What to eat with GERD

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The gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) diet is an important part of treatment for both recurrent heartburn (also known as acid reflux) and GERD, which is a more chronic condition.

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The diet aims to eliminate foods that reduce lower esophageal sphincter (LES) pressure, delay gastric emptying, and increase gastric acidity, increasing the risk of stomach acid entering the esophagus.

There is no one-size-fits-all diet for GERD, so it is important to experiment with your diet to identify and eliminate foods that cause a burning sensation in your chest or throat.

Avoid this if you have GERD

Advantage

GERD occurs when the sphincter muscle in the lower esophagus becomes weak and remains too relaxed, although it shouldn't. This allows stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus and cause persistent symptoms such as heartburn, coughing, and difficulty swallowing.

In more severe cases, GERD can cause vomiting , breathing problems, narrowing of the esophagus, and an increased risk of esophageal cancer . GERD helps the lower esophageal sphincter muscles work better and stay closed after eating, so you have fewer problems.

To accomplish this, the GERD diet focuses on avoiding foods that research shows are most likely to cause reflux and its symptoms. These are mostly acidic and / or high-fat foods ( however, keep in mind that avoiding trigger foods may not completely prevent GERD symptoms).

In addition to increasing stomach acid, high-fat foods delay gastric emptying and cause the muscles in the lower esophagus to relax, leading to acid reflux. Highly acidic foods can be especially irritating to the stomach and esophagus. It is also recommended to increase the amount of fiber.

In a study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, people with heartburn who ate a low-fiber diet received 15 grams of psyllium fiber per day. After starting extra fiber, they increased esophageal sphincter pressure, decreased acid maintenance, and decreased heartburn symptoms .

A 2016 study published in Diseases of the Esophagus found that eating a Mediterranean diet was associated with a lower risk of GERD. This makes sense because the Mediterranean diet is known to be less fatty meats and processed foods and more in seafood, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

In addition to improving symptoms, eating this way can lead to weight loss. Being overweight puts you at a much higher risk for GERD, and many studies have shown that losing weight is one of the best strategies for preventing this condition.

Losing weight by just 10% improves GERD symptoms and often allows people to stop taking acid blockers (with doctor's approval) .

Both the National Institutes of Health and the American College of Gastroenterology recommend a diet for the treatment of GERD.

How does it work

The GERD diet helps:

  • Avoid foods and drinks that make heartburn worse.
  • Choose more foods that can help control stomach acid production
  • Establish eating habits that can reduce your symptoms.
  • Include a balanced variety of healthy, nutrient-dense foods to help you maintain a healthy weight.

This is accomplished primarily through food choices, although meal size and timing do matter.

Duration

If you have chronic GERD and frequent heartburn, you can benefit from a GERD diet if you stick with it for a long time. Even if you experience symptoms infrequently, becoming familiar with and closely monitoring your consumption of provocative foods can help you prevent symptoms.

What is it

Compatible Products

  • Fruit (with some exceptions)

  • Vegetables (with some exceptions)

  • Whole and split grains

  • Low-fat dairy or non-dairy products

  • Lean meats (eg, lean beef, skinless chicken, shellfish)

  • Whole-grain soy foods (like tofu or tempeh)

  • Lentils, chickpeas and other legumes.

  • Nuts, peanut butter, and seeds

  • Healthy fats like olive oil and avocado (in moderation)

  • Herbal teas

  • The mildest herbs, spices and condiments.

  • Banana fiber supplements

Incompatible products

  • Citrus

  • Tomatoes and tomato products

  • Chilli Peppers

  • Very spicy food (such as Mexican, Thai, or Indian)

  • Fatty or fatty fried foods

  • Peppermint or spearmint

  • Chocolate

  • Strong spices like chili powder, cayenne pepper, cinnamon

  • Any other food that bothers you frequently, such as vinegar, onion, or garlic.

  • Carbonated drinks

  • Coffee, mint tea

  • Alcohol

The GERD diet should be tailored to your taste preferences, but focus on foods low in acids and fats and prone to irritation. In addition to choosing the most appropriate foods and eliminating or reducing inappropriate foods, it is important to keep track of your portions, especially if you are overweight.

Fruits : citrus fruits such as oranges or grapefruits, and in some people pineapples can cause reflux due to their acidity. All other fruits are good choices if they don't agree with you.

Vegetables : Avoid tomatoes, ketchup, and hot peppers, and be aware that some people experience increased GERD symptoms after eating onions or garlic. All other vegetables are good choices and can help increase fiber.

To increase your fiber intake, fill half of each plate (meals and snacks) with a variety of GERD-approved fruits and vegetables.

Whole and shredded grains : Oats, brown rice, quinoa, farro, 100% whole wheat, wheat bran, and all other whole grains are good sources of fiber. Eat a small portion with each meal.

Dairy : Limit intake of whole milk, cream, ice cream, and full-fat yogurt. Dairy products can increase stomach acidity, while high-fat foods can relax the muscles of the esophageal sphincter. Instead, choose small servings of low-fat or non-dairy dairy products.

Meat : Avoid fatty and highly seasoned meats like bacon, hot dogs, hot dogs, hamburgers, fried chicken, salami, pastrami, pepperoni, and more. Choose lean cuts of beef or pork, poultry without skin, and seafood.

Fats : Use healthy fats in moderation, like olive oil and avocados. Avoid fried foods like French fries, fatty foods, or fatty meat sauces.

Spices, herbs, and seasonings : Stick with fresh or dried herbs like basil, parsley, oregano, or thyme, and avoid strong / hot spices like cinnamon, curry powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper, or hot peppers. Peppermint, especially peppermint, can be a trigger for many people.

Chocolate : Chocolate increases the acidity of the stomach, so it is best to avoid sweets, desserts and baked goods that contain it (this also applies to real hot chocolate) .

Drinks : Tap water or water with fruit flavors or decaffeinated herbal teas can be soothing. Avoid peppermint or peppermint, but licorice or fennel tea can help calm heartburn and heal the lining of the esophagus if it is irritated.

Avoid coffee and alcohol, which increase acidity and irritate the stomach and esophagus. Many people also find carbonated beverages unpleasant, whether they contain caffeine or not, so stay away from them as well.

Recommended time

The most important meal to include at the right time is dinner. Try to eat dinner at least two to three hours before bedtime, don't snack late at night, and stay upright until you go to bed. Gravity will help you digest food faster and reduce the likelihood of food and stomach acid pressing on the lower esophagus as you try to sleep.

It is not necessary to schedule early meals or eat on a schedule, but it is important to eat small meals rather than large ones. Heavy meals produce more gastric juice, take longer to digest, and put extra pressure on the lower esophagus, increasing the likelihood of heartburn.

Instead of eating three large meals, you may feel better by eating five small meals and arranging them so that they are digested before eating them again.

Cooking tips

For healthier foods, fewer calories, and less fat, use healthy cooking methods like braising, broiling, baking, stewing, or baking. Avoid deep frying. If you are looking for the crispy crust of fried foods, try a deep fryer that uses very little oil.

Fill your pantry or refrigerator with the spices mentioned above so they are ready to replace hot spices, onions, and garlic.

Considerations

Flexibility

With the exception of foods to avoid, the GERD diet can and should be very flexible. It's important that this and any diet fits your lifestyle, so feel free to include more foods that you enjoy and pay attention to how they affect your symptoms.

Experiment with new foods and flavors to replace whatever is missing. The GERD diet can simply open up a whole new and healthier way to eat.

General health

In fact, the GERD diet is a very good diet for everyone because it emphasizes more high-fiber foods, less fatty foods, and smaller portions of food, all of which can help you maintain a healthier weight.

Its emphasis on a Mediterranean, high-fiber diet is in line with the USDA Diet Guidelines for 2020-2025 established by the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture .

Support and community

You may find it difficult to follow the GERD diet if you are traveling and have a nutritional disability, or if your friends or family especially like pepperoni pizza or Thai noodles. If you're not cooking for yourself, it can help to talk with friends and family about your dietary goals and plan ahead for what to eat.

Get the word of drug information

Products on the "safe" list may not be the same for everyone. You can also tolerate foods that other people should avoid. Ultimately, you will need to approach your diet in a structured way for at least a couple of weeks, keeping a food diary to record which foods seem to improve or aggravate your symptoms.

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