GERD Diet Milk and Yogurt
Learning how to manage gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD can be a little difficult at first. There are some foods that are strictly prohibited. There are other foods that may cause an increase in GERD symptoms in some people, but not in others. There are also foods that can help reduce your GERD symptoms. In other words, eating the right foods can actually help you feel better and eating the wrong foods can have serious bad consequences.
How GERD Happens?
To understand how certain foods can promote GERD symptoms, you must first understand how GERD happens. While the exact cause of GERD is unknown, doctors do know some factors that can contribute to GERD. These factors include a weakened valve between the stomach and esophagus – otherwise known as the esophageal sphincter, excess production of stomach acid, pregnancy and hiatal hernia.
In almost all cases of GERD there is some sort of compromise in the way the esophageal sphincter closes- be it due to weakness, irritation, or pressure. This valve is responsible for keeping stomach acids within the stomach. When forced to open, for whatever reason, the acid and food within the stomach can move back up through the esophagus, causing irritation, swelling, ulcers and bleeding.
The trick to handling GERD is figuring out how to keep stomach acid and food where it belongs – inside the stomach. Since most cases of GERD are related to a compromise of the esophageal sphincter, one of the easiest ways of doing this is by strengthening the valve.
Avoidance of Foods, Beverages and Substances
Certain foods, beverages and substances can weaken the esophageal sphincter or promote the production of excess stomach acid. It is important to avoid these foods so that GERD symptoms do not get worse. These foods are sometimes different, depending on the reason you experience GERD. In some cases like pregnancy, all foods may promote GERD symptoms. Learning how to listen to your body and being aware of the most prominent GERD symptoms foods can help reduce occurrence or severity of symptoms.
Some people find relief through lifestyle changes like weight loss or eating smaller meals. Not eating before going to bed can also make a difference. While these measures are very helpful they still fall short of helping your body and your esophageal sphincter heal from GERD.
Milk and Yogurt – The Double Edged Sword
Depending on the type of milk and yogurt you consume, you can either help heal your GERD or make it worse. Because fatty foods are one of the most common GERD promoting foods, whole milk and whole fat yogurt can actually worsen the symptoms. There is, however, another side to yogurt and milk that GERD sufferers should be aware of.
Calcium and protein can actually strengthen the esophageal sphincter. Ingesting foods that contain these important vitamins and minerals, however, can be difficult since most foods that contain protein and calcium are high in fat. Both calcium and protein are found in milk and yogurt. So, besides the fatty content, milk and yogurt are actually able to strengthen the esophageal sphincter. But how do you strengthen the sphincter without causing stomach acid production or defeating the efforts because of the fat content?
The answer to this question is quite simple. By consuming low fat or nonfat milk or yogurt, you can reap the strengthening benefits these foods have to offer without causing further damage to your esophageal sphincter. You should keep in mind, however, that despite their strengthening power, you should still avoid overdoing it. Consuming two to three servings of low fat or nonfat milk or yogurt should be sufficient for your needs.
You can also supplement with other lean sources of protein like beans or legumes. Bean sprouts are another low fat source of protein. Learn how to mix your proteins for the best health. This will help both your GERD and help you live a healthier lifestyle, especially where your heart is concerned.
Other Foods That Can Strengthen Esophageal Sphincter
While low fat, high protein foods are the most commonly recommended foods for strengthening the esophageal sphincter, there is another food group that deserves some attention – carbohydrates. But not just any carbohydrates will do. Carbohydrates should be low in fat. Additionally, carbohydrates should be whole grain or whole wheat. While the whole grain option is not linked to GERD healing success, it is healthier for you, overall.
Keep in mind that carbohydrates, if eaten in excess, can lead to stored fat. You should monitor your carbohydrates and avoid consuming more than you need. While a huge plate of pasta is very inviting, it is also a lot of calories. Additionally, you should avoid consuming foods in large portions. This can cause GERD symptoms to heighten as well.
In most GERD cases, proper diet and a few changes to lifestyle can mean success and fewer symptoms. It does take discipline to implement these practices, however. It may mean giving up some favorite foods. It may mean eating foods you aren’t very fond of. Either way, remember that your GERD will not get better if you aren’t willing to do the work.