While stomach acid helps digest our food, it can be a cause of great discomfort if it moves backwards and enters the esophagus. This is exactly what happens in GERD, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, which is basically a severe form of acid reflux.
Typically your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is responsible for keeping stomach acids from moving backwards, but at times the LES can become weak or damaged, failing to prevent the backward movement of stomach acids, causing acid reflux.
Apart from a weakened or damaged LES, your daily diet is also responsible for acid reflux, because eventually what you eat dictates the production of stomach acid. Hence, today we’re going to look into food choices and diet plan considerations to help you alleviate symptoms of acid reflux or GERD disease.
Acid Reflux Diet Considerations and Food Choices
If you’re suffering from chronic acid reflux or GERD, you’ve probably noticed by now that certain foods worsen your condition. Reducing the intake of these foods should be your foremost priority because there is no standard diet plan for acid reflux which you can follow word for word.
There are several things you need to consider in your daily diet, for instance the times of the day you eat, the type of food you eat and times when you experience acid reflux symptoms. Keeping a note of these things will help you eliminate dietary irregularities which trigger your acid reflux or GERD condition.
Apart from your own dietary observations, you can also follow our advice and use it as a complimentary source of information along with professional medical advice.
Foods that Reduce GERD Symptoms
As mentioned earlier, there is no standard diet plan for acid reflux or GERD because foods which alleviate the symptoms in one person may make them worse in another. However, there are a few safe dietary choices such as:
Yogurt is known to cure several digestion related issues and you should typically go for yogurt with probiotics (several brands have probiotic yogurt), which are essentially good bacteria that can help regulate your digestive system and prevent common illnesses such as diarrhea, intestinal infections and irritable bowel syndrome.
While a direct connection between acid reflux or GERD and probiotics has not been established, the inclusion of yogurt in diet has shown positive results.
High Fiber Foods
Foods high in fiber are also known to reduce acid reflux and GERD symptoms. High fiber foods include green vegetables, fruits and whole-wheat items which can hugely benefit your digestive system, reduce bad cholesterol level and cure bowel problems apart from relieving acid reflux.
Trigger Foods for Acid Reflux and GERD
While foods that fall into the categories above are good for alleviating GERD and acid reflux symptoms, there are also trigger foods which bring about these symptoms and can make your condition much worse. Suffice to say, you should be staying away from these food items.
Fatty foods are some of the biggest culprits when it comes to acid reflux and GERD. They can loosen up your LES and consequently allow your stomach acid to move backwards into the esophagus.
Fatty foods are also digested slowly and hence increase the likelihood of you experiencing acid reflux. Some of the common high fat foods you should be avoiding include full-fat diary products, typical fast-food, fried meats and creamy desserts.
While fruits form an essential component of any healthy diet, citrus fruits naturally include acids which can make your acid reflux symptoms worse. Hence, you should be avoiding eating acidic fruits like oranges, lemons and grapefruits etc.
A lot of spices can also contribute towards symptoms of acid reflux and GERD. Typical triggers include spicy pizzas, salsa, foods with chili sauce, gralic and onions.
While different people have different tolerance levels for spices, it is safer to avoid foods loaded with spices because they can also lead to stomach conditions including ulcers.
Apart from food choices, there are certain beverages which can make acid reflux and GERD symptoms worse. These include coffee, tea and any other caffeinated drinks along with carbonated drinks like sodas and alcohol.
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General Lifestyle Changes to Alleviate Acid Reflux and GERD
Generally it is recommended that you start by losing weight if you are overweight and modifying your eating and sleeping patterns.
Try eating your food slowly and chewing more thoroughly to help with digestion. Avoid going to bed right after dinner and eat at least 3 hours before your bed time.
Smoking is also believed to be related to acid reflux and it helps if you quit or reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke in a day.
Apart from a healthy diet, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle as well, and it includes moderate but necessary physical activity and healthy eating times, portions and sleeping patterns.
We hope that the information in this guide is helpful for you in countering acid reflux and GERD by modifying your diet plan. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us or comment below.