Acid Reflux (GERD) Foods: What to eat and avoid.
When you suffer from GERD or acid reflux disease, your stomach tends to make too much acid for digestion. This can cause a burning sensation, heartburn and even nausea. This over-reaction of the stomach to produce too much acid can be aggravated by the foods you eat. Those with GERD know all too well that some foods are real no-no’s and should be avoided at all times.
But did you also know that there are certain foods that can actually soothe your upset stomach and reduce acid reflux symptoms? Well, there are, and once you become familiar with the most common acid reflux foods, you can tailor your diet to get rid of the foods and drinks that cause more regurgitation in your esophagus and add more of the soothing foods that can keep your symptoms at a minimum.
Foods to Avoid When You Suffer From Acid Reflux Disease
There are certain foodstuffs that work against the GERD patient causing the stomach to over-produce digestive acids. Some of the biggest culprits include:
- High fat concentrated foods – any foods that have been fried in oil or that contain a high concentration of natural fats are much harder to digest and thus require the stomach to make more acids to handle the job. By eating fewer fats you can calm the stomach and keep it from over-producing the acids that cause GERD symptoms.
- Whole milk and dairy – fat free (or even low-fat) dairy is usually safe to eat; but whole milk varieties contain a lot of fat which the stomach may have a difficult time digesting.
- Greasy foods – grease is nothing but fat and that is hard for the digestive system to tackle without making a lot of acid internally. This of course can send your stomach and esophagus reeling. Instead, choose foods that are baked or broiled.
- Highly spiced foods – spicy foods can cause indigestion and heartburn in anyone; but they can really make a GERD patient suffer. Keep spices to a minimum if you suffer fromacid reflux disease.
- Carbonated drinks — carbonation adds air and bubbles to the stomach which in turns churns out more acids to help digest the liquid. To help stave off an acid reflux reaction, try limiting your carbonated drinks to one every week or so. Better yet, cut them completely form your diet for best results.
- Citrus Fruits 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.
As you can see, adding any foods or drinks to your diet that are already high in acids or that contain a lot of fats will cause the stomach to produce more of its own acid. And that can lead to trouble for someone who already suffers high stomach acidity and their side effects.
Luckily, there are plenty of other foods that can be substituted in your diet that have the opposite effect on acid production.
Foods to Enjoy With GERD
Fruits and Vegetables
Most fruits and vegetables are easy on the stomach and cause no acid build-up in the esophagus. Choose non-citrus varieties like apples, bananas, potatoes (not fried of course), lettuce, peas and green beans for easiest digestion.
Meats & Fish
Meat doesn’t have to send your stomach reeling when you suffer from acid reflux. But you do have to be careful about the cuts you choose and the way you prepare those meat dishes.
Always opt for the leanest cuts available and have your butcher cut off any fat before cooking. Never fry meats and avoid recipes that allow the meat to sit in its own grease (like meatloaf).
As for fish, most varieties are completely safe for the GERD patient, as long as it is baked or broiled and not fried.
While most GERD patients tend to shy away from dairy products for fear it will incite an acid reflux attack, few realize that low-fat dairy is usually safe. Better yet, opt for dairy alternatives like feta or goat cheese, soy milk, fat-free cream cheese, egg substitute and fat-free sour creams and yogurts to compliment your diet without giving you tummy troubles.
White grains can be difficult for a GERD patient to digest but darker varieties cause less acid production in the body. When in doubt, opt for wheat, bran and rye grains as well as multi-grain breads, bagels and crackers.
Water is always the safest beverage for a GERD patient but low fat milk or 100% juices are also okay.
Meal and Snack Tips for the Gerd Patient
Of course, it is not always what you eat that sets off an acid reflux reaction, but when and how you eat. Those suffering from GERD must take heed of these important meal and snack tips to avoid an over-production of acids in the stomach:
- Eat early in the evening – the later you eat, the more likely you will suffer with esophageal back-up during the night.
- Eat light meals – heavy meals are more difficult to digest and cause more acid to be produced in the stomach.
- Eat smaller meals, more often – most people with GERD report that they feel more comfortable when they eat smaller meals several times a day than just 2-3 bigger meals. By eating more often, the stomach is better able to digest materials without the need for producing large amounts of digestive juices and acids.
Staving off heartburn and keeping your acid reflux under control may have as much to do with what foods you eat than any other treatment or remedy. Follow the tips outlined in this article for reducing your acid reflux symptoms and living a GERD-free life.