Nutrition Articles

Keeping a Heartburn Journal

A Simple Way to Find & Avoid Your Triggers

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  • Log your foods. This is very important step. Consider not only what you ate just prior to experiencing symptoms, but what you ate earlier as well. Certain foods seem to increase the incidence of GERD symptoms by weakening the lower esophageal sphincter, lessening its ability to keep stomach contents in the stomach. Look for patterns and begin limiting or avoiding the foods that seem to trigger your symptoms. Watch out for these common triggers:

    Alcohol, butter or margarine, caffeine-containing foods and beverages, carbonated beverages, chocolate and cocoa, citrus fruits and citrus juices, coffee (regular and decaf), cream-based sauces, fatty meats, fried foods, garlic, gravy, high-fat foods, mint flavors, nuts and nut butters (including peanut butter), oils, onions, pastries, pepper, peppermint, salad dressings, spearmint, spicy foods, tomatoes and tomato products, and vinegar.
     
  • Consider other habits. Other behaviors can make a difference too. Did you eat on the run, or eat and then run soon after? The following habits can all trigger symptoms: consuming large meals; eating too quickly; lying down soon after meals; exercising too soon after meals; and wearing tight-fitting clothing or belts.
  • Remember that even if you are able to eliminate your GERD symptoms, it is still important to consult with your doctor. Even without symptoms, GERD can still be present and may lead to serious medical complications if left untreated.

    Besides acting as a tool that will help you to modify your own behavior and symptoms, your heartburn journal is also a great way to help you communicate with your doctor as you develop a plan to battle your burn.
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    About The Author

    Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
    Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

    Member Comments

    • ILANATURNERC5
      My tips on how I completely cured my heartburn & acid reflux.
      Tip 1; an immediate relief is found via root ginger. Seems to neutralise the esophagus immediately.
      Tip 2; apple cider vinegar diluted with a bit of water and then down it. Every morning.
      Tip 3; have a look at the free video on solvehealthproble
      m.com/acidreflux and just follow the methods it gives you. Takes about a week but reflux symptoms will then be gone forever.
      Tip 4; dont push your luck! once you feel your symptoms have relieved still donít be silly and have that greasy take away! Be cautious what you eat without it ruling your life.

      Acid reflux can indeed cause many various symptoms, I think thats another thing what struggled me for many years when i had it
      - 4/16/2015 12:04:55 PM
    • DLABUSCHA
      have not had heartburn in a while.
      beer
      orange juice
      bread,buns
      pizza
      allot of drinking (party)
      really very fatty foods
      a pie is a killer halfway the heartburn starts.

      this is with triggers it for me. carbs being the worst of the lot. its like instant heartburn - 3/26/2015 7:59:49 AM
    • This is weird! I had acid reflux when I was 35 pounds heavier and ate junk a lot! Now I never have acid reflux. I was on nexium prior to the weight loss too! I stopped taking it and began eating healthy and have had no acid reflux at all no matter what I eat! I have eaten tomatoes (a trigger before) and even sauces. The only thing that happens is I get those canker sores on my tongue from too much acid, but even they are less.. It's just weird! - 12/9/2014 11:45:02 AM
    • CRAMONE
      wondering if anybody experiences chest pain? It's scary because I think it feels like what a heart attack must feel like, but my doc says it's GERD... - 6/17/2014 5:12:22 PM
    • regurditation after diary products, tried elimination for a few weeks, no diary at all and today I re-introduced a little bit of milk. Well, it's here again - regurditation, bloating, abdominal cramps, severe fatigue... so from now on, diary free diet i guess - 6/6/2014 7:33:40 AM
    • My GERD turned out to be caused by a hiatal hernia. My primary doctor knew I had a hiatal hernia but never checked to see how bad it was. He told me I just needed to lose a little weight to take care of the GERD. A surgeon I was seeing for a different matter checked and told me the hernia was one of the largest he'd ever seen. While doing the surgery for the other matter he repaired the hernia and I haven't had a single GERD episode since. It's wonderful to be able to sleep on my back now instead of propped up.

      Unfortunately, the years of GERD gave me Barrett's esophagus ó a condition which makes it more likely I could develop esophageal cancer. I have to have an endoscopy every year to make sure that doesn't happen.

      BTW, I have a new primary doctor now. :-) - 4/1/2014 11:12:29 PM
    • SUGARFLY69
      Anything deep fried really seems to trigger my symptoms. Just another reason to avoid this unhealthy type of food. - 2/18/2014 7:05:09 PM
    • SAERJOMO2006
      I get heartburn late in the evening if I drink coffee, eat bread, drink water or juices. Also, if I eat anything that contains tomato sauce or any acid foods or anything with mint. - 1/9/2014 3:02:17 PM
    • MPINEDA87
      For my severe GERD I started on organic apple cider vinager, one teaspoon in the morning before breakfast and during the day as needed when heartburn starts. Also Pure Aloe Vera 4oz after taking the apple cider vinager. I have not taking omeprazole in few weeks. - 1/5/2014 1:00:44 PM
    • 4MOMWOW
      A food journal is a great idea. Thanks.
      Tomato based foods--chili, sauces/pasta-- are high acid which can trigger an episode with me. At home when i cook with canned tomatoes I add 1-2 Tbls of sugar . Seems to help but I try not to eat too much at one time.
      - 9/29/2013 5:44:16 PM
    • There are two foods that trigger it for me, bananas and almonds, I also get it when I'm hungry too. - 5/9/2013 11:35:59 PM
    • I'm avoiding fruits/veggies from the Birch and Alder family. For other veggies/fruit I cook, steam, place in microwave for 3 minutes before eating. - 4/20/2013 8:28:48 AM
    • Gosh, this "random" article is perfect timing. I've been experiencing a lot of heartburn lately. I upped my calories at doctor's request, but my body doesn't seem to be adjusting well. I'm going to start paying more attention to this, and try to avoid the patterns and/or foods causing it. Thanks for the info. I'm already participating in several challenges, incl. sleep and diabetes, so I'm doing a fair amt. of health journaling already. But maybe I can make quick observations on my nutrition notes on the tracker. - 12/18/2012 3:20:42 AM
    • Gosh, this "random" article is perfect timing. I've been experiencing a lot of heartburn lately. I upped my calories at doctor's request, but my body doesn't seem to be adjusting well. I'm going to start paying more attention to this, and try to avoid the patterns and/or foods causing it. Thanks for the info. I'm already participating in several challenges, incl. sleep and diabetes, so I'm doing a fair amt. of health journaling already. But maybe I can make quick observations on my nutrition notes on the tracker. - 12/18/2012 3:20:18 AM
    • LAURIEDIARY
      Nothing triggers my GERD like stress! Seems like one day I can eat the food that bothered me the week before. I take a omeprozole (20mg) everyday to keep it in check. Seems to be working. Now that the holidays are upon us, I will have to watch the party food & question what ingredients are in some foods...or not eat them at all. - 12/2/2012 10:45:29 AM

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