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How to deal with heartburn

Published January 27. 2010 05:00PM

The trouble usually starts when you find a dish so delicious that you can't get enough. Of course, a few hours later, when indigestion kicks in, you'll wonder: "Why did I eat so much?" Before you overdo it, check out this list of foods that kick up heartburn and ways to cool it down.

Some top culprits:

Citrus fruits: Oranges, grapefruits and juices made from these fruits tend to cause heartburn, especially when consumed on an empty stomach.

Tomatoes: Though they're full of good-for-you lycopene, the acidity can be irritating for those prone to heartburn.

Spicy foods: Yep, the old saying is true spicy foods can trigger heartburn. If you've ever found yourself with a bit of burn after eating Mexican fare or chili, you might want to opt for less spicy versions of your favorites.

Fatty foods: French fries, fried chicken, gravies and creamy sauces are examples of high-fat foods that can bring on the flames.

Peppermint and spearmint: Both peppermint and spearmint oils tend to relax the muscle that keeps acids in the stomach and make it easier for them to slip back into your esophagus.

Alcohol: Alcohol relaxes the muscle between the stomach and esophagus and makes it easy for acids to escape.

Chocolate: Chocolate is on the heartburn list for the same reason as alcohol.

Preventing the Burn:

• Keep a food diary to pinpoint the culprit.

• Eat smaller meals.

• Cut down the alcohol.

• Don't drink liquids at meals.

• Wear loose clothing.

• Avoid lying down after eating.

• Medications: Antacids and numerous other over-the-counter medications are always options, but if you find your heartburn worsening, see your doctor.

Courtesy Toby Amidor in "Healthy Eats" on

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