Hiatal hernia is a result of the presence of weak muscle tissues at the opening of the diaphragm (esophageal hiatus). The diaphragm is located where the alimentary canal ore esophagus transforms into the stomach, and forms a separation between the chest and abdomen, as well as the corresponding internal organs. The weakness in the esophageal hiatus can either be hereditary, or can develop over a period of time due to reasons like weight gain, heavy weightlifting, pregnancy, etc. The point to be noted here is that all these activities are known to put a strain on the abdomen. Doctors diagnose it after examining the symptoms (if any) and/or by conducting diagnostic tests like endoscopy.
This condition can occur in men and women generally during middle age. Though, people with the problem of obesity are more prone to this kind of hernia, the risk does increase as one becomes old.
Symptoms are not clearly seen in almost half of the people suffering from it. Heartburn is the most common symptom. The burning sensation in the place behind the breastbone can be mild or very painful at times. Although sore throat is related to cold, it can also be a symptom of hiatal hernia. Visit your ENT specialist in case of any doubt in your mind.
For people experiencing irritating symptoms like problems while swallowing food, visiting a gastroenterologist is very essential. Pain in the chest and nausea are some other symptoms observed in people with this condition. Usually, the symptoms aggravate, when you do heavy-duty physical activities like lifting heavy objects.
In the succeeding paragraphs, some vital diet tips and diet plans have been mentioned, which will prove to be very useful for you.
Avoid foods and drinks which cause heart burn. So, you should consider avoiding coffee and switching over to less caffeinated beverages. You should also avoid acid reflux producing fruits. Avocado and banana are safe foods to eat. Popular fruits like papaya, pineapple, the different berries like cranberries, blueberries, and raspberries should be a part of the diet. Strictly avoid citrus fruits, which are acidic such as lemons, tomatoes, oranges and grapefruits. Many doctors might suggest you not to consume tomatoes at all.
Now, coming to vegetables, avoid overeating potatoes, rice, yams, onion and garlic. If consumed in appropriate quantities, they will not cause you any harm. Broccoli, carrots, beans, and peas are recommended to be a part of the diet. Having oatmeal cereals, bread, rice, and some good juices like pear juice, birch sap, and apricot juice, which are known for not causing heart burn, will be beneficial for you.
The additives and acid content in the meats makes them unsuitable. Acidic dairy products should be avoided as they may increase your hernia problems even though they are very tasty. However, some meats like the lean meats and fish, which have very less acid content can be consumed after consulting your doctor. Hot spicy foods like black pepper, mustard, and chili peppers, and foods like butter, salami, and meat pipes should be avoided to maintain good health.
Carbonated drinks are to be avoided. Inclusion of rice and wheat products, certain cheese and milk products, and sweet foods which contain low-fat, will help you decrease the acid content in your body system. Having milk with honey and fruits for breakfast, vegetables and fruits in the afternoon lunch, sprouts, buttermilk, and vegetable juice for dinner, is a good idea. Seeds and nuts must be included while foods like white bread, cakes, over cooked vegetables, and ice cream should be avoided.
Diet plans such as the GERD diet plan, acid reflux diets and alkaline diets are good for patients. A bland but balanced diet menu may be suggested to those people who have extreme symptoms.
GERD Diet Plan
The Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) diet is suggested to those who suffer from regurgitation, heartburn, and chest pain after eating. As per the GERD diet plan, you should avoid eating oily, spicy, fatty, acidic, fried, and creamy food items. Highly processed foods should also be avoided. Hot cooked cereals, grilled chicken, cucumbers, carrots, and brown rice, are the foods which are recommended by the GERD diet plan.
Acid Reflux Diet
An acid reflux diet gives information about the foods which are safe and unsafe for hernia patients. According to this diet, one should not consume deli meat, spicy food, alcohol, wine, soda, and beer. Low fat cheese, brown rice, peas, and bananas can be consumed, as they are harmless.
It consists of mostly alkaline foods (up to 80%) and just 20% acidic food items. An alkaline diet is a mixture of anti-oxidants and elements capable of fighting the toxic substances. Barley, Brazil nuts, carrots, celery, and asparagus are the alkaline vegetables, and papaya, peaches, and mangoes are the alkaline fruits, which will help you maintain your health. The effectiveness of this diet can vary from person to person.
An ideal and best diet should have enough intake of vitamins, and should limit intake of fatty foods. Apart from knowing what to eat, one should also know how and when to eat. Avoid having very large meals, which cause rapid acid production in the body. Many doctors will suggest eating five or six small meals instead of two or three large meals. Following instructions like not eating and immediately going for sleep, giving up the habit of alcohol and smoking, and using antacids will help you deal with this condition. Chew your food well and do not eat in a hurry. Avoid eating snacks just before going to bed as it leads to acid formation.
The diet tips in this article will definitely help you to live a normal and happy life. Be patient as it takes time for the body to adjust itself to the newly set schedule.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a dietitian or nutritionist.