Occasional acid reflux is annoying. But if heartburn occurs frequently, you need to reassess what you’re doing. Healthy eating expert Jennifer Iserloh offers dietary tips to avoid igniting that discomfort, plus a recipe for soothing tea…
Like 60 million Americans, Jennifer Iserloh suffers from occasional heartburn due to acid reflux.
Luckily, the condition – which occurs when stomach acid travels back up into the esophagus – can often be eased with a few simple changes in the way you eat, she says.
“If you tweak things in your diet, you can make lasting impact,” notes Iserloh, co-author of 50 Shades of Kale (Harper Wave), who went to culinary school in Manhattan and trained in gourmet restaurants.
Start by incorporating healthful foods in your meals, she says.
“Have 4 to 5 cups of greens a day, and a good amount of lean proteins and whole grains.”
Also, get enough sleep every night, and try meditating to relieve stress, she suggests.
In an exclusive interview, the private chef and cleansing course creator shares her top food-based tips to keep acid reflux from causing you pain.
1. Cut back on wine and coffee.
These acidic liquids can wreak havoc on your esophageal tract, Iserloh says.
“If the sphincter at the end of your esophagus weakens, the gastric juices from your stomach [can flow back upward],” she explains. “And if you’re putting acidic liquids like wine or caffeine into your stomach, that’s what will end up in your lower esophagus.”
2. Skip the white rice and try millet.
Grains are low in acid and good for reflux, but white rice lacks fiber and nutrients, Iserloh advises.
“Whole grain brown rice is OK, but I’m a big fan of millet. It’s from Africa, tastes like corn and is bursting with great minerals,” she says.
“When you cook it, it gets very soft. You can make cornbread from millet, stir it into soups, or have it as a side dish with olive oil and herbs. It’s fantastic.”
3. Eat oats, too.
“Millet and other exotic grains are great, but they get pricey,” Iserloh says. “Oats are cheap and can be found everywhere.”
Before cooking, try adding some yogurt or kefir to moisten the oats, she suggests. Hydrating grains helps break down phytic acid, a compound some people find hard to digest.
4. Snack on sweet potatoes.
“I love sweet potatoes,” Iserloh says. “Eating them plain is great for heartburn. Cut them, poke them with a fork, and put them in a microwave under a paper towel. Cook on high for 6 to 8 minutes.”
Once the sweet potato has cooled, you can squeeze the flesh into a plastic bag and mash it.
“That step is also a great way to get the kids involved,” Iserloh notes.