Acid Reflux Diet Tips and Restrictions
When you suffer from acid reflux, you learn very quickly what foods you can and cannot eat without experiencing a painful reflux attack. Still, having a place to turn to find out about dietary restrictions, recommendations and other eating tips for the acid reflux sufferer can be every helpful in staving off symptoms and lowering your risk of its nasty side effects.
Avoiding the painful burning, nighttime regurgitation and upset stomach of mild or severe acid reflux means following a fairly strict eating plan. This includes more than choosing the right foods but also understanding when it is best to eat and of course how much to take in at a single setting.
For those who have never really thought much about how they eat with Gerd, here are some important tips to consider.
Choose Your Foods Carefully
Limiting your exposure to acid-producing foods may be the No. 1 diet tip every acid reflux patient should take to heart. Of course, most Gerd patients know to stay away from greasy and spicy foods, but did you also know that some dairy, organs and even tomatoes (and tomatoes products) could incite an acid reflux attack? It’s true. Here are just some of the foods to avoid when suffering from acid reflux:
- Fatty Foods – fats are hard to digest and the more fat in your diet, the more stomach acid your digestive system will produce; and this of course, only adds to your Gerd problems.
- Whole Milk and Dairy – whole milk dairy products contain more fat than their low-fat counterparts which can make them harder to digest and more easily regurgitated. Opt for fat -free milk, cheese and yogurt to keep your stomach happy
- Greasy Foods – greasy food can be all but impossible for acid reflux sufferers to digest without painful repercussions.
- Carbonated Drinks – many people do not realize that carbonated drinks (even carbonated waters) can cause their acid reflux condition to worsen. Anything that aggravates the stomach can induce acid production and this will increase Gerd symptoms.
- Acid Based Fruits and Veggies Like Citrus and Tomatoes – citrus fruits and tomatoes contain a lot of their own acid which when added to the acids already in the stomach and digestive tract can make for some uncomfortable conditions for the Gerd patient.
Instead, choose easier to digest foods like fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats or broiled and baked fish entrees. Stay away from soda and caffeinated drinks, opting for water and 100% fruit juices (not the citrus kinds) instead.
Know When It Is Safest To Eat
Knowing when to eat is just as important as knowing what to eat for the acid reflux sufferer. Most experts agree that eating smaller meals more often throughout the day can help keep the stomach from over-producing digestive juices and acids. Also, choosing lighter meals can help aid digestion.
Here’s another acid reflux diet tip: never eat within three hours of retiring and if you do eat before going to bed, be sure to sleep in an upright position to avoid nighttime regurgitation.
Avoid the Top Acid Reflux No-No’s
There are a lot of things that can aggravate acid reflux. Here are just a few of the biggest no-no’s to avoid:
- Eating Before Bedtime (or Nap time). Acid reflux occurs when the stomach produces too much acid to handle digestion and then that acid refluxes or regurgitates back up the esophagus. This can be as mild as burping or noticing an acidity taste in your mouth, to full fledged heartburn and nausea. Eating within three hours of lying down will only increase your symptoms. Instead, eat all meals well before bedtime and limit evening snack time. If you must eat before napping or retiring for the night, try and position your head above your heart to help keep the reflux down.
- Drinking Alcohol or Caffeinated Drinks. Both substances can invigorate the digestive tract, causing it to over-produce acids designed for digestion.
- Forgetting to Take an Antacid Before Bed. This can help to calm acid reflux responses and help you get a better night’s sleep.
- Eating Large Meals. Holidays and get-togethers can mean real trouble for those suffering from acid reflux. Sitting down to a big Thanksgiving meal with greasy turkey, fatty side dishes and loads of spicy ingredients can send your stomach into a tailspin. Add to that the sheer amount of food you may be expecting your stomach to digest and you will likely end up feeling horrible by the end of the day if you suffer from acid reflux. Instead of indulging in one big holiday meal, try eating small amounts of your favorite recipes throughout the day. In other words, become a “picky” eater. Don’t try to sample everything (if you do limit yourself to a bite or two) and graze all day long instead of forcing your stomach to handle such a large amount of food at one sitting.
- Not Taking Your Acid Reflux Seriously. Don’t underestimate the danger of acid reflux. Too many Gerd sufferers simply do not take their condition seriously enough. Many people think that a little heartburn won’t hurt anyone and in normal cases that is true. Everyone suffers from indigestion and heartburn form time to time. But if their symptoms are causing you to awaken at night, reach for antacids on a daily basis or causing you to avoid certain foods, then it may be time to talk with your doctor. Acid reflux left unchecked can lead to a whole host of medical problems including esophageal cancer.
While the list of restrictions for acid reflux patients may seem overwhelming at first, it is important to remember that there are a lot of foods that you can eat when dealing with the disorder. Once you learn what triggers cause you to experience a painful attack, you can adjust your eating habits to help you stave off attacks as well as heal your Gerd.