Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux disease is a condition that occurs when the acid in the stomach seeps back into the esophagus due to certain reasons. One should remember that acid reflux in itself is not a serious condition, but, when experienced with other symptoms, it can be a sign of some other underlying disorder. Therefore, it is essential to understand the exact causes and identifying signs of this condition.
GERD Causes and Symptoms
Acid reflux is caused due to improper functioning of the lower esophageal sphincter muscles. Due to the abnormal function of these muscles, the acid and juices in the stomach, that are required for proper digestion of the food, seep back in the esophagus and to the throat. A person's diet and dietary habits are prominent causes of GERD or acid reflux disease. Frequently having larger and spicy meals and immediately lying down or sleeping after having meals results in acid reflux disease. On the other hand, smoking, alcoholism, obesity, hereditary traits, pregnancy, etc., are the other major factors leading to GERD. The symptoms of GERD include heartburn, nausea, loss of appetite, chest pain, sour or acidic taste in mouth, difficulty in swallowing food, etc.
GERD can be treated with the help of several medications available in the market. Antacid syrups and tablets, that can be obtained over-the-counter, are effective in treating this condition. However, one should remember that these medications provide temporary relief. If one wishes to get rid of this condition permanently, it is essential to make certain dietary changes. For example, there are certain foodstuffs that trigger off acid reflux and heartburn in people. People should stay away from these foodstuffs in order to prevent GERD and heartburn.
GERD Diet Recommendations
People suffering from acid reflux disease should remember a simple thing: that is, to avoid foodstuffs that contain too much acid. Second in the list come spicy and processed foods. Following are foods that should be avoided.
- Tomatoes and all products containing tomatoes.
- Coffee, soft drinks, and other caffeine based products.
- Extreme hot, spicy, fried and processed foodstuffs, gravies, and curries.
- All citrus fruits like lemon, lime, oranges.
- Cranberry juice, onion, peppermint, chocolates.
- Sausages, fried meat, bacon, deli meat, red meat of any kind.
- Ice cream, donuts, cream based desserts, cheese.
All the aforementioned foodstuffs should be strictly avoided. Following foods can be consumed safely, as they do not cause acid reflux.
- Fruits and Vegetables: Apples, melons, bananas, pears, peaches, broccoli, basil, potato, carrots, cabbage, celery, green peas, thyme, oregano, beans, etc.
- Other Foods: Multi-grain bread, white bread, corn bread, eggs, egg white, bran, fish, oatmeal, chicken breast, pretzels, brown or white rice, rice cakes, steak, fat-free versions of creams and cheese, etc.
Following a proper diet can help in alleviating the symptoms to a great extent. One should make changes in eating habits like having meals at a fixed time every day, abstaining from having spicy and larger meals at night, etc. Lastly, as alcohol and smoking are also major causes of GERD, it is better to stay away from it. It is recommended to make changes in the daily diet only on consulting the doctor. Take care!
Disclaimer: This article is meant only to provide information. It is not to be substituted for doctor's advice. It is recommended to consult the doctor for detailed instructions on the diet.