Acid reflux, commonly known as heartburn, is the condition when the acid created by the stomach regurgitates into the upper parts of intestine and the esophagus. This is due to malfunctioning of the sphincter muscle of esophagus, which fails to close, allowing the contents to re- enter esophagus. The reason can be highly attributed to eating large proportions of meals, there are several other factors which contribute to this disorder. Some of them are hiatal hernia, peptic ulcers, insufficient digestive enzymes, pregnancy (a temporary cause), unhealthy lifestyle etc.
Although, acid reflux is not a serious disorder, the discomfort associated with it can hamper the quality of life of the patient. A little medication and proper diet and exercises can easily control this disorder. Safe foods for acid reflux can be best identified by the patients themselves by maintaining a diet diary and recording the different foodstuffs that work for them. This will also help them identify foods that trigger a heart burn , so that they can be avoided.
List of Foods That Are Safe To Eat
Acid reflux problem can worsen if you eat spicy, peppery food. In that regard, Mexican, Asian cuisines should be avoided as they make liberal use of spices. However, there are certain foods that can be consumed by the acid reflux patients without any trouble. Here is the list of safe foods to eat:
Not all the fruits can go well with heart-burn. Citrus fruits should be strictly avoided under all circumstances. Fruits like berries that are rich in anti-oxidants can be consumed, though in moderation. Also other acidic fruits like tomato should not be consumed in any form. The fruits that can be safely consumed are:
- Apple (fresh, dried, juice)
Vegetables should be cooked in very little oil. Also certain vegetables like onion should not be eaten raw. Acidic vegetables like tomato are strictly off limits for people suffering from acid reflux. Starchy vegetables such as potato can be consumed only when baked. Generally, vegetables with high fiber content are good for acid reflux. Other safe vegetables include:
- Green Peas
- Baked Potato
- Green beans
All types of meat can be safely consumed, provided they are rightly cooked. Cooking in little oil or steamed, is the best way to consume meat. Safe forms of meat include:
- Ground Beef (extra lean)
- Chicken (skinless)
- Fish (no added fat)
- Egg White
- Egg substitutes
Only low-fat or fat-free versions of dairy products are safe to consume.
- Cheese (feta or goat)
- Cream cheese (fat-free)
- Sour cream (fat-free)
- Soy cheese (low-fat)
Certain food grains can provide fiber supplements for acid reflux. Low fat, high carbohydrate grains are also considered safe. Whole grains should be preferred not only for acid reflux, but also for improved cardiovascular function.
- Bread (multi-grain or brown )
- Cereal (bran or oatmeal)
- Corn bread
- Graham crackers
- Rice (brown or white)
- Rice cakes
It is a common myth that drinking milk is the quick fix for a acid reflux disorder. But the fact is, drinking milk can aggravate the problem, especially at night. Also, alcoholic beverages like beer can trigger the production of acid in stomach. Caffeine beverages or aerated drinks are not at all advisable for acid reflux. Hence the only safe beverage recommended is:
- Mineral water
Fats and Oils
Fats and oils are to be strictly avoided by the people suffering from acid reflux. The only recommended form of consumption of fats and oils is:
- Salad dressing (low fat)
Sweets that can be consumed without a problem are:
- Jelly Beans
- Red Licorice
- Cookie (fat-free)
Though the above mentioned foods can constitute the safe diet for acid reflux, they should never be consumed in large proportions. Having 5-6 small meals a day will be a good option for people suffering from acid reflux. Also, they should try and maintain an erect posture for at least 45 minutes after meal. Positioning head at the height above rest of the body while sleeping reduces the occurrence of acid reflux.