Digestive Health

Find heartburn relief with these summertime foods

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Discover summertime foods for heartburn relief. Learn how to soothe heartburn naturally with these GERD-friendly foods!


By Suma Magge, MD, Gastroenterology, Nuvance Health

Summer is here and the sun is hot! But the sun may not be the only thing burning this summer if you experience frequent heartburn symptoms. Learn about the role seasonal foods play when it comes to triggering your heartburn and which kinds of summer produce and refreshing drinks provide instant relief so you can get back to living your best life.


Learn more about acid reflux and take a heartburn quiz.


Common causes of heartburn

Heartburn, also known as acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD,) is a common problem that many people face. Researchers estimate that about 20% of people in the United States have GERD. Heartburn is characterized by a burning sensation in your chest and a sour or bitter taste in your mouth. Heartburn is the result of stomach acid flowing back up into your esophagus, causing discomfort and irritation. Various triggers, especially during summer, can exacerbate heartburn symptoms, including allergies, sinus congestion and eating certain summertime foods.


Related content: Burning question: What causes GERD? How to find fast relief


Summertime dietary tips for heartburn-relief

Summer is the season of fun, when fresh, vibrant foods from the garden make their return to every cookout and block party table. If heartburn is an issue for you, it's important to choose your summer diet wisely. By incorporating heartburn-friendly foods into your meals you can reduce discomfort and savor the flavors of the season. Choose GERD-safe lean proteins such as grilled chicken or fish and fresh fruits and vegetables. Berries, melons, leafy greens and cucumbers are also healthy choices that won’t set your heartburn ablaze.

When preparing meals, choose heartburn-friendly herbs such as basil, thyme or oregano instead of adding spices such as garlic, onions and acidic ingredients. Onions and garlic often cause problems with digestion because of their high fructose content, possibly contributing to GERD indirectly. Avoid shallots, leeks and chives, especially if raw. Onion lovers do not fret! Leeks are a great alternative to onions for their identical flavor and taste and they won’t trigger your heartburn symptoms. But if you just can’t quit onions then cook with sweet white onion or Vidalia onions instead which are milder.   


Be mindful when eating. Eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day can help prevent overeating and reduce heartburn symptoms. Speak with your doctor before making any changes to your diet, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition.


Related Content: Heartburn trouble? Here are the worst and best foods for acid reflux


Rejuvenating summertime drinks for heartburn relief


Hydration plays a crucial role in soothing heartburn symptoms. Selecting the right beverages can help alleviate discomfort and provide relief. Here are some hydrating options that can help soothe heartburn:


Water: Water is essential for overall health and can help dilute stomach acid, reducing heartburn.

Coconut water: Packed with electrolytes, coconut water helps soothe the burning sensation caused by heartburn.


Related content: Can drinking more water help you live longer?


Aloe vera juice: Known for its healing properties, aloe vera juice can soothe the esophagus and reduce inflammation.


Herbal teas like chamomile, ginger and peppermint can also provide heartburn relief. For a heartburn-friendly alternative to alcoholic beverages, consider making refreshing mocktails with watermelon, cucumber or berries. Consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition.


Seasonal produce to combat heartburn symptoms


Incorporating seasonal fruits and vegetables into your recipes can provide heartburn relief. During the summer season, there are plenty of options that are easy on the digestive system. Fruits such as strawberries, melons, and bananas are excellent choices for heartburn sufferers. Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and arugula are rich in fiber and low in acidity, making them gentle on the stomach. Summer vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, and peas are not only low in acidity but also provide essential nutrients. These foods can be used to create a tasty detox dinner. Try leeks as an alternative to onions!


Learn more about nutrition counseling at Nuvance Health.


The bottom line: By incorporating small changes and making mindful choices about your diet, you can effectively manage heartburn and enjoy a more comfortable summer season. Remember, it's essential to consult with your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet or lifestyle. If lifestyle changes don’t seem to be working for your reflux, speak with your doctor or gastroenterologist about certain medications such as antacids so you can find relief.


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