If you are suffering from GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), you have to follow a strict GERD diet for acid reflux. The common symptoms of this health condition are regurgitation and heartburn. There are many foods that increase the symptoms of GERD. If you want to get relief from this health condition, you need to know about the best food options to include in your GERD diet. Once you make healthier food and lifestyle choices, you will be able to get relief from gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Foods that you should avoid
Before knowing about the best food options to include in your GERD diet, you should know about the foods that you need to avoid. Gastroesophageal reflux disease damages the esophagus. If you consume certain foods, they can cause further damage to the sensitive tissue.
The beverages and foods that you need to avoid are as follows:
- Carbonated beverages
- Citrus fruits and juices
- Fried food
- Spicy food
- Fatty food
Some of these food items, especially fatty foods can worsen the symptoms of GERD by relaxing the LES (lower esophageal sphincter) that separates the esophagus from the stomach. This results in the contents of the stomach to enter the esophagus. As a result, you suffer from severe heartburn.
Other food items such as citrus fruits increase the acidity of the stomach, thereby aggravating the symptoms. Apart from cutting off these food items, you also need to make changes in the timing and size of your meals. Making healthy lifestyle choices will provide relief from gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Best Food Options to include in your GERD diet
Heartburn is a troublesome symptom associated with acid reflux. When there is a backflow of acid from your stomach to the esophagus, acid reflux occurs. The food that you eat throughout the day affects the quantity of acid that your stomach produces. You can control gastroesophageal reflux disease by eating the right food items.
Let’s take a look at the best food options to include in your GERD diet:
1. Green Vegetables
Green vegetables are low in sugar and fat. They help in reducing acid in the stomach. Therefore, they are one of the best food options to include in your GERD diet. If you want to get relief from acid reflux, you should add green beans, leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, and cucumbers to your diet.
Root vegetables such as potatoes are good sources of digestible fiber and healthy carbohydrates. Thus, you can add them to your GERD diet. But you should not add garlic and onion during the preparation of potato recipes. Garlic and onions can trigger the symptoms of acid reflux.
2. Non-citrus fruits
You need to avoid only citrus fruits if you have GERD. You can add other non-citrus fruits to your diet. Apples, bananas, melons, and pears will not trigger any symptoms of GERD.
One of the best food items to include in your GERD diet for acid reflux is ginger. As ginger exhibits anti-inflammatory properties, it can treat various gastrointestinal problems such as heartburn. You can add finely sliced ginger root or grated ginger to various recipes. You can also have ginger tea regularly for getting relief from acid reflux.
If you have GERD, you can have oatmeal in breakfast. It is a whole grain and a great source of fiber. It can decrease the symptoms of acid reflux by absorbing acid in your stomach. You can also add whole-grain rice and whole-grain bread to your diet for getting relief from acid reflux. All of them are good fiber options.
5. Egg Whites
You don’t need to stay away from eggs if you suffer from acid reflux. Egg whites are one of the best food options to include in your GERD diet. They are rich in protein and can keep you healthy. However, you must avoid the egg yolk because it contains fat which can cause heartburn.
6. Lean Meats
You can have lean meats such as fish, seafood, turkey, and chicken to get relief from acid reflux. As they are low in fat and high in protein, you can include them in your GERD diet. You can have them grilled, baked, broiled, or poached.
7. Healthy Fats
Fat is an important nutrient like protein and carbohydrate. Although they are high in calories, they are necessary for the normal functioning of your body. You should not avoid fats if you have GERD. You just need to choose healthy fats for your GERD diet.
Dairy and meat are sources of saturated fats. Processed foods and margarine contain Trans fat. Instead of having Trans fats and saturated fats, you should have healthier unsaturated fats to get relief from heartburn. Unsaturated fats are of two types: monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
Examples of monounsaturated fats are sesame oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, canola oil, peanuts, peanut butter, avocados, seeds, and nuts. Examples of polyunsaturated fats are walnut, flaxseed, soybeans, soybean oil, safflower oil, corn oil, tofu, and salmon.
8. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is used for treating acid reflux. It is a great healing agent that can reduce the symptoms of GERD. Although aloe vera is a plant, the leaves and gel of aloe vera plant are sold separately in some health-food stores. You can use aloe vera as a thickener in various recipes.
Fennel is one of the best food items to include in your GERD diet. It reduces symptoms of acid reflux and improves the function of the stomach. You can slice it into thin pieces and add to your salad. You can also add it to various chicken dishes.
10. Low-fat Milk products
Instead of having whole milk or full-fat milk products, you can opt for fat-free or low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. Alternatively, you can add non-dairy options such as almond milk or soy milk to your diet.
11. Low-fat baked goods
Instead of having high-fat baked food items such as biscuits, doughnuts, sweet rolls and croissants, have low-fat baked goods. You can try plain bread, pancakes, waffles, and low-fat muffins.
12 .Homemade Soups
If you are suffering from acid reflux, you can have homemade or broth-based soups. You can prepare them with lean meat or vegetables. Do not add tomato to the soup. Instead of using cream, use fat-free or low-fat milk.
Healthy lifestyle changes
Now that you know the best food options to include in your GERD diet, you need to make some healthy lifestyle changes. Let’s take a look at the new habits that you need to adopt for getting relief from acid reflux:
1. Eat smaller meals throughout the day
You need to change your eating habits to get relief from heartburn. Instead of having three heavy meals, have five to six smaller meals. It will decrease the pressure in the stomach. When there is high pressure in the stomach, it causes the lower esophageal sphincter to relax. It results in heartburn as the contents of the stomach flow up into the esophagus.
2. Take smaller bites
Eating slowly can help you get relief from heartburn. When you take smaller bites of your food and properly chew it, you are less likely to irritate your esophagus. Taking bigger bites and swallowing food before chewing it properly can cause heartburn.
3. Don’t eat unless you are hungry
Snacking when you are not actually hungry can increase the pressure in your stomach. If your stomach is full, you should avoid eating anything.
4. Do not lie down immediately after your meals
The symptoms of acid reflux will reduce if you do not lie down immediately after having your meal. When you sit upright or stand, gravity prevents the contents of your stomach from flowing upward. Have your dinner early so that you have two to three hours time before going to bed.
5. Do not wear tight clothing
Wearing tight clothes especially around your waist can result in acid reflux. Wear clothes that won’t put any pressure on your abdomen while you eat.
6. Maintain a healthy weight
People who have extra pounds are prone to GERD. The extra pounds result in pressure inside the abdomen. Therefore, keep a check on your calories and maintain a healthy weight.
As you know the best food options to include in your GERD diet, you should make the diet changes soon. Following the right diet will keep you fit and healthy. Do not forget to make the necessary lifestyle changes that will help you get relief from heartburn.