Maintaining a healthy diet can go a long way in mitigating the symptoms of acid reflux.
Many people think a healthy diet is by far the best way to fight reflux, as instead of treating the symptoms, a proper diet might help to eliminate the root cause of the problem.
The reason for this is that acid reflux is usually triggered by the food you eat and the way you eat it (too much, too fast)
How foods can trigger or reduce acid reflux?
After eating a full meal, you may develop a burning sensation in your chest or stomach. Usually certain foods trigger this burning sensation.
Such foods might include nuts, cheese, pizza, avocados, chocolate, spicy foods, onions, and salt. Beverages and drinks, too, can trigger acid reflux. They include orange juice, grapefruit juice, alcohol, red wine, coffee, and caffeinated drinks.
The question is, how can food trigger acid reflux? As you already know, stomach acid cannot escape into the esophagus. This is because of a barrier referred to as the lower esophageal sphincter or LES. LES is a ring-like muscle that remains closed naturally and only opens when you belch or swallow foods.
For people who experience acid reflux regularly, this muscle gets weak.
When you consume a lot of food, your stomach stretches. This causes you to feel stuffed. When your stomach stretches, a lot of pressure is on the LES and stomach acid/juices from your last meal might move in the wrong direction – towards the esophagus.
If you consume food rich in fat or grease, your stomach produces more acid. This is because high-fat foods sit in your belly for longer.
- Greasy and fatty foods lead to a relaxed LES. This means not only will your stomach contents regurgitate back up your throat, but you will experience more acid refluxes.
- Like fatty foods, sugar can also trigger acid reflux. Sugar causes a buildup of gas in the upper intestine. Not only can this cause acid reflux, but it can trigger bloating and stomach ache. Also, sugar is not easily digested in the body, and this can make your stomach unhappy.
- Certain types of drinks can also trigger reflux. You might have to avoid drinking alcohol and coffee if you experience reflux too often. Because of their high sugar content, soft drinks should also be avoided.
Which foods to eat to relieve acid reflux?
Now that you know how foods can trigger acid reflux, let’s delve into how food can reduce acid reflux.
Food rich in dietary fiber, low in fat and sugar reduces acid reflux. Also, foods rich in anti-inflammatory properties and healthy fats reduce acid reflux too.
Dietary fiber has many health benefits, it is low in acid and increases metabolism. This is also true when it comes to foods rich in anti-inflammatory properties, low in fat and sugar.
When you eat such foods, your body will not produce a lot of stomach acid. As such, your body will be able to control or stop acid reflux.
Research shows that of the 60 million adult Americans who experience acid reflux regularly, 60% choose over the counter medication. A majority of people do not consult a physician when they have acid reflux. If they did, the physician would probably suggest lots of food to eat to relieve acid reflux.
Here are some of the best foods for acid reflux:
- Melons and bananas: These fruits are naturally low in acid. As such, they help to reduce reflux in the body. Both bananas and melons, which include cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon, are always handy as a snack. What you need to know is that they are also rich in dietary fiber, choline, Vitamin C, and potassium.
- Whole grain bread: Rich in dietary fiber, it’s made with unprocessed grains. As such, it’s also low in acidic content like melons and bananas.
- Green vegetables: Green vegetables like spinach, kales, broccoli, and celery are low in fat, sugar and acid. They are also rich in minerals such as potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Don’t forget essential vitamins such as vitamins K, C, E, and B, among others.
- Oatmeal: If you want to start your morning with a power breakfast, oatmeal is highly recommended. Even when mixed with fruits such as bananas and strawberries, it’s packed with dietary fiber and helps to reduce acid reflux. Since the dietary fiber does not contain FODMAPs, it will not cause belching too.
- Potatoes and Grains : A 2013 study found that a high intake of potatoes and grains reduces the risk of acid reflux. The study involved 268 patients newly diagnosed with reflux esophagitis. What the researchers discovered is that potatoes, grains, and eggs help to reduce acid reflux.
Acid reflux affects millions of people around the world. Eating foods such as garlic, raw onions, nuts, and cheese can trigger acid reflux. This is because the foods relax the lower esophageal sphincter allowing food and stomach acid to go up the esophagus.
To reduce acid reflux, avoid the foods above. Instead, eat and drink milk, bananas, melons, oatmeal, potatoes, grains, lean beef, chicken, fish, and green vegetables. If the symptoms persist, consult your physician.