Just A Few Dietary Tweaks Can Ease Your Discomfort
by Shelley Emling, AARP, July 28, 2017| 0
En español | Heartburn is a condition that many people will experience at least once in their lifetime. More than just a minor nuisance, this uncomfortable burning sensation can sometimes creep up into your throat leaving an unpleasantly bitter taste. The pain caused by heartburn can range from mild to so severe that its sometimes mistaken for heart attack pain.
And heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux, which occurs when stomach acid flows back up into your esophagus the tube that connects the throat and stomach. In some cases, acid reflux progresses to gastroesophageal reflux disease , or a more serious form of reflux. Common signs of GERD include frequent heartburn, coughing, wheezing, chest pain and regurgitation particularly at night.
While over-the-counter and prescription medicines are available, lifestyle changes can sometimes help those with only occasional acid reflux. The Mayo Clinic advises losing excess weight, eating smaller meals, and avoiding alcohol and nicotine. But dietary tweaks also can be key when trying to alleviate symptoms.
Here are five foods to try.
2. Melons. Like bananas, melons also are a highly alkaline fruit. They are a good source of magnesium, which is found in many medicines for acid reflux. Furthermore, melons have a pH of 6.1, making them only mildly acidic. Especially good are cantaloupe and honeydew melon.
Holistic Dietary Strategies For Gerd
A comprehensive GERD treatment plan must consider additional factors beyond basic dietary changes.
For many people with digestive issues, restoring balance to the bacterial flora in the intestines may be beneficial. Eating fermented and pre-biotic foods might help to achieve this.
People call the bacteria in these foods probiotics. Probiotics may reduce digestive issues by balancing the digestive system as a whole. Prebiotics are foods that are rich in fibers that selectively grow beneficial bacteria.
Foods that contain natural probiotics include:
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What Are The Main Symptoms Of Gerd
The main symptoms are persistent heartburn and acid regurgitation. Some people have GERD without heartburn. Instead, they experience pain in the chest, hoarseness in the morning or trouble swallowing. You may feel like you have food stuck in your throat, or like you are choking or your throat is tight. GERD can also cause a dry cough and bad breath.
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Best Foods For Acid Reflux
A diet balanced with vegetables, protein and fruits is best, Dr. Khaitan says. Examples of the best foods for acid reflux include:
- Chicken breast Be sure to remove the fatty skin. Skip fried and instead choose baked, broiled or grilled.
- Lettuce, celery and sweet peppers These mild green veggies are easy on the stomach and wont cause painful gas.
- Brown rice This complex carbohydrate is mild and filling just dont serve it fried.
- Melons Watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew are all low-acid fruits that are among the best foods for acid reflux.
- Oatmeal Filling, hearty and healthy, this comforting breakfast standard also works for lunch.
- Fennel This low-acid crunchy vegetable has a mild licorice flavor and a natural soothing effect.
- Ginger Steep caffeine-free ginger tea or chew on low-sugar dried ginger for a natural tummy tamer.
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Heartburn And Garlic And Onion
Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, says, “Some people with heartburn do not do well with either garlic or onion.” Taub-Dix, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, is a nutritionist in private practice in New York City and Woodmere, N.Y. “It’s all very individual,” she says. For avoiding heartburn, she offers the following suggestion: “Keep a food log to help you track the foods that are your heartburn offenders, and try to develop a list of safe foods.” Foods like broiled chicken, baked sweet potatoes, toast, or cottage cheese, she says, are on the safe side of the heartburn food list.
What Is Acid Reflux
Our stomachs begin to churn our food and secrete enzymes that break down proteins. The stomach is very acidic, because it needs to be to do its job. When you have acid reflux, some of the contents in our stomachs splashes up into the esophagus. Since the esophagus is more delicate tissue and doesnt have the strong lining our stomachs do, we experience the pain and discomfort.
Many people commonly think that acid reflux is caused by too much stomach acid. Often, its the opposite. Our digestive process is a cascade, beginning in the mouth and ending with pooping. Between the stomach and the esophagus, there is a sphincter that opens when the stomach is ready to receive food. When there isnt enough stomach acid, that sphincter may become weak, allowing food to splash up. Also, undigested food fermenting in the stomach may cause bloating and gas, which puts pressure on the sphincter so we can burp another opportunity for stomach acid to burn the esophagus.
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Are Overnight Oats Alkaline
Overnight oats have been soaked in liquid, usually a type of milk or yogurt. Most overnight oats recipes incorporate the addition of fruits, nuts or nut butter, seeds, cacao, or even chocolate. Tasty, definitely, but often not a very alkaline meal choice.
Overnight oats are high in carbohydrates and can also be high in sugars and fats, all steering them towards the acidic end of the food spectrum.
What Is The Ph Of Oatmeal
Oatmeal, which is essentially cooked oats, has a pH level of between 6.2 to 6.6. This places it in the acidic range but only slightly so. By comparison, water, which scores a perfectly neutral pH level, sits at a pH of 7. Any food item with a pH less than water is considered acidic while those with a pH exceeding 7 are classed as alkaline.
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Heartburn Triggers: Heartburn And Diet
A number of foods and drinks can cause the LES to relax. Food and drinks that commonly trigger heartburn include:
- alcohol, particularly red wine
- citrus fruits and products, such as lemons, oranges and orange juice
- coffee and caffeinated drinks, including tea and soda
However, unless these foods are causing you heartburn you don’t have to avoid them. To prevent heartburn after meals:
- Don’t overeat. Eat five or six small meals each day, instead of several large meals.
- Don’t eat before bedtime. Allow 2 hours to digest your food before lying down. This allows time for the food to pass out of the stomach and into the small intestine, rather than having it back up into the esophagus. Lying down makes digestion difficult and makes heartburn more likely.
Acid Reflux Diet: Best Foods Foods To Avoid & Supplements That Help
More than one-third of the population suffers from some sort of recurring, painful digestive symptom, disorder or disease. For example, these include hemorrhoids, IBS, Crohns, gluten intolerance or celiac disease, heartburn or acid reflux. Many other chronic conditions, including some that are caused mainly by a weakened immune system, are also linked to poor digestive health.
What does acid reflux, or related issues like heartburn and GERD, feel like? Symptoms that are shared by all three include: chest pains, burning sensations that can pick up at night and disturb your sleep, and difficulty eating many foods.
If you experience any of these acid reflux symptoms and want to find some relief, you must improve your diet and make necessary lifestyle changes. These changes include rethinking how you sleep and even manage stress. Also, I recommend considering remedies like adding acid refluxfighting supplements to your diet, exercising, cutting out caffeine and too much alcohol, and potentially losing weight.
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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:
Foods That May Help Relieve Heartburn
While many foods can make your heartburn worse, there are several foods that may help relieve symptoms.
Here are some foods that may help relieve heartburn:
- Ginger: This is a natural remedy for nausea and vomiting. While there is limited evidence about gingers effects on heartburn, it may help reduce reflux (
- 41 ).
Summary While many foods can make your heartburn symptoms worse, there are plenty of foods that may ease heartburn symptoms. These include ginger, bananas and melons, veggies, oatmeal, grains and potatoes.
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Foods That Help Acid Reflux
More Foods To Soothe Heartburn
Other foods and herbs have long been treatments for reflux and upset stomach. But keep in mind that while they may provide relief for some, they wont work for everyone, says gastroenterologist Jay Kuemmerle, MD, of Virginia Commonwealth University. You might want to try:
- Fennel. This crunchy vegetable with a licorice flavor makes a great addition to salads. Theres some evidence that fennel can improve your digestion. It has a pH of 6.9, so its low in acid, too.
- Ginger. A long-standing natural treatment for upset stomach, ginger does seem to have benefits for reflux.
- Parsley. That sprig of parsley on your plate isnt only for decoration. Parsley has been a traditional treatment for upset stomach for hundreds of years. And theres some evidence that it can help with acid reflux.
- Aloe vera. This is another old treatment for GI problems that seems to help with reflux. You can buy aloe vera as a plant or as a supplement in capsules, juices, and other forms. It works as a thickener in recipes.Just make sure itâs free of anthraquinones , which can be irritating to the digestive system.
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Pass On Greasy Fatty Foods
Fried, greasy, and fatty foods can all cause heartburn and lead to reflux because they prevent the lower esophageal sphincter from fully tightening this creates an opening for stomach acids to flow upward. Greasy, heavier foods are also harder to digest so the stomach empties more slowly, which can trigger heartburn. And eating too much fried and high-fat foods increases your risk of obesity, which in turn increases the chances of experiencing uncomfortable acid reflux.
Foods To Avoid On The Gerd/acid Reflux Diet
As mentioned briefly above, certain foods are known to cause acid reflux symptoms more than others. These foods, which are said to fan the flames of acid reflux, include meaty foods, fast food, processed cheeses, chocolate, alcohol and caffeine.
Here are foods to avoid that commonly make acid reflux symptoms worse:
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Is Oatmeal Acidic Or Alkaline
Oatmeal sits within the acidic range of food products which is also a basic answer as to why it may cause you heartburn. Acid-forming foods can upset the digestive tract by loosening the muscles intended to keep the acids in the stomach and instead allowing them to travel the wrong way into the esophagus and mouth.
Alkaline foods by contrast help to regulate the Ph levels in the body and generally have a soothing effect on digestive function. The extent to which the oatmeal you consume is acidic or alkaline will also depend upon what you accompany it with.
Natural Treatments For Acid Reflux
When I was younger, I always wondered what could be done to prevent heartburn or acid reflux. I kept up with my diet, always exercised, never ate too fast, yet there were times when I still experienced heartburn. Fortunately, I came across some natural remedies that seemed to do the trickand still do to this day!
Here are some of my effective natural home remedies to eliminate heartburn and acid reflux:
1. Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar: It may seem contradictory, but having too little acid in the stomach can also cause acid reflux. If this is the case for you, consuming just one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed in a large glass of water may be all you need to say goodbye to acid reflux.
2. Himalayan Sea Salt: Again, if your stomach needs some help boosting its hydrochloric acid levels, a high-quality sea salt like Himalayan sea salt is effective in providing the chloride your body needs to make stomach acid. Sauerkraut can also do the trick.
3. Baking Soda: One of the most effective ways to cure acid reflux is to neutralize the stomach acid. You can do just that by consuming one tablespoon of baking soda in an eight-ounce glass of water.
4. Aloe Juice: Acid reflux and heartburn naturally causes inflammation in the chest and throat. By consuming aloe juice, derived from the aloe vera plant, it will act as an anti-inflammatory and reduce the inflammation, easing the pain of acid reflux.
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Foods That Can Cause Heartburn
Heartburn affects more than 60 million Americans every month .
It is best described as a painful, burning sensation that occurs in the lower chest area.
Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux, a condition where stomach acid escapes into the esophagus, the tube that delivers food and beverages to your stomach.
Normally, stomach acid cannot escape into the esophagus because of a barrier called the lower esophageal sphincter. This is a ring-like muscle that naturally stays closed, and normally only opens when you swallow or belch .
However, in people with acid reflux, this muscle is often weakened. This is one reason why people with acid reflux experience heartburn .
Diet plays an important role in heartburn. Many foods can relax the lower esophageal sphincter, which allows food to escape into the esophagus and cause heartburn.
Here are 11 foods that can cause heartburn.
Tomatoes And Citrus Fruit
Fruits and vegetables are important in a healthy diet. But certain fruits can cause or worsen GERD symptoms, especially highly acidic fruits. If you have frequent acid reflux, you should reduce or eliminate your intake of the following foods:
- tomato sauce or foods that use it, such as pizza and chili
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How You Can Relieve Acid Reflux Symptoms By Eating Or Avoiding Certain Foods
To help you minimize those uncomfortable acid reflux symptoms, we spoke with registered dietitians Cynthia Sass, MPH, MA, RD, CSSD, Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD, and author of The No-Brainer Nutrition Guide For Every Runner, and Dr. Reezwana Chowdhury, MD, an assistant professor of medicine in gastroenterology and hepatology at Johns Hopkins, to compile a list of foods that either cause, alleviate, and/or prevent acid reflux from brewing.
The foods that cause heartburn and that you should avoid when you have acid reflux have a few things in common. Foods that sit in the stomach longer can worsen some of the symptoms listed above, says Dr. Chowdhry. We’ll start with ones to avoid, and then mention quite a few that can help.
Heartburn And Foods: Dos And Don’ts
Heartburn can be triggered by a number of specific foods. Learn simple changes you can make in your diet to avoid the burn.
Common causes of heartburn include being overweight, being pregnant, or having GERD . But what you eat and how even how you eat can also trigger heartburn, or acid reflux. A number of different foods and beverages can cause heartburn by aggravating the tissues that line the esophagus or by affecting the ability of the lower esophageal sphincter to close properly and keep acids in the stomach.
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