Nutritional management in Heartburn

Heart burn is one of the most common problem usually occurs as result of gastric acid reflux into the oesophagus. Oesophagus is the muscular food pipe that connects mouth with stomach. Heartburn is characterised by the waves of burning feeling moving from the chest towards the mouth.

Causes of Heartburn

Heartburn normally occurs as result of ingestion of irritating agents which contributes to excessive acid production. Other factors which also causes acid reflux into the oesophagus includes

  • Viral inflammation
  • Oesophageal Ulcers
  • Excessive use of over the counter medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and oral contraceptives.
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Acidic, spicy and high fat foods soon before resting
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Obesity


Heartburn is a symptom of Gastro oesophageal reflux disease and normally involves a sharp burning pain behind the breastbone. Several times heartburn is commonly confused with the pain of heart attack. Other common symptoms associated with heartburn are

  • Sour taste and dry mouth
  • Bloating and burping
  • Bad breath
  • Pain and swelling in the mouth
  • Nausea


The treatment of heartburn involves lifestyle modifications along with diet management and medications.

Lifestyle modification

  • Eat at least three hours before going to bed.
  • Avoid excessive smoking.
  • Limit caffeinated beverages
  • Avoid tight fitting garment
  • Avoid lying down immediately after meals.

Diet management

The main objective of dietary management in heartburn is to prevent pain and irritability caused by acid reflux and to decrease acid secretion . Following are some tips for diet modifications;

  • Avoid spicy food and Acidic foods as they causes pain and irritation .
  • Avoid dietary fats especially before going to bed
  • Avoid caffeine hot drinks and beverages.
  • Avoid eating large portions as it increases acid production.

Below is the list of foods which one should avoid and consume in order to prevent heartburn.