GERD is often characterized by the flow of the contents of the stomach up into the esophagus and throat. This disease when occurs in children and infants can affect their health adversely since they refuse to eat and become irritable. The way to tackle GERD is through lifestyle and diet changes.
Kids and a proper nutritious diet are like oil and water. For Almighty, life must be so boring that for his dinnertime entertainment show he created wailing and yelling kids whose taste buds are attracted to nothing but ice cream and French fries; even as late as 10 o’ clock in the night, their harassed parents run after them with a nice sprout and salad plate in their hands. Well, they don’t even get started on a salad that has a hint of broccoli. The chase sometimes gets very entertaining (only for the viewers) that even Tom and Jerry would pause for a couple of minutes, get some popcorn, open a few beers and have a nice time.
By the grace of God, two of my god-children (best friend’s kids) do not suffer from GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). But the third one, has been suffering from it for over a year now. Thankfully, she is a mature eater. Well, little Sara, whenever over at my place, delightfully tucks into the food which has been suggested by her pediatrician (with a couple of exceptions, of course).
About Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
The Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, is a very irritating condition which commonly occurs in adults, however infants, kids and teenagers can also suffer from it in certain cases. The GERD is chiefly the reflux of stomach acids and contents into the esophagus, in a reverse manner. It is caused due to the untimely opening or malfunction of the constricting sphincter muscles which lie at the bottom of the esophagus and separates it from stomach.
The esophagus is the food pipe or the swallowing tube as some may call it. This tube is the link between the pharynx and stomach of the digestive tract. Now and then, through the course of day, we tend to move against the force of gravity, which facilitates the downward movement of the food through the digestive tract. Simple actions such as bending down or even jumping may cause the swallowed food and liquid along with digestive secretions to come out from the stomach into the esophagus. A ring of sphincter muscles which is located in the lower portion of the esophagus known as the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES), in medical terms, closes down the esophagus. However when it does not, the contents of the stomach reflux into the esophagus, the condition being termed as gastroesophageal reflux disease.
There arises variety of different implications out of prolonged GERD which are properly not warned against. The acidic combination of food, liquids and digestive liquid starts flowing back for starters. In such cases the reverse flow of liquids often tends to harm the throat and organs that surround it. Heartburn, a feeling of severe discomfort in the chest and throat irritation are some of the other symptoms and effects of the refluxed material. Apart from the nauseating, acidity, acidic feeling in the chest and heartburn, corrosion of the esophagus is yet another grave concern as the reflux of acidic contents, tend to sort of corrode the esophagus.
The best solution to tackle GERD, its effects and symptoms is to change one’s lifestyle. One of the basic things that can be changed is one’s diet which reduces the symptoms and effects of the reflux.
GERD Diet for Children
The following is a brief elaboration to the diet which is recommended for GERD patients, so as to prevent an acid reflux.
- There are some food categories which tend to make the acid reflux worse than before. Hence, if your child is suffering from acid reflux or GERD, spicy and oily food just before going to bed is to be avoided as it not only make the reflux painful, but the sensitive tissues of the esophagus may also get severely damaged.
- Same is the case with caffeine and carbonated beverages which should be strictly avoided, especially just before bed time. Consumption in very small quantities is alright so long, as it is well before your child’s bed time.
- Among the fruit section, non-citrus fruits and fruits containing low volumes of acid can be consumed. Apples, bananas, strawberry, cherries and others can be consumed without hesitation as the components of these fruits do not reflux in usual circumstances and even if they do, they don’t cause heavy damage.
- The same principle, of avoiding citrus and acid containing vegetables should be followed. Root and leafy vegetables such as potato, radish, carrot, spinach, cabbage, broccoli and beans and peas can be included.
- In the grains section, whole grain, high fiber and multigrain, should be included in the diet. Brown rice, brown bread, cereal, bran, oatmeal, corn bread and even pretzels are some of the best constituents of such a diet. The key is to avoid too much of wheat flour in the diet. Also in cases where bread, rice or pasta is being consumed, the volume of sauce (tomato or any other) should be restricted to bare minimum, best of all avoid it completely.
- In the Non-veg section, ground up form or small cut up volumes of chicken or meat will not cause reflux. Eating in small quantities is very important. Apart from that, fish, and eggs are always welcome as they rarely lead to any reflux.
- In the cheese section, low fat and low oil cheese and butter are the recommended ones. In fact, to prevent a reflux, completely fat-free cheese and butter is recommended.
Maintaining the timing of the meals of your kid is the key to successfully curb down the reflux. Apart from that, very small snacks such as occasional chocolates and other goodies should be completely avoided, especially at odd hours such as just before bed times.