Have you ever been lying in bed, unable to fall asleep because of nausea, burping, or burning in your esophagus? Or, perhaps you wake up in the middle of the night with these symptoms. Sometimes, you may even have pain throughout your chest.
If this scenario sounds familiar to you, then you’ve probably experienced acid reflux.
Chronic acid reflux, also known as GERD, is a painful condition that plagues many patients. In fact, some studies indicate that the number of adults suffering from acid reflux has doubled in recent years.
Many medical professionals suspect that this rise in acid reflux is a result of our rich, heavily processed diets, and the associated increase in the average body mass index (BMI) of adults today.
At RefluxMD, we encourage a comprehensive approach to managing GERD symptoms. In addition to adopting a GERD-friendly diet, that includes maintaining a BMI of 24 or less, making necessary lifestyle changes, utilizing less powerful antireflux medications, and experimenting with several healthy home remedies.
However, for many people suffering from GERD, small changes in diet can lead to relief from acid reflux. Let’s take a look at seven foods good for acid reflux that you could add to your diet.
Foods good for acid reflux
The primary food elements that tend to result in acid reflux are fat and sugar. Vegetables are naturally low in both of these, making them an excellent choice for those who suffer from GERD. Additionally, because these foods are low in acid, they can be soothing to the lining of the esophagus.
That said, sometimes the way we eat vegetables can lead to indigestion. For example, eating a salad with a high-fat dressing and cheese may result in reflux symptoms. Additionally, eating too many raw vegetables can be difficult for some people to digest.
Eating your vegetables steamed, or having a salad with a bit of olive oil, may just reduce reflux symptoms. If you’re looking for foods good for acid reflux, adding more veggies to your diet is a great place to start.
When it comes to foods good for acid reflux, ginger is a time-tested standby. People have used ginger for thousands of years to treat a variety of digestive ailments.
Ginger root has anti-inflammatory properties, which can make it great for settling an upset stomach.
That said, while your mom probably used to give you ginger ale when you had a stomachache, ginger tea is better for acid reflux. The carbonation and sugar in ginger ale can exacerbate the symptoms of GERD.
Luckily, ginger tea is delicious and very easy to make at home. Simply crush up raw ginger in the bottom of a mug, pour boiling water over it, and let it steep.
Another category of foods good for acid reflux is fruit. However, you need to be selective. Fruits like bananas and melons have a low-PH. Eating these can help counteract the acid you have in your stomach, soothing the impact of acid reflux.
Be sure to avoid citrus fruits like oranges or grapefruits. These fruits are more acidic and can trigger acid reflux for many. Additionally, for some people, all fruit has the potential to trigger acid reflux symptoms. Since everyone is different, the key is to learn what is best for your own body.
As we mentioned earlier, acid reflux is triggered by eating foods with high-fat content. High-fat foods require more acid to digest and increase the digestion time, leaving more potential for acid reflux symptoms.
For this reason, lean meats like turkey, chicken, and seafood are foods good for acid reflux. When preparing these meats, choose a method that does not add unnecessary fat to the dish. Grilling, broiling, baking, and poaching are all good approaches.
Additionally, avoid adding a lot of spicy seasonings or sauces to your meals. Many spices can trigger reflux symptoms, and many sauces contain added sugars, which can aggravate sensitive stomachs.
When it comes to eggs, the white is better than the yolk when it comes to acid reflux. The yolk is high in fat, which can be a trigger for many adults.
You don’t necessarily need to cut egg yolks out entirely. For instance, if you make yourself scrambled eggs or a two-egg omelet, you could discard one of the yolks. This process is a smart way to cut down on a portion of the fat, while still getting flavor and nutrients from the remaining yolk.
Another way to add foods good for acid reflux to your diet is with complex carbs. Whole grain bread, pasta, and rice are all great choices.
It’s best to steer clear of overly refined grains, like white bread. These contain more sugar and can lead to upset stomach, and other GERD symptoms.
Almond milk is an alkaline. For this reason, adding it to your diet is a good way to balance the acids in your stomach.
Additionally, many people who suffer from acid reflux have a difficult time drinking coffee or tea. While it is a good idea to cut back on these beverages, this can be difficult for many. By adding almond milk to coffee or tea can help make both easier on your stomach.
Foods to avoid
Now that we’ve covered foods good for acid reflux let’s take a minute to discuss items you should cut out from your diet. Again, everyone is different, and for some, these foods can be tolerated and enjoyed.
Alcohol, and red wine, in particular, can aggravate the symptoms of acid reflux. You should consider abstaining from alcohol or at least reduce your consumption significantly.
Spicy foods like pepper, onions, and garlic are often a trigger for those who suffer from acid reflux. For many, dried onion seasoning and garlic powder can be used without triggering acid reflux symptoms.
It’s not only the foods we eat that can cause reflux. It’s also the way we eat them. Eating late at night tends to trigger more reflux symptoms. A good rule of thumb is to eat at least three hours before you go to sleep.
Portion control is essential to manage GERD symptoms, and we encourage 5 or 6 small meals daily rather than the traditional three-square-meals. Overeating in one sitting can distend the stomach and trigger reflux.
Ultimately, food triggers are different for every person. Keeping a food diary can help you figure out what foods are safe for you, and what foods you need to avoid. We recommend the food-tracking forms provided in our book, RefluxMD’s Recipe for Relief: A GERD-friendly meal plan and diet program, or you can use one of the many online tools like MyFitnessPal.
If foods good for acid reflux don’t help
If eating foods good for acid reflux does not provide adequate relief from your GERD symptoms, be sure to try the comprehensive approach we discussed above. If you continue to struggle with symptom control, then you should seek out a GERD expert. Chronic acid reflux can be a painful condition and can expose you to additional risks if it progresses. A GERD expert can definitively diagnose the root causes of your reflux and provide you with all the treatment options available. Get started today!