When stomach acid reaches the esophagus, it causes irritation and a burning sensation. There are a few foods that will help you ease acid reflux. These foods will not help to cure the acid reflux condition, instead, they soothe your symptoms.
What is acid reflux?
Acid reflux is a very common condition that occurs when acid in the stomach flows back to the esophagus or food pipe. It causes a burning sensation in the lower chest region. This burning sensation is also called heartburn. This normally happens due to weak lower sphincter muscles. A lower sphincter muscle ring is present at the junction of the esophagus and stomach. It prevents the foods from flowing back to the food pipe.
But in some cases due to weak sphincter muscles, food along with acid moves back to the food pipe. It may lead to developing a severe condition, called GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
Foods to eat in acid reflux
Eating the right kind of food is key to reducing the impacts of acid reflux.
Ginger has excellent anti-inflammatory properties. It is good for heartburn and other GI problems. You can add ginger to your diet in many ways. But the best way is to make ginger tea. Chop a medium-sized piece of ginger and add it to water. Boil it for 3-5 minutes. You can also add ginger to your smoothies or eat it raw.
Leafy green vegetables, broccoli, kale, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, potatoes, and cucumbers are the best option to eat during acid reflux. These vegetables are low in sugar and fat content – they will reduce the uneasiness due to acid reflux. When eating potatoes, try to boil them or make mashed potatoes instead of frying them.
Eating whole grains is the best option to avoid and soothe acid reflux. Oatmeal, couscous, and brown rice are rich sources of fiber. Similarly, whole-grain bread, whole grain rice, and other fiber-rich foods are linked to lowering the risk of acid reflux. A diet rich in fiber will help you avoid GERD and soothe your symptoms.
Fruits including bananas, peaches, apples, pears, and melon are excellent choices to consume. Try to avoid citrus or acidic fruits if you have acid reflux.
White meat like fish and chicken is low in fat content. These may reduce the symptoms of acid reflux. Avoid red meat as it has a high-fat content.
Egg whites and healthy fats
Egg whites are low in fat content, so people with acid reflux can consume egg whites. However, avoid yolk as it is rich in fats. Avoiding fats doesn’t mean you should strictly stay away from the fats. You can incorporate healthy fats like avocadoes, olive oil, walnuts, sesame, and sunflower oil into your diet.
Foods to avoid during acid reflux
Although more research is required on which foods trigger acidity – avoiding some foods may help you control the acid reflux symptoms.
- Eating high-fat foods like fries, nuggets, butter, whole milk, cheese, creamy products, sauces, and other fatty products has an impact on sphincter muscles. These high-fat products dilate the sphincters and cause the backward flow of the acid into the esophagus. Eating high-fat products will put you at greater risk of developing acidity, so it is good to avoid them.
- Citrus fruits and vegetables like oranges, grapefruit, lemon, and tomatoes have high acid content. These foods may worsen the symptoms of a person with acid reflux.
- Methylxanthine is found in chocolate. It dilates the sphincter muscles and increases the chances of acid reflux.
- Spicy and sour foods like pickles, garlic, onion, chilies, and other spicy meals may trigger the symptoms of acidity or heartburn in people. It is good to avoid these foods if you have acid reflux.
These are only a few foods that will help you avoid the symptoms of acid reflux. You can add or remove different products from your diet to see which food is working for you and which is not.
Adopting a few lifestyle changes may also help you control the symptoms of heartburn.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Do not overeat and always maintains a healthy weight.
- Eat your food slowly.
- Avoid eating late at night. Finish your meal 4-5 hours before sleeping.
- Do not lay down immediately after eating.
- Avoid wearing tight clothes, especially at night.
- Raise your head by using the pillows to avoid acidity at night.
There is no perfect diet to treat acid reflux. You may try different foods to see which foods trigger reflux in you. Some researchers have suggested the intake of fiber. Avoiding high-fat foods may also soothe the symptoms of acid reflux.
Some people see the results by adopting a few lifestyle changes. It is advisable to talk to your doctor before adding certain foods to your diet. Your doctor will see your symptoms and suggest the diet and medications accordingly.