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Heartburn: Changing Your Eating Habits


Developing healthier eating habits, losing weight if necessary, and avoiding foods that increase symptoms of GERD may make heartburn less likely to occur. Take your spouse or partner along with you when you go to your doctor to discuss diet habits. It will be easier to make changes in your diet if your family understands what you need to do and why.

Here are some changes you can try.

  • Avoid foods that can make your symptoms worse.

    These may include chocolate, mint, alcohol, pepper, spicy foods, high-fat foods, or drinks with caffeine in them, such as tea, coffee, colas, or energy drinks.

    If your symptoms are worse after you eat a certain food, you may want to stop eating it to see if your symptoms get better.

  • Eat several small meals instead of two or three large meals.
  • Don't lie down after you eat.

    After you eat, wait 2 to 3 hours before you lie down. Late-night snacks aren't a good idea.

  • Lose weight if you are overweight.

    Being overweight puts more pressure on your stomach and makes you more likely to have heartburn. Losing just 5 to 10 pounds can help.

If you notice that your symptoms are worse after you eat a specific food, you may want to stop eating it and see if your symptoms get better.


Current as of: March 21, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board: All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.


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