Acid Reflux Diet is a diet that is specially planned for people who suffer from Acid Reflux Disease or GERD. First of all, Let’s understand what does Acid Reflux and GERD means.
What Is Acid Reflux:
Acid Reflux is a state in which gastric acidic fluid streams back into the esophagus, which results in heartburn.
GERD stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux disease. It is a severe and chronic form of acid reflux. Eating the right and healthy type of food helps in the prevention of GERD or Acid reflux.
A muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) attached at the lower end of the esophagus where it fixtures into the stomach.
Causes Of Acid Reflux
The main reason for acid reflux disease is the stomach abnormality known as a Hiatal Hernia. It happens when your upper portion of the stomach moves above the diaphragm.
Casually, the diaphragm help in keeping the acid level controlled in the stomach. If you develop a hiatal hernia, the acid can go up into the esophagus and this causes acid reflux disease.
The factors that cause acid reflux are listed below.
- Eating heavy meals or lay down just after food intake.
- Obese or overweight
- After eating food, laying on your back, or bending over the waist.
- Having snacks just before bedtime.
- Intake of foods like tomato, chocolate, mint, garlic, onion, spicy food, fatty food.
- Drinking beverages like alcohol, carbonated drinks, black coffee.
- Smoking also causes acid reflux.
- In pregnancy.
- Intake of medicines like aspirin, ibuprofen, BP medicines.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux
Regurgitation: Bitter or sour taste in your mouth or throat.
Heartburn: Discomfort or burning feeling in your stomach or to chest or abdomen even up to the throat.
Other than these, there could be symptoms like:
- Continues Hiccups
- Blood or black in color stools
- Blooded vomits
- Dry cough, chronic sore throat
Acid Reflux Diet -Diet To Avoid Acid Reflux
Intake of vegetables:
Intake of vegetables is very essential as they are full of nutrition and build up your immune system stronger as well. Vegetables are naturally low in sugar and low in fat.
The stomach acid is reduced to a considerable amount when the vegetables are taken in. the recommended vegetables are potatoes, asparagus, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, and cucumbers.
Fennel a crunchy vegetable also has a natural and soothing effect in case of reflux. Other than these vegetables can also to taken in but these work as magic.
Intake of Ginger:
Naturally, ginger has anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger can be used to treat heartburn, sore throat, other gastrointestinal issues.
It can be taken in different forms. It can be taken for granted, crushed, or sliced in food. Ginger tea is among them all when it comes to treating inflammation. The ginger tea is mostly taken before sleeping at night, it has a lot of benefits as well.
Intake of Oatmeal:
Oatmeal is an excellent and very healthy source of fiber. Oatmeal is everyone’s favorite for breakfast. it is high in fiber which causes it to lower the chances of acid reflux. Whole-grain rice and whole-grain slices of bread are also very essential diet items.
Intake of Milk:
Milk is believed to be a heartburn reliever. But the thing we need to keep in mind is to know that milk comes in different varieties. Fat milk can increase acid reflux. Low-fat milk on the other side can act as an immediate relief provider from heartburn symptoms.
Low-fat yogurt is also very healthy and has soothing properties in it. A healthy dose of probiotics improves the process of digestion.
Intake of White meat:
White is the true source of protein and helps in establishing a strong immune system. Chicken, seafood, turkey are considered white meat. They are low in fat and healthy at the same time.
It helps in reducing the symptoms of acid reflux. it doesn’t matter in what form they are being taken baked, boiled, grilled, or any other but try to avoid eating them fried.
Intake of Non-citrus fruits:
Citrus fruits can cause inflammation and are somehow acidic in nature. Non-citrus fruits include melons, apples, bananas, and pears. They are less acidic and help in maintaining the acid level in the body.
Intake of Egg Whites:
Eggs are a great source of protein and are energetic as well but in the case of Acid reflux, Egg intake as a whole is not a good option. Go for only egg whites if you have problems like acid reflux. Egg yolks are high in fat and an increase in acid reflux can also be one of their properties.
Intake of Nutritious Fats:
Yes, there is some fat that is considered healthy and nutritious for your body. These healthy, nutritious fats include walnuts, flaxseed, sunflower oil, olive oil, sesame oil, and avocados. Cut down your intake of saturated fats and go for the healthy ones.
Intake Of Lemon Water:
Lemon water is a very effective and best homemade remedy for acid reflux. It not only helps fight inflammation but has also very healthy benefits for your body as a whole.
Prebiotics And Probiotics In Acid Reflux diet
Now discussing the pro-biotic and Pre-biotic foods.
Prebiotics are a distinctive form of dietary fiber. It performs as the fertilizer for the “good bacteria” in your body.
Probiotics are “live bacteria”. These are found in fermented foods and in yogurt as well.
Persons with digestive problems, find it beneficial to restore balance to the bacterial flora in the intestines. Intake of fermented food and pre-biotic food is helpful in controlling the reflux.
Probiotics can lower digestive problems by developing a balance in the digestive system as a whole. Prebiotics are foods that are highly rich when it comes to fiber. They consciously grow beneficial bacteria.
Foods that have natural probiotics are:
- Kefir and raw sauerkraut
- Raw Kimchi
- Raw fermented pickles and vegetables
- “Kombucha”, it’s a fermented tea drink
Foods that are Prebiotic-rich includes:
- Jerusalem artichokes
- chicory root fiber or inulin
- green bananas
Persons suffering from GERD may find that probiotics and prebiotic foods can reduce symptoms. Probiotics are able to fight the bacterial strain known as “Helicobacter pylori”, it is believed by some scientists that it may relate to GERD.
Foods To Eliminate From Your Diet To Control Acid Reflux
Foods mainly called heartburn causers can produce esophageal sphincter that relaxes and delays the digestive system.
Allowing the food to stay in the stomach for a longer period of time.
Foods to avoid:
- Fried food ( could be anything, fries, fried chicken, etc)
- Fast food
- Chili powder and pepper (white or black or cayenne)
- Potato chips and all other kinds of processed snacks
- Fatty meats ( sausage or beacon)
- Cheese ( processed)
- Tomato sauces ( all kinds of)
- Citrus fruits
- Chocolates ( white, brown, dark)
- Carbonated beverages, alcohol.
These foods are not only the source of causing acid reflex but are not good for the body functioning as a whole. It leaves an overall impact on your lifestyle and healthy living styles. The more healthy food you eat and consume the happier and content you feel.
Tips To Avoid/Overcome Acid Reflux
Here are some tips that will help you in reducing acid reflux. You need to change your lifestyle and eating habits to avoid acid reflux.
Chewing gum is a very good source of reducing the amount of acid in your esophagus, as it increases the production of saliva. But make sure that they are not peppermint or spearmint favored, (they can relax your LES). And you all know that it tastes good as well.
Avoid intake of alcohol:
The intake of alcohol can have dangerous effects on the LES and can produce reflux symptoms. For some people only one drink is enough to stimulate the reflex, in other cases, some can have a good amount and stay unaffected.
You have to experience to know to which category you belong.
Posture is important while and after your meals:
Posture is important. It matters. It is recommended to sit straight while eating and avoid lying down for at least two hours after finishing your meal.
Walking or standing up is suggested as it helps in the movement of gastric juices in the right way and direction.
Intake of food just before food is prohibited:
Digestion triggers the amount of gastric acid existing in the stomach. If a person lays down just after the meal, the capability of the LES to stop stomach contents from moving up the esophagus lowers.
Happening together, loads of stomach acid and a rested position are a recipe for reflux.
Timing may vary from person to person, but commonly, eating a full meal less than three to four hours before bed is not recommended for GERD sufferers.
Eating correctly for GERD doesn’t mean leaving behind all your favorite food. The right diet plan, few simple modifications, and knowing your body functioning, is what we need here.
This usually works to avoid the discomfort of acid reflux. A balanced diet is all you need which has fruits, vegetables, protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates.
Changes Required In Lifestyle
A balanced diet is a key to control or overcome problems like acid reflux but besides that, a change in lifestyle is also required in some cases. Some helpful tips are given below.
- Medication is also required to control or reduce acid reflux. Concern your doctor and take antacids ( overdose can cause worsening effects)
- Maintaining a balanced weight is very important. Overweight is one of the causes of such diseases. Lose weight and maintain it.
- Exercise, morning walk, yoga. These are very essential steps to be taken. You can do any one of them, whichever suits you but it is very essential to keep your body acids balanced and controlled.
- Chew gum, very helpful activity.
- Avoid alcohol. As mentioned above as well, alcohol has worsening effects on body acids.
- Smoking is also not suitable for persons who experience acid reflux. Although smoking is not suitable in any of the situations where it is advised to avoid it.
- Overeating is the key to trigger your acid reflux. if you have done overeating then do some walk or have digestive remedies.
- Green tea or lemon water is a very essential element and helps in releasing the acid from the body.
- Avoid tight clothes. It also makes you uncomfortable especially after having a meal.
- Raise your head while sleeping using the pillow, at least four to six inches to reduce reflux symptoms while sleeping.
When The Doctor Is Needed?
When you experience heartburn two or more times a week. Modified routine or diet patterns are not helping then it is essential for you to consult a doctor. A gastroenterologist. (The doctor who is specialized in digestive problems).
The doctor can run some tests to measure the acidity in your stomach and check whether frequent acid reflux has damaged your esophagus.
GERD is at most treatable. All you need is to follow a certain lifestyle and proper medications.
But in some cases where symptoms persist, there a thorough examination is required to identify the overlying causes and then to treat them accordingly.
Diet Not recommended
All vegetables expect given in other section
fried vegetables and tomatoes in any form
apples, melons, bananas, peaches, pears, berries
Citric fruits like oranges, grapefruit, pineapple
Grains & Bread
made with high-fat or whole milk
chicken fat/skin, cold cuts, sausage, bacon, fatty meat
Sunflower, olive, sesame oil
all animal or vegetable oils
Sweets & desserts
Sweets/desserts made with no or low fat (less than or equal to 3 g fat/serving)
Sweets/ desserts made with oils and/or fats
decaffeinated, juices (except citrus); water
tea, mint tea, alcohol, coffee regular or black, carbonated beverages
fat-free or low-fat
Cream, chicken, beef, milk.
In this article, we have discussed in detail the causes, symptoms of acid reflux. Which diet to follow and what not to eat, Tips to avoid/ overcome, Acid reflux needed lifestyle for a person suffering from it, the requirement of Doctor’s consultation, and the food chart.
Acid Reflux can be treated by taking proper care of your diet, and also taking good care of your body needs such as exercise, intake of enough water, balanced weight etc. Medication is also needed in some cases which must be followed properly. The completion of the medicine course is also essential. Everything is covered in this article for the ease of our readers. Read, understand and work upon.