Acid Reflux What should i eat? Acid reflux disease is not a serious condition and does not cause permanent damage to your body. Generally, people who suffer from acid reflux do not require long term treatment. However, it is important to understand what is causing the symptoms before you can effectively manage them.
Acid reflux is a common health issue that many people suffer with, but some people are more at risk than others. Learn how to manage and prevent the symptoms, how to treat it, and how diet plays a role in preventing acid reflux.
What Is Acid Reflux(GERD)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when stomach acid repeatedly flows back into the tube connecting your mouth and stomach (esophagus). This backwash (acid reflux) can irritate the lining of your esophagus.
Many people experience acid reflux from time to time. However, when acid reflux happens repeatedly over time, it can cause GERD.
TIPS FOR MANAGING GERD SYMPTOMS
A review in the JAMA Surgery journal indicates that the best treatments for GERD include lifestyle changes, as well as the use of proton pump inhibitors and laparoscopic fundoplication (a keyhole procedure). Endoscopic treatments have been shown to be less effective.
Mahmood says there are some over-the-counter treatments that can help with GERD symptoms, but that diet and lifestyle changes are the most effective tools. “One over-the-counter solution to heartburn is digestive enzyme supplements to aid digestion and help the body break down food,” he says. “A good digestion process is key, otherwise the body isn’t able to take all of the key nutrients it needs from the food you eat and subsequently your body isn’t properly energized.”
Other tips include:
- Not eating late at night (especially within three or four hours before going to bed)
- Optimizing your diet to avoid foods and drinks known to trigger acid reflux
- Wearing looser clothing so that pressure isn’t applied to your stomach
- Raising your head when sleeping by up to eight inches
Another risk factor for GERD is the presence of a hiatal hernia, where the entrance of the esophagus is abnormally shaped or misplaced in the thoracic cavity, according to a study in the Expert Review of Gastroenterology and Hepatology(opens in new tab). A hiatal hernia can be diagnosed with an endoscopy and is often discovered when investigating the source of upper abdominal pain and chronic problems with acid reflux. If you know you have a hiatal hernia, it may be worth considering a GERD diet.
“If you have troublesome reflux symptoms, see your doctor to be sure you have an accurate diagnosis,” adds Lee. “This may mean you are referred for tests, likely to include an endoscopy and pH testing from the esophagus. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, there are a lot of things you can do to help yourself:
- Eat a healthy, balanced, low-fat diet with plenty of fiber – the Mediterranean Diet is a good option.
- Lose weight – obesity puts extra pressure on the LES.
- Stop smoking – smoking is closely linked to acid reflux. Nicotine relaxes the LES, plus smokers have alterations in their saliva.
- Reduce your alcohol intake – alcohol intake is strongly linked to acid reflux.
- Get regular physical exercise – exercise can help reflux so long as it is the right type of exercise, and don’t exercise within two hours of a meal. Exercise in which you are upright, for example, walking, jogging, or cycling are the best options. Avoid exercise that means bunching up your abdomen, such as gymnastics or weightlifting, or high-intensity exercise, such as sprinting or cycling fast.
Fruits for Acid Reflux
Most fruits are a healthy choice if you suffer from acid reflux. Bananas, melons, and other non-citrus fruits are all healthy parts of a well-balanced diet.
- Bananas are alkaline fruits, meaning their pH is high and offsets the low pH of stomach acid, which makes them a smart choice.
- Melons are also alkaline, and extremely high in water content, which helps neutralize and dilute the acid in the stomach.
- Make sure to limit citrus fruits, which include oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, as well as pineapple and kiwi. These fruits are all high in acid and can make symptoms worse.
Vegetables for Acid Reflux
Because vegetables are low in fat, most veggies do not trigger excess acid production. Including a variety of vegetables is key to making sure you are getting the fiber, vitamins, and minerals your body needs daily.
- High water content vegetables including leafy greens, lettuce, and celery are easy to digest, which makes them an excellent choice.
- High-fiber green vegetables including asparagus, broccoli, and green beans are also great to include for optimal digestive health.
- Cauliflower is an alkaline vegetable that may help to neutralize acid in the stomach.
- Root vegetables, including carrots, turnips, and parsnips, are also high in fiber and a powerful addition to your diet.
- Fennel, a vegetable in the carrot family that has a licorice-like flavor, has also been shown to help soothe an upset stomach, and may help relieve reflux symptoms.
- Be sure to avoid adding garlic and/or onion when cooking, as these vegetables often exacerbate acid reflux symptoms.
- Tomatoes and tomato products are high in acid and should also be avoided, especially in large quantities.
Complex Carbohydrates for Acid Reflux
A high-fiber diet has been linked to a decreased risk of acid reflux. Including more complex carbohydrates, mainly in the form of whole grains, which are packed with fiber, will help optimize your digestive health.
- Incorporate oatmeal into your breakfast to get fiber first thing in the morning. Add fresh fruit to your oatmeal for extra fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
- Include whole-grain breads and tortillas when making sandwiches or wraps to boost fiber at lunch.
- Switch from white rice to brown rice and white pasta to whole-wheat pasta to pack more fiber into your meals.
- Add potatoes and sweet potatoes to your diet to provide a healthy dose of fiber in a low-acid package.
- To get a dose of fiber at a snack try plain, air-popped popcorn. Avoid heavily buttered or seasoned popcorn, which may irritate your stomach.
Lean Proteins for Acid Reflux
Lean meats are low in fat and help maintain normal stomach acid production.
- Include chicken, turkey, and fish in your weekly meal rotation. Make sure to remove the skin to decrease the overall fat content. Prepare lean proteins by grilling, baking, or broiling to limit adding fats during cooking.
- Egg whites are another great protein source. They are low in fat and will not trigger excess stomach acid buildup. The higher fat content in egg yolks may slow your digestion and exacerbate your reflux symptoms, so stick to whites for optimal digestion.
- Beans are a dense source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. Their high fiber content is also beneficial for reducing acid reflux and promoting digestive health.
- Tofu is another great plant-based protein, which is low-fat and will not irritate your reflux. As with lean meats, prepare tofu by grilling, baking, or broiling to limit adding fats during cooking.
Healthy Fats for Acid Reflux
Healthy fats, including the fats found in avocados, nuts, seeds, and oils are your best bet for consuming fats that will not make acid reflux symptoms worse. Large amounts of fat slow your digestion, which causes food to stay in your stomach longer and can trigger reflux symptoms. Additionally, high fat foods cause the LES to relax and allow acid to flow back into your esophagus.
- Include oils such as olive, sesame, peanut, flaxseed, and walnut for a dose of healthy fats.
- Incorporate a variety of nuts and seeds to help increase your healthy fat intake. Nuts are an alkaline food, which helps to offset the acidity of your stomach.
- Substitute unsaturated fats, including olive or avocado oil in place of saturated or trans fats, including butter or margarine to improve your symptoms.
- Stay mindful of your portion sizes even when it comes to healthy fats, as too much of any fat type may irritate your stomach.
Foods That Fight GERD
What Is It?
When stomach acid flows the wrong way — back into the tube that connects your throat to your stomach (your esophagus) — that’s called acid reflux. If it happens often and doesn’t get better, it’s called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Symptoms include chest pain, a cough, and trouble swallowing, especially when you lie down. Sometimes it can bring up bits of food or sour liquid into your mouth.
Food Plays a Role
What you eat can have a big effect on GERD. There’s a long list of foods that you may want to stay away from, including chocolate, onions, acidic foods, and red meat. But other foods may help — or at least not make it worse.
Lean and packed with protein, chicken breasts are pretty easy to digest. Just make sure to take off the skin and bake or saute them.
This is your best beverage bet if you have acid reflux. Sugary drinks can irritate it, and alcohol and acidic juices can, too. And carbonated drinks can add to your gas and make you burp, which may make things worse.
This root can help calm an upset stomach. Try some hot ginger tea — without the caffeine that can make acid reflux worse. Or chew on some dried ginger — just check the label to make sure it doesn’t have lots of sugar. That’s something else that can irritate reflux.
It’s a low-acid fruit that won’t trigger your symptoms. And nothing beats a big wedge of ripe watermelon on a hot summer day. Cantaloupe and honeydew are also good low-acid choices.
Looking for a side dish that won’t aggravate your reflux? This is a complex carbohydrate, which means it takes longer to digest than simple carbs like white rice, pastries, or sugary drinks — and that’s better for reflux. The extra fiber, compared with regular rice, also helps.
Breakfast is full of land mines: Bacon, sausage, pancakes, doughnuts, and greasy hash browns all can make things worse. Oatmeal is a better choice. It’s got plenty of fiber, will fill you up, and is hearty enough to give you energy for hours. But watch the extras: Cream, sugar, syrup, and dried fruit can all trigger symptoms. Go with fresh fruit instead.
These root vegetables are good, and others are, too — carrots, turnips, and parsnips, to name a few. They’re full of healthy complex carbs and digestible fiber. Just don’t cook them with onions or garlic, because those can irritate your acid reflux.
Your body needs fat to work right, but fatty foods can make GERD symptoms worse. So you’ll probably want to stay away from things like butter or margarine. In their place, try a healthier fat like olive oil to see what might work for you. But you’ll want to have a light touch, because it does have fat and calories.
Food Items To Limit
- Mint tea, regular coffee or tea,
- Alcohol in any form,
- Carbonated beverages with or without caffeine.
- Fried, creamed or spicy vegetables dishes or Onion and Tomato,
- Citrus fruits,
- Whole milk, butter, chocolate milk, full fat sour cream,
- Ice cream, cheddar cheese,
- creamy and sugary Desserts,
- Ground beef, chuck,
- Marbled sirloin,
- Chicken nuggets,
- Macaroni and cheese,
- Spaghetti with sauce,
- Salad dressing,
- Creamy salad dressing, oil & vinegar,
- Corn chips, Potato chips.
- Above mentioned foods are commonly noticed that initiate the sympoms in GERD patients. If you are a GERD patient and living with regular symptoms then make a look for above mentioned foods and findout which one is initiating your symptoms.
Do’s And Dont’s
- Eat small meals instead of large meals.
- Raise the head of your bed 6-8 inches.
- Eat less spicy foods.
- Do take vitamin B12 supplements, Vitamin B12 deficiency is a common complication with GERD patients who take antacid medication. A normal amount of stomach acids is healthy and beneficial for digesting foods, and your body cannot absorb vitamin B12 without them.
- Take probiotics. Probiotics promote healthy bacteria, a veritable army against heartburn, diarrhea, and many other stomach problems. Probiotics are a main ingredient in yogurt and kefir, but if you can’t handle dairy products, then opt for probiotic supplements and tonics.
- Avoid eating and then bending over, lying down.
- Avoid tight fitting clothing.
- Avoid fast food.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Sit upright rather than slumped while eating
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid Chocolate- it is full of ingredients that disagree with acid reflux- it’s highly caffeinated, contains theobromine, a bitter alkaloid, and it’s high in fat.
- Avoid sleeping on your right side. Use the force of gravity to your advantage. If nighttime heartburn is an issue, then sleep on your left side, and your stomach acids will stay where they belong.
Food Items You Can Easily Consume
- Cereals:White rice, White bread, Brown rice, Oat meal, Broken wheat, Quinoa.
- Pulses: Chickpeas, Kidney beans, moong dal, masoor dal, soybeans and all other with low spices and properly boilled. Vegetables: All gourds-bitter gourd, snake gourd, ridge gourd, bottle gourd, ivy gourd, ladies finger, tinda,green leafy vegetables.
- Fruits: Custard Apple, Pears, small banana, Apple.
- Milk and Milk products: Skim milk,Low fat Yoghurt and other fermented milk products.
- Meat, Fish and Egg: Boiled egg, Lean Meat,skinless Chicken, Tuna, Salmon, Tilapia , Cod.
- 5 Tbsp/ day( Olive oil, sunflower oil, Rice bran Oil, Canola oil)
- Sugar: 1 Tsp/ day.