If you frequently experience hot burning in the chest, a feeling of food stuck in your throat or a gassy bloating in the stomach, it’s time to pay attention. These may be signs of gastroesophageal reflux disease, commonly known as acid reflux. Fortunately, an acid reflux diet is a relatively simple and quite effective way to address the issue.
The acid reflux diet has evolved from the days when you couldn’t eat anything or had to eliminate all but the blandest foods. Today, that’s no longer the case. You can still enjoy a filling, hearty, healthy acid reflux diet without compromising taste and quality. However, what you choose to eat can have an impact. So, keep reading to find the best and worst foods for acid reflux.
Understanding the Acid Reflux Diet
Acid reflux occurs when the stomach acid returns to the oesophagus. The backflow of stomach acid will irritate the delicate lining of the oesophagus, resulting in a burning sensation in your chest. If it frequently happens for an extended period, it will eventually lead to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). You can easily manage heartburn and other symptoms by altering the quantity and timing of your meals. Early dietary modification can also allow you to avoid invasive treatments.
An acid reflux diet adds less acidic and more alkaline foods to your eating pattern. While no proven “acid reflux diet” exists, eating more acid-reducing foods can help ease or avoid symptoms. The goal is to design a diet based on diverse food groups, including fruits, veggies, lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
The ICN Note
Following an acid reflux diet does not mean cutting out all your favourite foods. Making simple modifications to your current diet is often enough to help reduce the discomforts of acid reflux. Creating the appropriate diet plan involves discovering what works best for you.
Foods That Help Prevent and Treat Acid Reflux
Nutritionists always suggest that a diet balanced with vegetables, protein and fruits is best. But, sometimes, a little trial and error, or a combination of approaches, may be necessary to find the best foods for acid reflux.
Here are the foods that you can try adding to an acid reflux diet:
Oatmeal and brown rice are two high-fibre whole grain foods that help lessen acid reflux symptoms by absorbing stomach acid.
Vegetables and Fruits
Almost all vegetables and non-citrus foods prevent acidity due to their low fat, low sugar, and high fibre content.
Protein sources such as chicken, seafood, tofu, and egg whites can also ease the symptoms. You can consume them in baked, boiled, poached, or grilled form.
Beans, Peas, Lentils
Beans, peas, and lentils are not only a good source of fibre but also rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals that improve digestion.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are powerhouses of fibre and essential nutrients, aiding stomach acid absorption. It includes almonds, peanuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds.
As an anti-inflammatory food source, ginger is highly beneficial in treating gastrointestinal problems. You can add it to soups, smoothies, and herbal tea.
Consuming yoghurt, a protein-rich source, adds a soothing effect to the damaged oesophagus and supports the digestive tract.
Eating fatty foods can trigger acidity symptoms. However, swapping the unhealthy fats with unsaturated fats like avocados, olive oil, walnuts, and soy products can be good choices for acidity.
Foods that Worsen Acid Reflux
The need to avoid foods that cause acidity is just as vital as the importance of adding certain items to your diet. Examples of foods to reduce or steer clear of in your diet include:
Chocolates are everyone’s favourite, but while following an acid reflux diet, you must stay away from them. Moreover, caffeine, cocoa, and other chemicals in chocolate can trigger heartburn.
Despite its role in soothing bowel problems, peppermint tends to progress the symptoms of GERD.
Long-lasting digestion of fatty foods stimulates the overproduction of stomach acid. In addition, fried foods, meats, and whole milk dairy products can worsen symptoms.
Spicy foods worsen acidity by slowing digestion and irritating the oesophagus more.
Garlic causes heartburn and stomach upset in patients suffering from acid reflux.
Acidic foods and drinks act as triggers for acidity. It includes citrus fruits, juices, tomatoes, pineapple, and others with high acid content.
Onions, especially in raw form, increase acid production and raise the risk of heartburn.
Carbonated Drinks, Caffeine, and Alcohol
Drinking carbonated beverages, caffeine, and alcohol can expand the stomach and push the contents up.
Reference Eating Plan for Acid Reflux Diet
Meal timing can vary from person to person, but eating a full meal three or four hours before bed is not advisable for acid reflux. Likewise, it’s a good idea to avoid lying flat for a minimum of two hours after eating a meal. Then, with proper guidance, it’s time to plan your menu around an acid reflux diet.
Here is a one-day menu plan for your reference:
- Low-fat yoghurt with melon and apple: ½ cup
- Scrambled egg whites: 2
- Whole-grain toast: 1 slice
- Herbal tea: 1 cup
- Plain puffed rice: 1 cup
- Brown rice: ½ cup
- Oven-roasted chicken breast: 1 piece
- Boiled broccoli: ¼ cup
The ICN Note
Coming up with the appropriate diet is highly individualised since not all triggers will affect everyone similarly. Therefore, proper dietary modifications for acid reflux always begin with advice from healthcare professionals.
Benefits of Acid Reflux Diet
Implementing an acid reflux diet has many benefits besides reducing acidity. Here are some advantages of how it contributes to your physical health and overall well-being.
Helps Lose Weight
There is a connection between acid reflux and weight reduction. Since the diet is rich in fibre and protein, it will help you feel fuller for a long time, aiding in healthy weight loss.
Adopting an acid reflux diet will enhance cognitive abilities, profoundly impacting concentration and clear thinking. Moreover, getting rid of acidity will improve mental skills and sleep patterns.
Other Helpful Tips
It’s a good idea to consult your doctor to find the best foods for acid reflux and relieve your symptoms. Take charge of your health by downloading ICN today, where you can receive the best advice from qualified nutritionists.
These healthy lifestyle changes can provide relief from acid reflux without medication:
- Maintaining a healthy weight and losing weight if necessary
- Walking around after a meal encourages gastric juices to flow in the right direction
- Eating frequent small meals rather than three large meals daily
- Avoid eating immediately before bed
- Keep yourself hydrated to dilute the acids in the stomach
Preventing acid reflux requires focusing on healthy, fresh foods and an active lifestyle. What you eat and when you eat are crucial in an acid reflux diet. However, no single diet can manage all the symptoms. Hence, it is vital to identify the triggers by tracking the foods you eat and watching your habits. Health experts encourage a balanced diet with the right changes for your overall well-being.