GERD Diet Foods to Avoid
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a condition that can cause a great deal of discomfort. In severe cases, the pain can practically be unbearable. You may feel like you have food stuck in your throat, you may have an acidic or sour taste in your throat or mouth, you may experience difficulty swallowing and you probably will experience from mild to severe heartburn.
The real cause of GERD is unknown but there are many factors that can contribute to the condition, including a hiatal hernia, a weak esophageal sphincter and even pregnancy. Long term GERD can lead to further complications, especially if heartburn is frequent. Your esophagus can become so irritated that it causes ulcers or bleeding. Because of this, it is essential that you learn how to effectively deal with your acid reflux disease.
Following a GERD diet is one of the easiest and often the most effective way of dealing with GERD symptoms. Certain foods can weaken the esophageal sphincter. Others can increase the amount of acid your stomach produces. Either way, certain foods should be avoided while following a GERD diet.
Foods That Produce Stomach Acid
Caffeine and alcohol can actually promote the production of more stomach acid. More stomach acid means more pain, especially if you have a weakened esophageal sphincter. If you have GERD, you should avoid foods and beverages that contain caffeine. You should also avoid beverages that contain alcohol or consume them in very limited amounts.
Foods That Weaken the Esophageal Sphincter
Foods that weaken the esophageal sphincter allow the gateway to your stomach to open. This allows food and stomach acid to make its way back up through the esophagus. Foods you should avoid that are thought to weaken the esophageal sphincter include chocolate, fatty foods and alcohol.
Other Foods You Should Avoid
Other foods that you should not eat while following a GERD diet include peppermint, fried foods and tomato products. Tomato products include both foods and beverages like tomato juice, tomato sauce, tomato paste and fresh tomatoes. Soups, particularly those that are creamed, are also likely to aggravate GERD symptoms.
Other Foods That May Worsen the Symptoms
There are some foods that work as GERD triggers for some people but not to others. It is unknown as to why this happens but you should take note of how you feel before and after consuming foods that you suspect might have caused the symptoms to worsen. These foods include onions, mustard, carbonated beverages, certain spices, vinegar, garlic and citrus fruits or juices.
Foods Not on the List
You may find that your GERD symptoms are worsened by foods not on the list. When it comes to GERD, every case is different. If you have excluded all of the GERD triggering foods and beverages from your diet, you should start to take a proactive approach to monitoring the foods you eat. Take note of what you eat each meal. How do you feel afterwards? Are you following all of the other GERD guidelines? If you are following all of the guidelines and you notice particular foods seem to cause symptoms, you may need to eliminate that item from your diet.
Non-Food Items You Should Exclude From Your Diet
Tobacco products can also cause GERD symptoms to worsen. This includes chew, cigars, snuff and cigarettes. If you use any of these products, you are likely to find that by not using or taking them, your GERD symptoms are less severe. While stopping from taking tobacco products is not an easy task, it is important for your overall health and for reducing your GERD symptoms.
Not Just What You Eat
GERD can be more complex than just the foods you eat. If you commonly eat before going to bed, you are likely to experience GERD at night. If you eat larger meals, then you are likely to experience GERD shortly after eating. Learning when to eat and how much is an important part of managing your GERD symptoms.
People with GERD should eat smaller meals throughout the day. You should also avoid lying down after eating. At least two to three hours should be placed between your meal and lying down. This is because, when you lay down, you no longer have gravity on your side. Gravity helps keep stomach acids down while you are standing or sitting up. While it does take time and discipline to change your eating habits, many people have found a great deal of comfort and relief from their symptoms just by changing when and how much they ate.
Medications and surgery do exist for chronic GERD. These measures, however, should only be used after you have tried all dietary options possible. For many people, a few changes to their lifestyle can make all the difference when it comes to GERD. If, however, you have followed all of the guidelines, excluded all trigger foods from your diet and your symptoms still persist, you should talk to your doctor about other possible treatment options.