Gentle diet advice for heartburn

In the news this week: millions of people who take heartburn medications are at higher risk from early death.  Research is showing that taking proton-pump inhibitor medications (PPIs) are really not doing us any good in the long run.  These medications include prescriptions you would have had from your GP, Omeprazol being the most common drug prescribed.  If you have been on PPI medications for a while, you could try following the below diet plan and see if after 2 weeks anything changes.  If not, I strongly recommend you go back to your GP and discuss whether you should be taking PPIs long term.    If you are still suffering, find your nearest registered naturopath or nutritional therapist and get them to help you investigate further.

Foods to eat:

  • As many fruits and vegetables as required
  • Organic free range chicken, turkey, game, lamb, fresh fish
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Pulses, such as red lentils
  • Seasonings such as fresh herbs (parsley, tarragon, coriander, basil)
  • Unroasted, unsalted nuts such as almonds
  • Brown rice, oats, wholegrain bread
  • Drinks: chamomile tea, slippery elm tea, water

Bake, poach or grill your fish or fowl on a gentle heat.  Vegetables can be lightly steamed.  Nuts can be soaked for at least 4 hours to aid digestibility (easiest to do overnight!).  Make sure you rinse them before adding to foods.

What should you avoid?

  • fried food
  • eating too much red meat– stick to 1-2 meals a week
  • processed meats such as bacon and ham
  • pickles such as Branston (fermented foods such as sauerkraut are allowed)
  • crisps
  • Any other food you have identified as causing digestive symptoms.
  • Avoidance of foods that you may have been eating in excess (It may be worth writing a food diary to see what you eat lots of…in clinic I find that diets commonly can be wheat heavy, for example if you eat cereal for breakfast, sandwiches or wraps for lunch and then pasta or a bread roll with dinner…)
  • Limit your intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates (white rice, white bread, cakes, scones, paninis)
  • Don’t drink too much fluid while eating, as this will dilute your digestive juices while eating (a few sips throughout the meal is fine).

Meal ideas:

  • Breakfast home made Bircher muesli
  • Lunch chicken and vegetable soup
  • Snack apple and a small handful of nuts
  • Dinner Poached fish with steamed vegetables and a baked sweet potato

Bircher Muesli recipe:


The night before mix the following into a bowl:

  • Rolled oats, about 1/2 cup
  • Linseeds or chia seeds – 1 dessert spoon
  • Almonds or pecans – 1 tablespoon
  • Goji berries or chopped dried apricots – 1 tablespoon
  • Pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds – 1 tablespoon

Add ingredients to a breakfast bowl, then cover with liquid until you can see the liquid rise above the mix, as it will be absorbed by the ingredients.  Liquid could be pressed apple juice, water or nut milk (concentrated apple juice has higher sugar content, so pressed is best).  Cover and leave in the fridge overnight.

Add in the morning:

  • Grated apple, or a handful of berries such as blackberries, blueberries or raspberries
  • 2 Tablespoons natural organic yoghurt


Nicolle, L. & Bailey, C. (2013) The Functional Nutrition Cookbook.  London, Singing Dragon.

Murray, M., Pizzorno, J. & Pizzorno, L. (2005) The Encyclopaedia of Healing Foods. London, Piatkus.

The Times, Chris Smith, 4th July 2017  “Hearburn Drug May Raise Risk of Early Death” 

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