The Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) occurs when the stomach acids travel via the esophagus in the reverse direction to the throat and mouth. This acid reflux causes heartburn in most people. An acidic taste in the mouth, bad breath, belching, chest pain or tightness in the chest, coughing, nausea, pain in the upper abdominal region, regurgitation, respiratory problems, sore throat, wearing away of the teeth, and vomiting are a few symptoms of GERD.
This chronic digestive disease can be kept at bay by carefully choosing the food you eat. Also, certain foods must be avoided to prevent further damage and irritation to the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is already weakened. The fragile LES connecting the esophagus and stomach relaxes, allowing stomach acids to resurface in the esophagus causing acid reflux. Changing the type of food you eat, portion control, scheduling your meals systematically, and maintaining proper posture while and after eating food, all of these help in managing the symptoms of the gastroesophageal reflux disease. Here are a few recommendations about the foods that can be consumed and those that can be avoided to prevent and/or relieve the symptoms of GERD.
Avoid the following foods:
- Deep fried nuts, chips, french fries, and onion rings
- Full-fat dairy products such as whole milk, cheese, butter, cream sauces, creamy salad dressings, and dips
- Desserts rich in sugar like ice cream and cakes
- Citrus fruits like pineapple, orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, and their juices
- Tomato and products that contain tomatoes such as tomato sauce, ketchup, pizzas, and salsa
- Vegetables like garlic and onion
- Herbs such as mint, peppermint, and spearmint
- All types of processed foods loaded with chemical preservatives, saturated fats, and trans fats such as biscuits, croissants, doughnuts, or sweet rolls
- Spicy foods
- Alcoholic drinks and carbonated beverages
- Iron and potassium supplements, aspirin and other such pain relievers, alpha-blockers, and calcium channel blockers used to treat high blood pressure, tricyclic anti-depressants, respiratory disease medications like theophylline and even the long-term use of antacids.
Try to include these foods:
- Whole grain bread and whole grain rice
- Reduced fat, low fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream
- Healthy unsaturated fats like olive oil, sesame oil, and sunflower oil
- Non-dairy options like soy or almond milk
- Baked foods such as plain bread or rolls, pancakes, waffles, bagels, and muffins
- Fresh, frozen, or canned fruit or juices that do not belong to the citrus family like melons, bananas, apples, and pears
- Vegetables rich in fiber and vitamins like green beans, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, leafy greens, cucumbers, ginger, and avocados
- Snacks like crackers, pretzels, tortillas, or hummus
It is important for you to remember each person responds differently to different foods. So observe and check which foods exacerbate the symptoms of GERD and personalize your meal plans.
Be smart with your food habits. Consult your doctor to make the right decisions if you are on medications or suffer from other health problems.