When you have heartburn, meals can be minefields. You probably know you should steer clear of trigger foods and food groups like citrus, tomato, chocolate, alcohol, caffeine and anything spicy. If you're thinking "bummer," then we've got news for you: Heartburn-free eating doesn't have to be bland or boring. Here are a few simple swaps that don't bring on that burning feeling (and they're smart for people who don't have heartburn, too):
Instead of: Coffee
Try: Green tea
Instead of: Frying
Try: Baking, roasting or broiling
Instead of: Tomato sauce
Try: Tossing your whole-grain pasta in a broth-based sauce flavored with basil and thyme
Instead of: Creamy salad dressings
Try: Drizzling olive oil and a little cider on your salads
Instead of: Potato chips
Try: Snacking on cut veggies with a bit of hummus, cut-up apples or raisins with a few sesame seeds
Instead of: Full-fat dairy products
Try: Low-fat sour cream, milk, cream cheese, yogurt and cheeses
Instead of: Ice cream
Try: Low-fat ice cream, pies with reduced-fat crusts ... or just eat in-season fruit.
Making smart food choices is important, and so is resisting overeating and not lying down right after your meal. Doing either of these can override all the good you just did. Heartburn is like a burn on your skin - both needlessly use up your own repair cells. Save these valuable cells for where and when you'll need them, like after torn cartilage or a concussion.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.