Heartburn is extremely common. In fact, over 60 million Americans experience heartburn at least once a month. For people who suffer from occasional heartburn to those who suffer from chronic heartburn, monitoring both the frequency and timing of your symptoms as well as possible heartburn triggers is an invaluable exercise in diagnosing chronic acid reflux called gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. One of the best ways to do this is using a heartburn food and symptom diary. Below, we’ll discuss the benefits of keeping a food diary in monitoring and treating GERD.

What is a food diary?

When it comes to heartburn, it can be triggered by a variety of different things, including foods. A food diary allows you to keep track of both the things you eat and the times when you experience heartburn after eating. By keeping a detailed journal of both of these things you’ll be able to tie your heartburn to certain proven triggers by knowing exactly what you ate any given day and how it affected you.

How to Keep a Heartburn Food Journal

Keeping a food journal for heartburn is a bit different than a food diary for dieting. You will want to be extra detailed both with your daily food intake and the times when you have heartburn. You can also add details such as exercise times, what time you go to bed, what time you rise, etc.  

Benefits of a Food Diary

Triggers for heartburn are not the same for everyone. While one person’s trigger might be a large meal or spicy food, someone else’s could be exercising late at night or lying down after eating. You can create the food diary to track you food, drink, exercise, timing, and any symptoms that follow.

Another benefit to a food diary is to perhaps make a connection between any unusual or unrelated triggers such as anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, or other ailments that can trigger heartburn. Once you keep a food diary for a few weeks, be sure to share the results with your doctor.

Keeping a food diary will allow you and your doctor to understand the frequency of your acid reflux and heartburn and identify heartburn triggers. Most importantly, it will help your reflux doctor to diagnose GERD and begin treatment. You can even download heartburn food diary templates online to get you started!