A digestive disorder in which the stomach contents regularly move back up the food pipe, Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) affects about 20 percent of Americans and can result in uncomfortable symptoms, including heartburn and pain in the upper abdomen.
Until recently, researchers did not fully understand GERD, and there was a lack of scientific evidence to suggest that changing the diet could improve symptoms.However, recent research now suggests that eating certain foods appear to aggravate the symptoms of GERD, while other foods may reduce the frequencyof symptoms.
Here’s what to know about the do’s and don’ts of what to eat and what to eliminate while living with GERD.
Foods to Avoid When You Have GERD
- Milk and other dairy products
- Greasy, fatty foods, including cheese, processed lunch meats and fried foods
- Acidic Drinks such as coffee and orange juice
- Spicy foods, such as those made with cayenne, cinnamon, chili pepper, hot sauce, etc. can sometimes aggravate GERD symptoms
- Tomato-based foods
- Chocolate is not recommended for those with GERD due to its high levels of fat and caffeine
- Refined packaged snacks like chip, crackers, cereal bars, etc.
Food to Add to Your GERD Diet
- Lean Protein, such as salmon, grass-fed lean meats, pasture raised poultry, andyogurt
- Fruits high in fiber, magnesium, and potassium, especially berries, apples, pears, melons, peaches, and bananas
- A variety of fresh vegetables, especially leafy greens, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, asparagus, green beans, peas, and cucumber is known help curb GERD symptoms
- Healthy fats like avocado and coconut oil, seeds like chia and flax
Other Tips for Following a GERD Diet and Lifestyle
- Don’t Eat Before Bed: Because lying down soon after eating can worsen GERD symptoms for many people, try to eat several hours before going to sleep for the night.
- Stay Hydrated: Some studies suggest that drinking water helps lower GERD symptoms and improve digestion overall.
- Avoid Large Meals: Eating smaller meals throughout the day, rather than eating 1-3 larger meals may help you avoid overeating, which can trigger release of more stomach acid. Also, make sure to chew your food thoroughly before swallowing to help aid digestion.