If you are following a GERD diet you should avoid large meals, eat small meals frequently, cut down on fatty food and not eat within 2-3 hours of bedtime. Keep a diary or mental note of foods eaten and their effect. If you are following an acid reflux diet this will help to decide which foods are causing the problem. With an acid reflux diet, avoid acidic foods, spicy and hot foods. Also avoid extremely hot foods and drinks. Let foods and drinks cool before consuming them. Drinking very hot drinks has been shown to correlate with gastric and duodenal ulcers and should be avoided when on a reflux diet.
Type of Food
Foods to Avoid
|Fruit and Fruit Juices||
||High in fat and slow to digest||
||High in fat and slow to digest||
||Relaxes smooth muscle sphincter at lower esophagus||
Fatty foods are slow to digest and delay emptying of the stomach and should be avoided in a GERD diet. Some foods such as milk, dairy products and alcohol increase acid production by the stomach. Foods such as peppermint and chocolate relax the lower esophageal sphincter and may contribute to heartburn. Spicy foods can be irritant to the lower esophagus especially if it has been irritated by the reflux of stomach acid and juices. Alcohol can relax the lower esophageal sphincter and irritate the stomach lining.
GERD Diet - Safe foods
To prevent heartburn and when following an acid reflux diet it is best to eat a low fat diet with lots of fibre, fresh fruit and vegetables. Low fat foods are digested more quickly and leave the stomach faster. They cause less pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter. High fibre foods pass through the colon more quickly and reduce constipation. This helps to prevent the increase in intra-abdominal pressure that is caused by constipation. Drink fresh water instead of coffee and carbonated drinks. Choose lean meats such as chicken without the skin and extra lean ground beef. There are lots of tasty recipes and delicious foods that do not cause heartburn. There are gourmet diet plan foods and delicious recipes that can be tried. Other natural drinks that help include cabbage juice which contains glutamine that can help to heal stomach ulcers. Sipping chamomile tea between meals may help. There is tremendous variation between individuals. Tolerance of many of the foods on reflux diet plans is individual. Some people may be able to tolerate mints but be unable to eat tomatoes and vice versa. The only way to find out for certain is by trial and error and keeping a diary or mental record. Generally it is advisable to follow a restricted diet to start with. When the symptoms of acidity have resolved then cautiously reintroduce foods on an individual trial basis.
More about Acid Reflux Disease
Gastroesophageal reflux disease occurs because of the failure of the normal anti-reflux mechanism to protect against frequent and abnormal amounts of gastroesophageal reflux. Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is the effortless movement of gastric contents from the stomach up into the esophagus. Gastroesophageal reflux is not itself a disease, but a normal physiological process. It occurs in virtually everyone, many times every day, especially after large meals, without resulting in symptoms or signs of mucosal damage. By contrast, Esophageal reflux is a spectrum of disease usually producing symptoms of heartburn and acid regurgitation. Most patients have no visible mucosal injury when they have and endoscopy (non-erosive GERD or GORD), whereas others have esophagitis, peptic strictures, Barrett esophagus, or symptoms of extra-esophageal diseases such as chest pain, pulmonary symptoms, or ear, nose, and throat symptoms. Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a multifactorial process and one of the most common human diseases. It also has great economic importance. It is estimated that in the USA about 4-5 billion dollars per year are spent on antacid medications!
GERD Diet Planning
If you suffer from heratburn, you are very aware that what you eat as a major effect on how you feel. Eating foods that aggravate your heartburn often leads to some regret later. You soon learn that certain foods need to be avoided to control your symptoms of heartburn. The difficulty is that people vary and finding which foods to avoid and which are safe to eat can be difficult.
Try Keeping a Food Diary
Keeping a food diary for a few weeks is a good way of learning which foods upset your acid reflux disease. It can be time-consuming recording all the foods that you eat but if you suffer badly from acid reflux it is a good way of deciding which types of food trigger your heartburn symptoms. Heartburn triggers do vary from person-to-person but there are certain foods that typically cause problems for example acidic foods and fatty foods. It is a good idea to divide the foods that you're eating into various categories such as meats, fruits, beverages, vegetables, grains, fatty foods, snacks and dairy products. After you have been monitoring and recording for a while you will gradually build up a picture of the foods that make your acid reflux disease worse.
Foods to avoid
Some acid reflux disease sufferers are able to tolerate rich and spicy foods with no problem, whilst others with acid reflux are unable to even tolerate a single bite of a rich and spicy food. This is also true for many other food types as well. However there are certain foods that most people on a GERD diet should avoid. These include:
- Fatty, greasy and fried foods
- Whole milk or dairy products
- Acidic foods such as tomatoes and orange juice
- Caffeine containing drinks
- Carbonated drinks
- Alcoholic beverages
- Spicy and hot foods
Foods that are safe
If you suffer from acid reflux disease, do not panic and think that there are no foods that you are able to eat when you have acid reflux disease. Please be reassured that there are plenty of tasty alternatives to the food items which have been listed above
To give an example, instead of eating chips (french fries) or fried potatoes try baking potatoes or baking wedges of potato in the oven. As an alternative to whole fat milk, try using skimmed milk or low fat milk instead. Other alternatives to full fat milk include soya milk and rice milk.
If you suffer from heartburn, what are the types of food that you can safely enjoy? Here are few suggestions to enable you to start planning your eating menu:
- Low fat dairy
- Fresh fruits such as apples, bananas, papaya, melon, mango, pear and many more
- Vegetables such cabbage, broccoli, peas, leeks, carrots, cucumber and more
- Ketchup – but it is sensible to use in small amounts
- Low fat cakes and cookies
- Non-caffeinated/carbonated drinks like herbal tea, water, and more
- Pretzels, baked chips, crackers, etc.
- Lean meats such as chicken and game
- Whole Grains
Producing a GERD Diet Menu Plan
When you plan your weekly menu, make certain to choose foodstuffs that will help your stomach digest better what you are eating you in order to prevent your stomach from producing too much acid and leading to acid reflux.
Here are some excellent choices to add to your acid reflux diet menu:
Low Fat Protein Foods
Foods which are high in protein such as lean meats, chicken, game, fish and even protein powders can be included in your recipes or made into speciality drinks can help to increase the muscle tone of the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES). This helps to close that important valve after the food has passed down into your stomach. This helps to prevent the stomach acids are refluxing back up into your lower oesophagus and causing heartburn.
High Fibre Foods
Medical research has shown that those individuals who eat a diet which is high in fibre develop less damage in their lower oesophagus when compared with those who eat a diet low in high-fibre foods. Therefore try to eat foods which are unprocessed and unrefined and high in fibre such as wholemeal bread and high-fibre cereals.
Tropical fruits such as papaya and pineapple have been shown to contain plenty of papain and bromelain. These enzymes are thought to help to improve digestion by the stomach and reduce the amount of acid produced by the gastric mucosa (stomach lining).
Therefore, when you are drawing up and planning a new GERD diet plan for you to follow, remember to include plenty of fresh foodstuffs that fit into the healthy reflux diet food choices. It is okay to occasionally eat something on the avoid list, provided that you do this only occasionally. It is difficult sometimes to maintain the motivation to keep up with an acid reflux diet but keep reminding yourself of the health benefits in addition to the fact that your unpleasant symptoms of heartburn will soon disappear.
Eating a low fat, high fibre diet which contains a wide variety of fruit and vegetables is not only good for acid reflux disease but also helps to prevent serious medical conditions such as heart disease, strokes and many types of cancer.