How to Avoid Heartburn at Summer Cookouts

Summer is a great time to cook outdoors with family and friends.  But unfortunately, for a lot of people, it’s also a time to get acid reflux and heartburn.  That’s because the very things that often make those summer cookouts so tasty also make them triggers for people with a history of reflux.  

As you probably know, heartburn occurs when the acid travels from the stomach and backs up into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation in the throat or chest. Other symptoms can involve coughing, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, indigestion, or regurgitation. 

So, which foods should acid reflux sufferers avoid?  The answer is, anything greasy, spicy, fatty or acidic.  Here is a short list: 

  • Fried foods – Yes, they do show up at cookouts as well
  • Fatty meats
  • Citrus fruits and juices – they contain high amounts of acid
  • Tomato sauces, tomatoes, and onions – they contain acids that could trigger reflux
  • Ice Cream
  • Chili Dogs
  • Soda
  • Alcohol

Instead, enjoy these:

  • Lean meats, such as turkey patties
  • Grilled meats
  • Baked meats
  • Non-acidic grilled veggies
  • Non-citrus fruit juices
  • Mild fruits, such as melons
  • Water

Of course, everyone is different. Foods that have an adverse effect on one person may be just fine for another. So, keep track of your own triggers.  The good news is that occasional heartburn or acid reflux is fairly common and can be eased with over-the-counter medications. But it’s time to see a doctor if symptoms occur two or more times per week.  Persistent reflux is considered GERD, which can eventually lead to more serious health problems.

In addition, if you’re prone to acid reflux, it’s always a good idea to prevent heartburn year round by talking to your doctor about your options, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding smoking. 

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