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If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, you’re probably familiar with acid reflux. For those unfamiliar with what acid reflux is and how it wreaks havoc on your body, here’s an overview of this nasty digestive disorder.
Foods To Eat To Help Acid Reflux
The main symptom of acid reflux is a burning sensation, otherwise known as heartburn, that occurs when acid flows back into the esophagus from the stomach. That’s why people cling to their chests – the pain can
Dr. Koufman’s Acid Reflux Diet
As the acid flows back into the esophagus, it can be difficult to swallow and it can feel like there is a lump in the throat. However, the symptoms do not stop there – other parts of the body also absorb the heat.
There are many factors that go into a good night’s sleep, and feeling like your chest is on fire isn’t one of them. According to the Mayo Clinic, nocturnal acid reflux can disrupt sleep, worsen asthma, and cause coughing. So eating that can help prevent these symptoms is key to making sure they don’t disrupt sleep, which then leads to other adverse effects.
To help you reduce those uncomfortable acid reflux symptoms, we teamed up with registered dietitians Cynthia Sassa, MPH, MA, RD, CSSD, Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD and author of The No-Brainer Nutrition Guide For Every Runner, and Drs. Voice chat. Chowdhury, MD, assistant professor of medicine in gastroenterology and hepatology at Johns Hopkins, to create a list of foods that cause, relieve, and/or prevent acid reflux.
Foods that cause heartburn and that you should avoid if you have acid reflux have a few things in common. Food that sits longer in the stomach (hello, fatty, heavy foods!) can worsen some of the symptoms above, says Dr. Chowdhry. Let’s start with the ones to avoid and then mention some that can help.
Eat This Not That: Acid Reflux Edition
Foods that cause heartburn and that you should avoid if you have acid reflux have a few things in common. Many take longer to digest and may sit in the stomach, causing acid to move up the esophagus, Dr. Chowdhury says. But others are just very sour!
Whether you’re consuming healthy fats or, well, not-so-healthy fats, you’re putting yourself at risk for indigestion. Fried and fatty foods cause the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to relax and eventually fail to perform its duties properly. The LES is a bundle of muscles that separates the esophagus from the stomach. More specifically, it’s supposed to seal off the bottom of your esophagus to prevent food from moving back up after it settles in your stomach.
“Fat and fatty foods can cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax, causing stomach acid to move back into the esophagus,” says Rizzo.
Foods like french fries, fried chicken, and funnel cake actually immobilize your LES. “Fried foods also take a long time to digest, so they sit in the stomach for a long time and reflux symptoms persist for a while,” she says.
Foods You Shouldn’t Eat If You Have Heartburn & Acid Reflux
Eating high-fat or high-fat dairy products can help you feel fuller for longer, but unfortunately, acid reflux sufferers struggle to get the benefits of these products without feeling like their esophagus is eroding.
This is again due to the high fat content. There are dairy alternatives to cow’s milk that do not contain lactose (a sugar in dairy products that can cause gas, bloating and constipation). Milk with lower lactose content may also put less pressure on this delicate LES.
It is also possible that reflux is caused by an intolerance or sensitivity to dairy products. “Reflux can be a symptom of a food sensitivity, which is a non-allergic immune response that causes inflammation,” says Sass. “For many, nixing dairy can prevent reflux.”
Even heart-healthy dark chocolate makes the acid flow back up. The reason? Methylxanthines. These are natural substances that act on the central nervous system and relax the smooth muscle tissue in the LES.
Acid Reflux Or Gerd Foods To Avoid
Similar to fatty and fried foods, cocoa is just as capable of weakening the LES. The two types of methylxanthines in chocolate are caffeine and theobromine, stimulants that allow us to enjoy the “feel good” vibe you get after snacking on a square or two.
What are you saying? Already opening your second can of diet soda? Just say no. Soda and other carbonated drinks cause serious esophageal problems. Carbonation bubbles expand in the stomach, creating a lot of extra pressure that stays just below your fragile LES muscles.
“Fizzy drinks can not only cause reflux, they can also cause bloating and belching,” says Sass. “Swapping your soda for plain water infused with something like cucumber, ginger, or lemon can help your digestive system feel and function better.”
That morning cup of joe might just send your esophagus burning; not a good way to start the day. “While you may love your cup of joe, the acidic nature of the drink can worsen reflux symptoms,” says Rizzo. “If you get reflux after a cup of joe, you might be better off switching to green tea.”
What Foods Help Acid Reflux Go Away?
And that’s not all—even a little caffeine can be enough to trigger heartburn symptoms, says Dr. Chowdhry.
“Where’s the beef?” If you suffer from acid reflux, you should know that even grass-fed beef that has been raised healthily contains a good amount of fat. And fatty foods, as you now know, cause those LES to thin out as they sit in your stomach waiting to be digested. Just one 3-ounce serving of 85% lean beef contains 5 grams of saturated fat.6254a4d1642c605c54bf1cab17d50f1e
So if you eat about 2,000 calories a day, that would cost 25% of your daily allowance! It is best to limit this meat as much as possible to control symptoms.
When you’re heading out for a night out with friends or a date night, you might want to spice things up by adding a beer or glass of wine (or two) with your dinner. Well, think twice before opening that second bottle, because alcohol slows down the speed at which your food meanders through your digestive system. This means your food doesn’t break down as quickly as it should and sits in your stomach, increasing the likelihood of an acid reflux episode, Dr. Chowdhury explains.
An Overview Of The Acid Reflux Diet
This one is a bit hopeless. When you suffer from reflux, your esophagus already feels like it’s on fire, and the last thing you want is to eat something that fuels the flame even more. Spicy foods can trigger acid reflux symptoms for many people for two main reasons, Rizzo says.
“First, for those with reflux, spicy foods can irritate an already irritated digestive tract. Second, they can also take longer to digest, and food that sits in the stomach for a long time can cause acid reflux,” explains Rizzo.
“Peanut Butter Jelly Time” is no longer a time of complete excitement for those struggling with acid reflux. Along with jam, jelly is at the top of the list of super acid-forming foods, with a pH of 5.5. Instead of spreading sugar-rich jelly on top of peanut butter, throw in some slices of alkaline fruit like bananas and/or strawberries; the pH of the sandwich will be less acidic with an alkaline fruit!
Strawberries can also be quite acid-forming, says Dr. Chowdhury. Therefore, skipping strawberries in the form of jam or berries can cause acid reflux.
Acid Reflux: The Dangers And How To Lessen It With Diet
Despite the high lycopene content of tomatoes, this dish is actually loaded with citric and malic acid. This is bad for those who suffer from acid reflux because these two acids can cause too much stomach acid to build up in the stomach.
Stomach acid is the chemical responsible for breaking down food, and when it gets too much, it has nowhere to go but the esophagus. So, the next time you whip up spaghetti, try using a tomato-based pasta sauce and go for EVOO instead!
Peppermint works as a wonderful antidote to certain disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and can soothe an upset stomach. But this can unfortunately increase the effects of acid reflux, notes Dr. Chowdhury.
“For those who suffer from acid reflux, peppermint tea can aggravate the digestive tract. It’s best to avoid anything with a peppermint flavor if you find that it causes reflux or heartburn,” says Rizzo. The problem isn’t that it doesn’t soothe the lining of the digestive tract. In fact, these refreshing pages actually are
Apple Cider Vinegar For Acid Reflux: Does It Work, And Is It Safe?
Good for relaxing the muscles, especially the LES. You could just skip this mint after dinner.
This morning’s dose
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