What foods are good for acid reflux? Before answering this question, let’s understand what acid reflux is and how to identify acid reflux symptoms and deal with them.
Ever experienced a sour and acidic taste at the back of your throat, similar to the fizziness after the consumption of carbonated beverages? Or remember the feeling of heartburn after a large meal late at night? The regurgitation of food, especially at night, can be the aftereffect of acid production in the stomach that is not neutralized.
1. What is Acid reflux or GERD?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a medical condition where stomach acid travels upward from the stomach and into the esophagus, according to the University of Kansas Health System.
Anyone can suffer from heartburn or acid reflux. However, GERD is diagnosed in the case of frequent acid reflux and gastrointestinal disorders. The lower esophageal sphincter, located at the end of the esophagus or the food pipe, is responsible for restricting food and liquid from staying in the stomach after swallowing.
For someone with GERD symptoms, the sphincter opens, and this leads to the escape of the food along with the released stomach acid and other gastric contents to go back upwards into the esophagus. Therefore, these factors trigger acid reflux.
Currently, the best method for the detection of gastroesophageal reflux disease is ambulatory pH monitoring. However, pH electrodes are also able to measure acid reflux.
2. Symptoms of GERD or Acid Reflux
How do you identify that your symptoms are the signs of your digestive tract going through acid reflux? Listed below are a few of the symptoms :
Aspiration, or the food getting stuck in the airway or the wrong way, when the regurgitated food rises from the esophagus to travel to the trachea or the windpipe.
Hoarseness or cough with a bitter or sour taste.
2.3. Dental Problems
Dental problems are caused by the erosion of the protective enamel of the teeth when the acid from the stomach enters the mouth.
2.4. Swallowing Problem
Difficulty in swallowing is a result of scarring of tissue lining the walls of the food pipe, which becomes damaged by the acidic bolus.
2.5. Burning Sensation And Burping
Frequent heartburn or a burning sensation, or a stinging feeling in the middle of the chest. Frequent burping that smells.
2.6. Stomach Issues
Regurgitation of food and gastric juices, especially at night or after a heavy meal, pain in the upper abdomen, even nausea with vomiting, and volatile intestinal gas.
2.7 Bad Breath
Bad breath due to the microbial activity in the gastric content.
3. Who Can Experience Acid Reflux or Heartburn Symptoms?
Anyone can experience acid reflux. However, it is more common in certain cases, as listed below:
Being overweight or obese can trigger reflux symptoms.
Pregnant women can suffer from acid reflux due to hormonal changes as the growing baby develops in her womb.
Smoking or the consumption of tobacco can cause heartburn. People who are regularly exposed to smoke, as a consequence of their lifestyle or career, are more prone to be diagnosed with GERD.
3.4. Some Medications
Taking certain medications like antibiotics, such as tetracycline and clindamycin, may cause acid reflux.
4. Foods That May Cause Heartburn
The following foods are to be watched out for to reduce symptoms and prevent acid reflux are:
Vegetables like onions, tomatoes, and peppers as they are acidic foods.
4.2. Fried Or Processed foods
Processed foods like potato chips and other packaged snacks
4.3. Fatty Foods
Dairy products. Certain foods delay the process of stomach emptying as they are difficult to digest, like fatty meats such as bacon and sausage. Saturated fats like cheese or butter.
Chili powder and certain packaged spices. Spicy foods in your dietary intake can worsen symptoms.
Any carbonated beverage or caffeinated beverages.
5. GERD Diet: What Foods Help with Acid Reflux?
Certain foods help to prevent acid reflux or keep it in check. Listed below are a few of the many categories of such foods.
5.1. Fiber-Enriched Diet Helps the Digestive System
Whole grains are rich in fiber. For instance, couscous, brown rice, and oatmeal.
Root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots, and beets are packed with healthy complex carbs.
The digestible fiber in green vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, herbs, and green beans helps to control symptoms.
5.2. Lean Meats And Seafood
Lean protein food sources like turkey and chicken
Seafood and fish such as salmon are packed with vitamins and are healthy to alleviate acid reflux.
5.3. Natural Licorice
Licorice may be effective in alleviating symptoms of GERD as it is used as an ailment for digestive diseases. Avoid candies with mild licorice flavor and go for the natural ones for good results.
5.4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Drinking apple cider vinegar with water or honey before a meal gives your stomach a probiotic boost and reduces the harmful microbial activity in your stomach. Thus, this diminishes the chances of potential acid reflux.
Tofu is not only low-fat but also rich in protein, and served in specific ways that can be good for an upset stomach.
Ginger tea or ginger added to dishes serves as an excellent remedy for indigestion and acid reflux. It also reduces inflammation.
5.7. Chewing Gum
Chewing gum after a heavy meal causes the production of more saliva, which allows you to swallow more frequently and enables the stomach acid to be flushed out. Also, it is excellent for a sexy jawline. However, it is better to choose non-flavored chewing gum.
5.8. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea is a delicious replacement for caffeinated beverages, which cause acid reflux. Chamomile tea is not only soothing but also helps with stress.
High in potassium, bananas can form a crucial part of your GERD diet. They help neutralize stomach acid and, thus, will protect you from the risk of acid reflux.
5.10. Alkaline Foods
Foods that with higher pH levels help to neutralize the lower pH level of gastric acid. These foods are alkaline. For instance, melons, nuts, and cauliflowers.
5.11. Fermented Foods
Fermented foods like raw kimchi, yogurt, and pickles are rich in probiotics, which improve your gut health.
6. Habits That Can Help With GERD
Making changes to your lifestyle and habits along with your diet can help you to prevent any chance of heartburn or acid reflux.
Listed below are a few of the tips:
Chew your food thoroughly so that the food is broken down into tiny particles that will be easier for your stomach acid to work on.
Go for a brisk walk after your meal to aid digestion.
Eat your food without rushing, as it can risk food getting stuck in your windpipe due to carelessness.
Maintain a proper sleep schedule, which ensures that you have at least 7-8 hours of sleep.
Avoid alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, and drugs.
Try to reduce or manage the sources of stress.
Obesity increases the risk of potential heartburn. Try to maintain a healthy weight.
Eat smaller meals throughout the day.
Avoid sitting or lying down for 2 hours immediately after your meal.
Avoid late-night snacks, especially if they are greasy or fried.
Increase the amount of fiber in your diet.
Have fresh fruit every day.
Stay hydrated throughout the day.
- Avoid eating or drinking while walking.
Try to refrain from talking or laughing while having your meals, as it results in choking.
Avoid wearing clothes that are too tight, especially around your stomach and hips.
Do not avoid the signs and symptoms of prolonged or extremely painful acid reflux. Seek professional help.
7. How a Doctor Can Help?
If you experience an extreme or prolonged period of heartburn, it is time to see a gastroenterologist, a doctor who specializes in the digestive system. The doctor will perform tests to measure the acid level in your stomach and check for a damaged esophagus.
Luckily, heartburn can usually be treated with over-the-counter medications (OTC) heartburn or acid indigestion drugs prescribed by your respective physician or doctor.
However, if OCT drugs are not enough, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), taken in pill form, can be taken as a part of prescription medications. They reduce the production of stomach acid and will bring relief for up to 24 hours.
In recent years, multichannel intraluminal electrical impedance (MII) has been recognized as a new technique for pH-independent detection of gastroesophageal reflux disease. This technology is based on changes in electrical impedance recorded in the esophageal lumen during the passage of a mass of chewed food with liquid, also known as the bolus.
Your body is a wonder. All the cells in your body are creating, transforming, and dying every day to make sure that you are functioning properly. Each biological process in your body is a highly complex coordination of innumerable nerves, muscles, and other significant parts.
You can help to maintain your body by taking responsibility for your diet and lifestyle. Your habits make a huge difference in your overall health and state of mind. A healthy life is a happy life.
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