PUBLISHED: 1:55 PM on Wednesday, June 7, 2006
Food to keep acid at bay
That flaming ache behind your breastbone might be your tummy telling you it's time for a dietary change.

If you, like 15 million other Americans, have gastroesophageal reflux disease, realize it can be managed by medication and making some lifestyle changes to alleviate symptoms.

Elaine Magee, a California-based author and registered dietitian, has written "Tell Me What to Eat If I Have Acid Reflux" that aims to help GERD sufferers.

In the book, Magee offers tips to help people avoid heartburn by choosing their food and drink wisely.

Start with frequent small meals, Magee said. More content increases the likelihood of it splashing up into the esophagus, she said. Lose weight if you need to, without fad dieting, Magee said.

Skip or eat sparingly foods that aggravate GERD, such as fried or fatty foods, chocolate, peppermint, spearmint, garlic and onions, coffee, caffeinated tea and cola drinks and alcoholic beverages, she said.

Foods that increase the acid content of the stomach, such as milk and caffeinated drinks, should be consumed in small or limited portions, also, Magee said. Foods that irritate the esophageal lining should also be limited, and that includes citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes and tomato products, pepper and chili pepper, she said.