Acid reflux is the most common diet related issue people have but there is nothing to worry about. Avoiding the foods, that aggravates the symptom and following certain foods for acid reflux and lifestyle chances can help to improve it or heal it all together.
Today in this article we will discuss about list of some good foods for acid reflux and worst food to avoid acid reflux.
First let us understand why this happen?
When we swallow food it passes down the food pipe to the stomach.
A ring of muscle tissue also called lower esophageal sphincter (LES) contracts after allowing food into the stomach. This usually prevents the foods from returning into the food pipe.
When the LES does not close correctly the content of stomach can leak back up into the food pipe causing Acid Reflux and giving you the sensation of heart burn, nausea, bloating, etc.
Although, this is the pretty common thing and everyone experience in their life, but if the symptoms occur more than twice a week for a longer than 3 weeks then you might have a severe form called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
Some more common symptoms of Acid reflux or GERD are as follow:
- Nausea after eating.
- Constant sore throat.
- Weak coughing
- Changes to the voice (including hoarseness)
- Food regurgitation
Acid Reflux Diet Modification
Now it is very important to adjust your diet or foods to avoid for acid reflux that can trigger or make the symptoms even worse.
Foods to Avoid for Acid Reflux
1. High Fat Foods: High fat foods or fried foods tend to decrease LES pressure and delay stomach emptying. This increases the risk of acid reflux.
Foods like fried foods, full fat dairy products like butter, cheese, whole milk, sour cream, creamy salad dressings and desserts are some of the foods to avoid for acid reflux.
2. Caffeine: The caffeine present in coffee aggravates the acid reflux. It is better to avoid coffee in empty stomach or strong coffee.
3. Chocolate: I know most of you love chocolate, but if you have regular problem then it is certainly not a good food for acid reflux and you should stop eating chocolate to avoid the symptoms.
Chocolate contains a substance called methylxanthine, which relaxes the LES and thereby increasing the risk of acid reflux to irritate the esophagus.
4. Onions, Garlic and Spices: Raw onion, garlic and other spicy foods have gas causing properties and triggers heart burn. The symptoms may not be same in everyone; however it is recommended to avoid more consumption of these foods and carefully observe if it gives a heart burning sensation.
5. Peppermint: Peppermint can trigger the symptoms of acid reflux by relaxing the muscle sphincter and backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus.
6. Carbonated drinks: Carbonated and soda increase the gastric acidic volume and triggers the symptoms of acid reflux.
7. Alcohol: If you have symptoms of acid reflux then it is advised to avoid the consumption of alcohol or to have a moderate consumption or avoid alcohol 2-3 hour before bed. Alcohol can relax the lower esophagus causing the stomach acid to back up and increase the symptoms of acid reflux.
Alcohol consumption can also cause damage to esophageal and gastric mucosa.
8. Citrus fruit and tomatoes: Avoid citrus fruits and juices from citrus fruits such as oranges, lime, lemon, grapefruits, and pineapple.
Also try to limit your consumption of sauces or toppings that are high in fat or other irritants like tomatoes.
All these are high acidic foods which can worse the symptoms of acid reflux.
Foods For Acid Reflux
1. Lean Proteins: Lean Proteins are high in protein and have low fat which reduces the symptoms of acid reflux or GERD.
Some sources of lean proteins which are good for acid reflux are:
- White egg
- Low fat cottage cheese
- Skinless Chicken
- Beans and Lentils
- Fish and sea food
- Lean meat
- Soy products like tofu and tempeh.
Now, while cooking these foods avoid frying and choose methods like baking, grilling, poaching as they require little or no fat to be added which can still aggravate the symptoms.
2. Vegetables and Non-citrus fruits: Wide variety of fruits and vegetables can be chosen as a good source of foods for acid reflux that helps to reduce stomach acid except the citrus fruits and other irritants like tomato or onion.
Fruit and vegetables are low in fat, sugar and provide fiber and other nutrients.
It is good to eat one banana daily as it contains potassium which acts buffer against acid reflux.
3. Whole Grain: Whole grains packed with high nutrient and fiber are considered good foods for acid reflux as it absorb stomach acid. You can add these whole grains to your diet to avoid the symptoms of acid reflux.
- Oat Meal
- Brown rice
- Whole grain pasta
- Whole grain bread
- Plain popcorn
4. Healthy Fats: Avoid fatty foods as it can trigger acid reflux. Stick to healthy fats like unsaturated fat and avoid saturated fat or trans fat.
Sources of healthy unsaturated fats are:
- Fatty fish
- Olive oil
- Nuts and seeds such as almonds, peanuts, cashew, sesame.
5. Ginger: Ginger has anti-inflammatory property which helps to reduce gastrointestinal irritation and reduce the chances of stomach acid flowing back in to the esophagus.
Ginger also greatly helps to improve digestion.
You can make refreshing ginger tea by boiling in a cup of water and make a habit to include in your daily diet.
6. Butter milk and Yogurt: Yogurt and buttermilk provides probiotic supplement containing lactobacilli that helps to reduce the symptoms of heart burn and acid reflux.
7. Coconut water: Coconut water also among the list of good foods for acid reflux as it is good source of potassium which neutralizes stomach acid and relieves the symptoms of acid reflux. Using coconut water can give you good results.
How to Eat Correctly
Besides recommending the foods for acid reflux it is also good to follow few tips on how to eat correctly to avoid the acid reflux.
- Maintain good posture: It’s important to keep good posture before and after you eat and standing up and walking after a meal which can helps the gastric juices to flow in the right direction.
- Avoid food 2- 3 hours before sleeping: Avoid eating a full meal two to three hours before going to bed. Lots of stomach acid together with recline position promotes acid reflux and you should generally avoid full meal if you suffer from chronic acid reflux.
- Eat small meals and avoid large gaps between meals.
Lifestyle Changes to avoid Acid Reflux
- Stop smoking and chewing tobacco, the chemicals in the tobacco irritates your throat and can make acid reflux even worse.
- Avoid tight clothing and tight-fitting belts. This gives more room to stomach and digest food.
- Don’t lie down or bend over within the first 15-30 minutes after eating.
- Don’t chew gum or stuck on hard candy.
Following the above foods for acid reflux and simple lifestyle changes can help without needing the medication.
It may be noted that the food may not react the same and vary from person to person, so it is good to make a note and see which foods suits you best and then you can include in your diet.