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Acid Reflux (GERD) Diet: Foods to Eat and Avoid

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A sensation of burning in the chest (heartburn), sour mouth and nausea are all symptoms of acid reflux (GERD).

Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is caused by varying factors. It could be due to too much consumption of foods high in fat, acid, or capsaicin (spicy food) – even stress could cause acid reflux. As a result, the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) that acts like a trapdoor between the esophagus and stomach, fails to close tightly. Stomach acid then leaks backward from the stomach into your esophagus.

If you have GERD, you should watch what you consume as certain foods may cause acid reflux. 

Many people diagnosed with GERD are able to recover because of an improved lifestyle – maintaining a balanced diet and taking medications as prescribed by the doctor.

However, some people with GERD may require medications at higher doses, with some even requiring medical surgery to relieve the symptoms.

It is highly recommended to consult a gastroenterologist regarding the types of foods to eat or to avoid if you have GERD. 

What Should GERD Patients Eat?

There are certain foods that a person with acid reflux (GERD) should not consume. To reduce the possibility of developing GERD symptoms, formulate and adhere to a proper diet by avoiding types of foods that may trigger GERD – for example, high-acid and high-fat foods.

According to gastroenterologist Dr Chua Tju Siang, GERD sufferers should avoid consuming sour or oily foods as they can sometimes trigger GERD symptoms (via Ask a Gastroenterologist: Dr Chau Tju Siang).

Read on to find out which healthy foods are recommended for GERD patients:

Lean Meat 

High-fat foods are one of the foods that can trigger acid reflux symptoms. Therefore, people with GERD are advised to consume lean meat instead, such as skinless chicken breast. You also need to pay attention to how the meat is processed. Instead of eating fried meats, it is better if the meat is boiled, steamed, grilled, or roasted. 

Brown Rice

Brown rice has energizing complex carbohydrates. Although it tastes bland and has a more dense texture, brown rice offers many health benefits. Brown rice is rich in fibre and antioxidants, which can help improve the digestive system, control blood sugar, prevent heart diseases, and provide detoxifying toxins. 

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a popular breakfast choice for many. Besides consuming it for breakfast, oatmeal can also be enjoyed for lunch. Oatmeal contains whole grains, which means it is a good source of fibre. A high-fibre diet can lower the risk of acid reflux. However, it is important to make sure that you consult your doctor before starting the diet. This is done to determine the right diet for your condition. 

Fennel Seeds

Fennel is a plant that is commonly used to treat digestive problems, such as flatulence, gastric, and baby colic. This herbal plant can also relieve upper respiratory tract infections, bronchitis, urinary disorders, and vision problems. Fennel is a low-acid vegetable that has a natural soothing effect.

Ginger

Its anti-inflammatory properties make ginger a natural treatment for digestive problems, including acid reflux. You can create many recipes incorporating ginger – an example is by adding grated or sliced ginger to your tea, which can aid with relieving acid reflux symptoms.

Green Vegetables 

Green vegetables are easy to digest and will not cause excessive amounts of gas in the stomach. Vegetables are natural foods low in fat and low in sugar that can lower the risk of acid reflux. Recommended green vegetables include broccoli, lettuce, celery, bell peppers, asparagus, cauliflower, potatoes, cucumbers, and green beans.

Low-Acid Fruits

Fruits are an excellent source of fibre that also offer a wide range benefits to maintain a healthy body. You can eat low-acid fruits such as melon, watermelon, and cantaloupe. These fruits can help manage acid reflux.

What Foods Should GERD Patients Avoid?

Fried Foods 

All types of fried foods should be avoided. Oil can trigger GERD symptoms. Instead, it is recommended to cook your food via these alternative methods: boiling, steaming, grilling or roasting.

Oranges and Acidic Fruits

Oranges and fruits that are high in acid have a risk of increasing acid reflux. Instead, consume fruits such as melon, cantaloupe or watermelon which do not contain too many acids.

Chocolate and Sugary Treats 

Chocolate contains elements of fat and caffeine may trigger acid reflux. It is best to avoid consuming chocolate and other sugary treats.

Coffee, Tea and Soda

Similar to chocolate, tea and coffee also contain caffeine. While caffeine-free tea is consumable, carbonated beverages are definitely not recommended for people with acid reflux, as soda may cause bubbles in the stomach; eventually triggering acid reflux.

Have questions about acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)? Leave your question in the comment section below.

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