In some individuals, the acid reflux disease can be triggered by the consumption of certain foods. A knowledge about the foods that can trigger this condition is essential for its effective management. This article, therefore, dwells on the foods that need to be avoided, as well as the foods that can be included in your diet, if you are suffering from this annoying condition.
Acid reflux disease, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, refers to the condition, where the stomach acid flows back to the esophagus. This condition is usually caused by the weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is a valve-like opening at the lower end of the esophagus. It opens to allow the food to enter the stomach, and then closes off to prevent the reverse flow of food and stomach acid to the esophagus.
The regurgitation of stomach content can occur due to overeating, weakening of the muscles of the esophagus, an inherent defect in the structure of the LES, and the consumption of some specific foods, especially spicy and acidic foods. Dietary modifications are therefore, crucial for the proper management of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). So, let’s have a look at the foods that can be included in a GERD diet, and those that need to be avoided to manage the annoying symptoms of GERD.
Foods that Can be Consumed
GERD is usually characterized by symptoms, like heartburn, or a burning sensation in the chest and the back of the throat, a bitter or sour taste in the mouth, a sore throat, cough, difficulty in swallowing, and nausea and vomiting. Some common foods that usually do not aggravate these symptoms, and hence can be included in a GERD diet are:
- Vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, green beans, green peas, asparagus, artichokes, lettuce, and green leafy vegetables.
- Lean meat, chicken, fish, and egg whites.
- Fruits like apples, bananas, pears, peaches, and melons.
- Grains and products made from them, like brown and white rice, pretzels, rice cakes, graham crackers, oatmeal, bread, corn bread.
- Low-fat and fat-free dairy products, such as fat-free sour cream, fat-free cream cheese, and low-fat soy cheese.
People having GERD should consume vegetables, meat, and fish that are either baked, steamed, grilled, or cooked in little oil. As far as sweets and desserts are concerned, individuals with acid reflux disease can consume the low-fat or fat-free versions of these products.
Foods to be Avoided
Certain foods are known to trigger the back flow of acid from the stomach to the esophagus, either by relaxing the LES or by increasing the production of acid in the stomach. A GERD diet should therefore, exclude the following foods:
- Fried and fatty foods, high-fat meat, whole milk dairy products, mayonnaise, butter, margarine, and salad dressings.
- Caffeinated and carbonated beverages, and alcohol.
- Spicy foods and spices, like black pepper and chili.
- Citrus fruits like orange, lemon, grapefruit, grapes, cranberries.
- Vegetables and herbs like onion, garlic, tomato, peppermint, and spearmint.
- Tomato juice and sauce, fried meat, vinegar, ground beef, spaghetti, and macaroni.
- Chocolate, ice creams, corn and potato chips, cookies, donuts, brownies, pizzas, and hamburgers.
However, it is important to keep in mind that the foods that can trigger acid reflux are different for different individuals. Along with following a proper GERD diet, it is also important to eat several small meals throughout the day, instead of eating two or three large meals, in order to manage this condition. People with acid reflux disease can also find considerable relief by sleeping in a slightly elevated position. They should avoid lying down immediately after having a meal. But if all such lifestyle and dietary changes fail to manage the symptoms of this condition, then consider to take the help of your physician.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.