Acid Reflux: Get Better with Lifestyle and Dietary Changes

Chicken skewers

Chicken skewers are a great healthy, stomach-friendly food. (Photo: Flickr user reivax)

Post-meal heartburn, stomach pains, an unpleasant sour taste in your mouth. These symptoms may seem unsettling for a bit and then be forgotten, but acid reflux is common among South Asians, and you may be suffering from it without even knowing it. Sometimes acid reflux occurs in a “silent” mode, which means people don’t realize they have it until fevers, other flu-like symptoms, and issues with swallowing force the individual to consult a doctor!

South Asians are particularly prone to having acid reflux due to lifestyle factors. Heavy late-night meals that are spicy and rich in saturated fats, in addition to caffeine breaks with chai during the day contribute to the risk.

Some simple lifestyle and dietary changes might be exactly what you need to counteract acid reflux symptoms.

Dietary:

  1. Proteins. Start eating more low-fat, high-protein meals in small portions.
  2. Beverages. Avoid having an excess of caffeine—yes, this does mean cutting down on chai.
  3. Avoid foods that can trigger heartburn. This includes meals that with citrus fruits, chilies, curry, onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Think that piece of mint chocolate is just a guilty pleasure at the end of the meal? It’s actually adding to your heartburn woes.

Lifestyle

  1. Preparing a lighter dinner with less spice and fat as well as eating three to four hours before going to bed can help with the management of acid reflux.
  2. Limit caffeine to the morning hours and go for the decaf for later on in the day.
  3. Restrict alcohol usage and quit smoking.

South Asian Chicken Skewers & Spinach Rice Dish

Ingredients

Marinated Chicken Sautéed spinach Baked Rice
4 oz chicken breast 1 tbsp canola oil ½ cup rice
¼ cup plain yogurt ½ red peppers in ½ in squares ½ tbs butter
½ tsp turmeric 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1 cup water
½ tsp mint leaves 1 cup of chopped spinach Salt to taste
½ tsp cilantro 1 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs lemon juice Salt to taste
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp garam masala
Salt to taste

Directions

Marinating the Chicken

  1. Mix yogurt, mint, cilantro, turmeric, curry powder, and lemon juice.
  2. Cut chicken breasts into ½ inch thick slices and coat with marinade.
  3. Refrigerate chicken overnight (or at least 4 hours before serving).

Preparing the Rice

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚F.
  2. Place rice, butter, boiling water, and salt into a covered casserole.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes, or the rice has cooked thoroughly and the water has evaporated.

Sauteed Spinach

  1. Preheat oil in a skillet.
  2. Sautee the red bell peppers, adding garlic and spinach. Cover the pan and allow spinach to steam.
  3. Stir in lemon juice and add salt to taste.

Chicken Skewers

  1. String pieces of chicken onto the bamboo skewers and sprinkle salt.
  2. Put the chicken skewers on an oiled grill pan and place in oven.
  3. Turn the chicken skewers over after 10 minutes and leave for another 10 minutes, or until fully cooked.

Serving: Place a bed of rice on each plate, with the spinach on top of the rice, and the skewer across the top of the spinach.

Recipe adapted from Just A Pinch.

Munia Islam is a contributing food writer at Divanee.com.

@munsi13