharmacognosy (natural product pharmacy) at Pardue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, noted that most of the carminative oils in peppermint and other mints are relatively insoluble in water.

As a result, peppermint tea doesn't contain much of the plant's stomach-soothing constituents. It does contain enough to make it effective, but a peppermint tincture, which is made with alcohol, contains more.

So whether you want to include peppermint among your good foods for heartburn depends on how it affects you personally!

Rosemary

rosemary plant

As with celery, Europeans have long used rosemary for indigestion and Commission E has approved it for that use.

To strengthen the case for this herb even further, scientific evidence is now accumulating showing that rosemary contains more than a dozen analgesics, 11 anesthetics, and more than a dozen each of anti-inflammatories, anti-ulcer compounds and sedative phytochemicals, all of which support its seven carminatives.


Healing Salad for Heartburn

Try making a salad with several of the following good foods for heartburn: almonds, chicory, dandelion, watercress, lettuce, mustard, olives, and walnuts.

Add a dressing made with cider vinegar, garlic, olive oil, mustard and spring onions.

Along with these good foods for heartburn you might want to look at these other related pages that can help you deal with your heartburn or indigestion even further:

Heartburn Remedies and Indigestion Relief

Natural Remedies for Heartburn vs. Antacids

Foods That Cause Heartburn

Causes of Heartburn and Acid Reflux

Indigestion Causes and Symptoms


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Articles in This Series:



Causes of Heartburn and Acid Reflux

Indigestion Causes and Symptoms

Natural Remedies for Heartburn

Heartburn Remedies and Indigestion Relief

Foods That Cause Heartburn

Good Foods for Heartburn

Heartburn During Pregnancy - Healing Foods to Relieve Heartburn




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