Acid Reflux Diet: 8 Foods To Eat & Avoid
Acid reflux, that irritating backflow of stomach acid up into your esophagus, is often triggered by what you eat and drink. Eat the wrong food and youâre sure to feel the burn. Some foods are known to cause reflux more than others.
Here are 8 foods to avoid if you have acid reflux, and 8 foods that keep you free from the burn and keep you healthier overall. A win-win!
Acid Reflux During Pregnancy
Some women who have never had acid reflux before develop acid reflux or heartburn symptoms for the duration of their pregnancy. This is normal, and many women have decreased or no symptoms after the pregnancy is over.
In addition to following the guidelines discussed above, try sipping liquids instead of drinking them quickly to help prevent acid reflux symptoms. Keeping a food diary to help track what aggravates your symptoms can help you prevent symptoms throughout your pregnancy.
If your GERD or acid reflux hasnt responded to purely dietary changes, other remedies and medications may offer relief.
Over-the-counter treatments include:
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Surgical Treatments For Gerd And Acid Reflux
With advances in robotic and laparoscopic surgery, treating GERD is easier than ever. At The Surgical Clinic, we offer several types of surgical procedures to strengthen the weakened LES and other causes of GERD.
One of our providers, Dr. Trudie Goers, is board-certified in general surgery and specializes in minimally invasive gastrointestinal repair. If you need treatment for GERD or acid reflux, Dr. Goers would be happy to meet with you.
To learn more about GERD, acid reflux treatment, GERD surgery, and acid reflux surgery in Nashville, visit the Virtual GERD Center here on our website.
You dont have to live with acid reflux forever. The providers at The Surgical Clinics of Middle Tennessee are here to help you get the care that you need. Visit one of our many locations across the Greater Nashville Area, including Mt Juliet, Downtown, Franklin, Cool Springs, Hermitage, as well as Columbia, Gallatin, Murfreesboro, and Smyrna.
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Will Eating This Give Me Heartburn
To answer this question, we first must understand what heartburn is. It is a burning discomfort usually in the center of the chest that continues up to the throat in some individuals. Stomach acid refluxes into the esophagus and irritates its tissue. Certain foods trigger heartburn and you need to identify the foods that trigger your heartburn. This slideshow may help you identify foods that may trigger heartburn and offers suggestions about how the risk for heartburn can be reduced.
Foods That Cause Acid Reflux
Be warned: when I first discovered the foods and beverages that were causing some of my heartburn, I was very disappointed. These are common foods many Americans love unfortunately, if you want to ensure the health of your digestive system, youre going to have to give them up.
Here are the top foods that cause heartburn:
1. Chocolate: This may break your heart, but chocolate has been deemed the worst food when it comes to acid reflux. Because it contains caffeine and theobromine, which is a stimulant, it causes acid reflux more often than not. It doesnt help that chocolate also contains high fats and cocoa, which increase your risk of acid reflux disease.
2. Soda: I know on a hot summer day nothing may quench your thirst more than a nice cold soda. However, the bubbles of carbonation in the soda actually expand the inside of the stomach and increase pressure, which contributes to acid reflux.
3. Fried Food: Next to chocolate, fried foods are some of the worst foods to consume if you experience acid reflux. The sole reason is because of the high amounts of fat that are found in them. Instead of frying foods, consider baking, broiling, or barbecuing them.
4. Alcohol: Alcohol in general is not very acidic, but it is believed to relax the esophagus. So while it wont increase your stomach acid levels, it wont do much to help your LES in keeping your stomach acid where its supposed to be.
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Can Multivitamins Cause Heartburn
- Avoid taking multivitamins in empty stomach
- Take multivitamins with food
- Do not take multivitamins right before exercise
- Try the easy to digest forms of multivitamins, such as chewable tablets, powders, and dissolvable forms
- Avoid mega doses of multivitamins, such as the once a month or once a week dose
- Take smaller daily doses of multivitamins
- Try meeting your daily nutrient needs through diet
High Fat Foods & Gerd Symptoms
When fat enters the stomach, it triggers a release of the hormone cholecystokinin , which can cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax. Chronic relaxing or malfunctioning of the LES is what causes GERD. With the LES left more open, the stomach contents can reflux back up the esophagus and cause discomfort.
The other problem with high-fat foods is they require more time to break down during digestion. In order to help the digestive process, the CCK hormone keeps fatty foods in the stomach for a longer period of time. This is a natural reaction, but when combined with the relaxed LES, the risk of acid reflux symptoms increases.
Below is a list of several types of high-fat foods you should avoid when managing acid reflux or GERD symptoms.
- Fried food
- Fatty meats
Fried foods are especially bad due to their high levels of saturated fat. You should not eliminate all fats from your diet because your body does need fat to work properly. Some healthy sources of fat include avocados, nuts, and olive oil.
While you do not have to eliminate all of these foods from your diet immediately, the more you can limit and monitor fatty foods, the better. Paying attention to your fat intake will also help you avoid future health problems like obesity, heart disease, and cancer.
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Difference Between Acid Reflux And Heartburn
The digestive process begins in the mouth, where the food is chewed into small bits and mixed with saliva to make it easier to swallow. The food then passes down the esophagus, or food pipe, into the stomach, where it mixes with digestive acids such as bile that further breaks it down.
The bottom of the esophagus is encircled by a ring-shaped muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter , which keeps it tightly shut and relaxes only to allow the passage of swallowed food and fluid into the stomach.
The LES plays a very important role in keeping down the stomach contents. However, if this muscle becomes weak or dysfunctional due to some reason, the acidic contents of your stomach will easily flow back into the food pipe, causing irritation and tissue damage.
This backflow of stomach contents into the esophagus is referred to as acid reflux. Heartburn, on the other hand, is defined as the burning sensation in the chest or throat caused by the backflow of stomach acids into the esophagus. Thus, heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux, rather than a condition.
Watch What You Drink Too
Certain beverages can make heartburn more likely. Drinks with caffeine boost acid in the stomach. Alcohol can relax the valve between your esophagus and stomach, letting acid escape more easily. And carbonation from fizzy drinks can bloat your stomach, which may lead to heartburn. Tomato and citrus juices have acid, too.
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Why Do Avocados Cause Heartburn
Avocados may give you heartburn in several ways. Firstly, theyre very high in fat, which makes up most of their calories. High-fat foods tend to stick around in your stomach longer, causing an overproduction of gastric acid, which can then reflux up your esophagus.
Still, avocados are very healthy and nutritious, so including them in your diet even in small amounts is a very good idea.
What Aggravates Acid Reflux
Acid reflux occurs when the sphincter at the base of the esophagus isnt working well, allowing fluid from the stomach to enter the esophagus. The worst foods for reflux can worsen painful symptoms, while other foods can soothe them, says UH gastrointestinal surgeon Leena Khaitan, MD
Diet changes can significantly affect acid reflux and allow you to avoid other treatments, Dr. Khaitan says.
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Alterations In Refluxed Fluid
Refluxed stomach fluid consists of several esophageal mucosal irritants including gastric acid, digestive enzymes, and bile salts. Secretion of these digestive components is dependent on dietary intake and may be altered with changes in nutritional composition . Undigested food particles may additionally be refluxed into the esophagus, with varying effects on underlying mucosa.
Heartburn Triggers: Heartburn And Medications
Many different medications can trigger heartburn, or make heartburn worse. An aspirin here or there is not likely to lead to that fiery feeling. But regular use of aspirin or a popular class of painkillers called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may irritate the esophagus. NSAIDs include ibuprofen, naproxen, and prescription Cox-2 inhibitors such as Celebrex. These drugs are often used to treat arthritis.
Several different types of blood pressure medicines can also cause heartburn. Many blood pressure and heart disease medicines, including calcium channel blockers and nitrates, relax the LES muscle, making it easy for your stomach acids to retreat backwards.
Several other types of medications are known to relax the LES muscle and lead to heartburn. They include:
- An asthma medicine called theophylline, taken by mouth
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Certain supplements such as iron and potassium
Chemotherapy drugs and a class of osteoporosis medicines called bisphosphates can injure the lining of the esophagus and make heartburn more likely. Taking your osteoporosis medicine with a big glass of water and avoiding lying down for 30 minutes to an hour helps to prevent problems.
Always tell your doctor if a new prescription or over-the-counter medicine gives you heartburn or makes your heartburn worse. Your doctor may be able to suggest alternatives.
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What Lifestyle Changes Should Be Made In Context With Acid Reflux
Research has shown that exercising can help manage acid reflux in individuals that are classified as obese. Acid reflux can also cause inflammation in the lining of the esophagus.
What Is Acid Reflux And Heartburn
First off, while heartburn and acid reflux are similar, acid reflux can develop into a disease. If you experience acid reflux or heartburn more than twice per week, this is usually a sure sign you have acid reflux disease.
Heartburn or acid reflux is a symptom thats generally a result of a weak muscular valve located above your stomach called the lower esophageal sphincter . The LES is meant to keep acid in the stomach, but open to allow gases to escape . If the valve isnt functioning properly, acid escapes from the stomach and travels upwards through the esophagus. Regular overeating and carrying excess weight are two key causes of heartburn.
Some other common heartburn triggers include the following:
- Constipation: Constipation can cause excess pressure on the stomach, leading to a weakening of the LES and heartburn.
- Stress and Lack of Sleep: These factors can cause increased acid production, which can lead to heartburn.
- Smoking: Smoking causes weakening of the LES and stimulates stomach acid production, leading to heartburn.
- Certain Medications and Foods: Some medications and foods either relax the LES or stimulate stomach acid production, which, again, leads to heartburn.
In addition to these heartburn triggers, some causes of acid reflux disease include:
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Foods To Avoid If You Suffer From Acid Reflux
Acid reflux refers to the movement of acid from your stomach where it should be up into your oesophagus where it shouldnt be. This can cause a burning feeling in your chest and throat, also known as heartburn. Thats because the lining of your oesophagus is much more sensitive to acid than your stomach and contact with it can cause irritation to its lining.
Sodas And Carbonated Beverages
Many people find they get heartburn after drinking sodas and carbonated beverages.
Research suggests that these drinks may relax the esophageal sphincter and increase the acidity of stomach acid two risk factors for heartburn .
In fact, soft drink consumption is considered a major contributor to heartburn that occurs at night, which is known as nocturnal heartburn .
Some studies have found a link between drinking soft drinks and worsened symptoms in people with GERD.
For example, an older study found that people who consumed carbonated beverages had a 69% higher risk of developing reflux symptoms like heartburn .
If you experience heartburn after drinking soda or other carbonated beverages, its best to limit your intake or cut out carbonated drinks completely.
Sodas and other carbonated beverages may cause heartburn by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter. If sodas or other carbonated beverages give you heartburn, consider cutting back or avoiding them completely.
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Lifestyle Tips To Avoid Heartburn
As well as cutting out any offending foods you have identified that may be triggering your heartburn, there are several lifestyle changes you can make, too, to help ease symptoms and avoid the burn:
Reduce your portion sizes
It makes sense that eating until youre stuffed isnt going to be a great idea when it comes to heartburn.
‘Eating habits play a role in triggering heartburn symptoms, reveals Soutter. In particular, large meals can delay gastric emptying, which can put internal pressure on the stomach. Stomach acid can then get pushed back into the oesophagus, which may contribute to acid reflux.
Dont eat for three hours before going to bed
Dont forget that gravity has a part to play, too. Lying down too soon after eating tilts the stomach, which allows the stomach acid to spill into the oesophagus a common cause of heartburn, says Soutter. If you really want to keep heartburn away, you should wait at least three hours before lying down.
Exercises Of The Lower Abdomen And Headstands
heartburn can also be triggered by a certain type of exercises. These include abs work, crunches, sit-ups, leg lifts or any kind of workout positions that put pressure on the abdomen.
Exercises that pressurize abdomen can alter the lower oesophageal sphincter pressure and cause it to open up, causing heartburn.
Also, headstands and certain yoga postures that include inversion of the body can also show this effect.
This is because headstands, downward dog and other body inversion postures reverse the flow of stomach contents, leading to heartburn.
Though exercise is a less common trigger for heartburn in healthy people, it can certainly cause havoc for the ones who suffer from heartburn frequently.
How to avoid: heartburn is no excuse to avoid exercises. In fact, exercise helps keep weight under control because obesity is another big factor that leads to heartburn.
For people who suffer from heartburn after abdominal exercises or headstands, it is important that they should avoid such postures and use some other forms of exercises that do not focus on the abdominal areas but the other parts of the body.
It is also important to note that exercising on a full stomach or working out shortly after meals is also a bad idea.
If proper precautions are taken and under supervision, exercise can be removed from the list of things that trigger acid reflux.
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3. Purple Onions
Purple onions help increase the taste of food, stimulating your taste. With a high content of vitamins and minerals , we cannot deny many benefits of purple onion for health. But Dr Jeremy advised that patients with acid reflux should limit their consumption of purple onion because they open up the valve between the stomach and esophagus, making your condition worse. For patients with gastric pain, eating more purple onions causes the pH in the stomach to drop below 4 and exacerbate the symptoms of heartburn and belching. So, if you really like to eat onion, you should replace the purple onions with green onions to relieve the symptoms of the disease.
4. Carbonated Soft Drinks
This is one of the foods that cause acid reflux, indigestion and gas that few people know, but this is true. In fact, a lot of people love drinking carbonated drinks. Drinking these types of drinks creates a sense of well-being and excitement for the user. Unfortunately, carbonates in beverages increase pressure on the stomach. When they are in the stomach, they produce many air bubbles that push the gas back up the esophagus. This gas will pull both food and acid. High levels of caffeine also increase the amount of acid in the stomach. For those reasons, patients with acid reflux should not drink carbonated beverages and caffeine drinks.
Does Spicy Food Cause Heartburn
Is spice the most common heartburn trigger? It certainly has a reputation for sparking classic heartburn and indigestion symptoms but are hot wings, curry or salsa dip causing that uncomfortable fire in your chest? The jury is still out. We know many spicy dishes contain capsaicin, a compound found in chilies. Capsaicin is thought to slow the rate of digestion, leaving food sitting for longer in your stomach which is more likely to lead to heartburn symptoms.1
Cayenne, curry powder, cloves, and black pepper can cause acid reflux2. It may not be the spices themselves that are the problem, however, but more the dishes that they are part of or possibly a combination of both. Spicy salsa, for example, also contains acidic tomatoes and onions. A fiery curry could include high-fat ghee, cream, and red meat such as lamb. If spicy dishes trigger your heartburn, neutralize stomach acid immediately after eating by taking an antacid such as TUMS.
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