Acid reflux is a digestive condition in which the stomach contents come back into your oesophagus, leading to heartburn and regurgitation. It typically affects adults over 50 and can last many months.
Mild acid reflux is common and can be treated with medical help. On the other hand, recurrent acid reflux can signify a serious underlying problem and an inconvenience in your daily life.
Controlling acid reflux may be as simple as eating the right foods. To reduce the symptoms, your doctor may recommend eating meals 2 to 3 hours before you lie down and avoiding foods and drinks that worsen your condition. You may need medical tests if your symptoms don’t improve with diet changes and medicines.
Acid Reflux Diet: An Introduction
One of the most common reasons why acid reflux happens is the consumption of canned or bottled food products that have higher acid content. This is done to prevent bacterial development and extend the shelf life of the packed foods.
According to a study, acid reflux treatment includes personal dietary and lifestyle changes to ease symptoms. The acid reflux diet emphasises a high-fibre, low-cholesterol diet while avoiding the common food triggers for the condition.
The diet aims to remove and reduce acid reflux symptoms such as heartburn, chest tightness or chest pain, having a bitter taste in your mouth, or feeling a lump in your throat.
These triggers may not be the same for everyone. However, some foods are a common trigger for many, including spicy or sour foods, oily foods, caffeine, dairy, chocolate, and even citrus fruits.
Acid Reflux Diet: Foods to Eat
Numerous patients with acid reflux find that eating enough non-citrus fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, whole grains, and lean meats helps them feel better.
Eating more alkaline and less acidic food helps reduce the backflow of acid into your oesophagus. Alkaline foods that neutralise the acidic contents of your stomach also numb the effect of reflux. These foods include:
- Whole foods including a variety of grains, cereals, pulses, legumes
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, celery, lettuce, broccoli
- Other vegetables, tubers, roots, mushrooms
- Fruits like melons, apples, bananas, pears
- Nuts and seeds that have a good amount of fibre
- Oils like extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil
- Low-fat dairy products and plant-based dairy
- Eggs from chickens, quails, and ducks in moderation
- Lean cuts of meat like skinless chicken, chicken or turkey breast cuts
Acid Reflux Diet – Foods to Avoid
Here are the most common foods that trigger acid reflux symptoms in many people. You might have to identify your triggers and avoid those foods.
- Foods that are high in cholesterol like fried and oily fast foods, including hot dogs, sausages, and cheeseburgers
- Meat cuts high in fat like bacon, lard, chicken thighs, and pork belly.
- Spicy foods with lots of chillies, pepper, onions, or garlic may trigger acid reflux.
- Confectionaries like cakes, pastries, pies, cream rolls
- Products that include caffeine like soft drinks, energy drinks, cocoa drinks, hot chocolate, milkshakes, ice tea, coffee, coffee milkshakes
- Canned foods containing excess salt, sugar, vinegar-like pickled olives, capers, gherkins, or pickles
- Fruits and vegetables that are sour or tangy to taste like citrus fruits, tomatoes, Indian gooseberries, and strawberries.
The HealthifyMe Note:
Frequently experiencing heartburn, bloating, regurgitation or a feeling of food stuck in your throat are signs of acid reflux. Fortunately, an acid reflux diet can help reduce these uncomfortable symptoms. Modifying your diet with more acid-reducing or alkaline foods can help address the issue.
Role of Hydration in the Acid Reflux Diet
The total amount of water required by each person depends on their weight, age, amount of daily activity, sweat rate, environmental temperature, and health condition.
Taking water frequently lubricates the foods you swallow and widens the clearance of the oesophagal secretion. It is especially beneficial for people who have irregular oesophagal motility and cough when they have reflux.
Research shows that drinking mineral water decreases the symptoms of acid reflux. Keeping yourself hydrated dilutes the acids in the stomach. Another study says that drinking alkaline water (pH 8.8) helps reduce acid reflux symptoms due to its hydrochloric acid-buffering capacity.
Here are simple ways to ensure you consume fluids.
- Infuse your water with some cucumber and mint.
- Include coconut water in your diet.
- Add 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds to your water and soak overnight. Strain the water and consume. The water will have a sweet aftertaste by the morning.
- Mix ORS powder into your water and drink.
Achieving Fitness Goals Through the Acid Reflux Diet
It is not necessary to stick to a low-calorie diet; instead, one needs to focus on eliminating trigger foods and substituting them with healthy alternatives. However, it is important to know how many calories one might need. You could have different nutrition goals along with your condition. Having an acid reflux condition does not mean you cannot fulfil your fitness goals.
If you wish to lose weight, avoiding fatty cuts of meat, large quantities of caffeine, preserved and packaged foods, fried foods, and foods high in cholesterol could help you reach your goal.
Evidence suggests that moderate exercise can help with the symptoms in some patients. To gain muscles, the acid reflux diet must also include the consumption of meats like chicken, turkey, and eggs. You should also get optimum protein, fibre, and nutrients from legumes, beans, seeds, and nuts.
Understanding the root of the problem will help you find a solution. Remember that, like many things in life, a problem’s solution is frequently found by looking into its sources. You can lessen and possibly even get rid of acid reflux by following an acid reflux diet and other lifestyle recommendations.
A great majority of people have GERD and acid reflux as a result of lifestyle-related issues, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity, stress or eating a heavy meal right before bed at night, especially right before going to bed.
Acid Reflux Diet – Sample Shopping List
Here is a sample grocery list you could choose from:
- Whole grains and cereals
(Brown rice, foxtail millet, oats, whole wheat flour, maize, quinoa.)
- Pulses and legumes
(Bengal gram, peas, edamame, black-eyed beans, pigeon eye peas, bean sprouts.)
- Seeds and Nuts
(Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pine nuts.)
(Apple, banana, pear, watermelon, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, apricot, papaya, peaches, figs.)
- Vegetables and tubers
(Brussel sprouts, broccoli, spinach, kale, amaranth, pumpkin, squash, bell peppers, mushrooms, turnips, green papaya.)
- Fresh or dried herbs
(Basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, dill, mint, cilantro.)
- Oils and Fats
(Coconut oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, olive oil, mustard oil.)
- Animal Protein
( Lean cuts of chicken, tuna, salmon, eggs.)
(Milk, cottage cheese, unsweetened yoghurt.)
- Plant protein and dairy
(Soy tofu, pea protein, nut-based milk, oat milk.)
Tips for Grocery Shopping for Acid Reflux Diet
Check the Labels
Reading the ingredient of the product will help you know if it contains a high amount of salt, fat, and caffeine. Accordingly, you could purchase products that do not contain your trigger foods.
Visit the Frozen Food Section
Frozen vegetables like peas, corn, cut-up carrots, cut-up cauliflower, and frozen berries are a great option. They are convenient to store and use when required.
Get Seasonal Produce
Opt for seasonal fruits and veggies that are nutritious. Cherries bought in the summer will be sweeter and not acidic as those bought in winter.
Acid Reflux Diet – Food Preparation and Cooking
Being on a diet that requires special attention to each ingredient might take a lot of planning. From grocery shopping, thinking of dishes, meal planning, and cooking, you will be required to work timely and manage your work.
The acid reflux diet requires the consumption of whole grains, veggies, and lean meats that you can store for a couple of days in the refrigerator. Preparing and storing some of your meals in your fridge would be wise. This way, you would not have to be stressed about having time to cook on some workdays. You can bake, grill, roast, stew, boil, or steam food. Prevent using shallow or deep frying. Consume a lot of seasonal produce, especially fruits. Maintaining a notebook and a diet chart might help. It will keep things in check and ensure you effectively move ahead with your plan.
Recipes to Include in Your Acid Reflux Diet
- Serves: 4
- Preparation time: 20 minutes
- Steel cut oats: 1 cup
- Water: 3 cups
- Sea salt: ¼ teaspoon
- Pinches of cinnamon or cardamom, optional
- Frozen, and thawed blueberries: as per your choice
- Chia seeds: as per your choice
- Coconut flakes: as per your choice
Method of Preparation
- Bring the water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the oats and salt and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add cinnamon or cardamom. Remove from heat and let it stand for two minutes.
- Serve hot with desired toppings like chia seeds, coconut flakes, and berries.
- You can make regular oatmeal ahead of time and use it as a grab-and-go breakfast. Save the leftovers into individual containers and reheat in the morning. You can add water or milk to change the consistency.
Poached Eggs On Whole Grain Toast
- Preparation time: 7- 10 minutes
- Eggs: 1
- Whole grain bread: 2 slices
- Fresh herbs (thyme, parsley, or basil) for topping
- Salt and pepper for topping
Method of Preparation
- Bring water to a boil. Add enough water to cover the eggs when they lay at the bottom.
- Crack the egg into a small bowl or cup. Place the bowl close to the surface of the hot water and gently slip the egg into the water.
- Cover the pot and poach for 4 minutes. Or wait for 5 or more minutes for semi-soft yolks.
- While the eggs are cooking, toast bread slices.
- When the eggs are done, place the poached eggs on top of the toast.
- Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and fresh herbs
Basil Chicken Pasta
- Servings: 2
- Preparation time: 15 minutes
- Extra-virgin olive oil: 3 tsp
- Green zucchini, thin sliced: 1 cup
- Baby spinach: 1 cup
- chicken breast, cooked and shredded: ½ cup
- Whole wheat spaghetti, cooked: ½ cup
- Fresh basil, chopped: ½ cup
- Chopped garlic : 3 cloves
- Parmesan cheese: 1 tbsp
- Black pepper: ½ tsp
- Salt as per taste
- Heat a pan and put in the olive oil. Add the garlic. Put half of the fresh basil and let it sizzle in the oil.
- Add in your veggies and let them soften.
- Toss in the whole wheat spaghetti. Add a bit of the pasta water and stir well.
- Add the parmesan cheese and the rest of the fresh basil. Combine until you get a sauce-like consistency.
- Add in the shredded chicken and let it simmer.
- Sprinkle in the salt and pepper. Serve hot with multigrain toast.
The HealthifyMe Note:
Most vegetables (green or otherwise) and fruits can numb the effect of reflux. To neutralise the acidic contents of your stomach, eat more nutritious green salads, a healthy cup of unsweetened yoghurt with fruit, and sprout salad.
Your diet, timing, and eating habits may also help you control your symptoms. Some individuals seem to benefit by eating smaller, more frequent meals during the day and staying away from food three hours before bedtime.
Additionally helpful strategies include chewing thoroughly, eating slowly, and cutting back on the amount of fat and carbohydrates (particularly simple sugars) in your meal. It’s important to keep in mind that the things that cause your heartburn will be personal to you, therefore the things that will help you manage it will also depend on your individual process of self-discovery.
Diet selection is a personal decision that demands careful consideration of your health priorities. The acid reflux diet is designed to relieve the symptoms of a specific health condition and may not be appropriate for persons who do not experience acid reflux.
However, it is a balanced and healthy diet that poses no risks to the general public. The condition and the symptoms can be unique. Therefore, consulting a health expert or dietician for guidance would be beneficial.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What foods help acid reflux go away?
A. Numerous patients with acid reflux find that eating enough non-citrus fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, whole grains, and lean meats helps them feel better. One can consume whole foods, green leafy vegetables, non-citrus fruits, nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy products, white meat including seafood, eggs, lean cuts of meat, and red meat in small quantities. It’s important to identify reflux-causing foods in your diet and avoid them.
Q. What foods aggravate acid reflux?
A. Some foods are a common trigger for many. These include spicy or sour foods, oily foods, caffeine, dairy, chocolate, spicy, acidic, or sour foods, and even citrus fruits for some people. Foods that are rich in fats tend to increase the chances of reflux. Eating foods with a lot of chilli powder can irritate your stomach wall and induce acid reflux.
Q. What is a good breakfast for acid reflux?
A. Vegetable omelette, cinnamon rolled oats with berries, breakfast sandwiches with a side of vegetables, pumpkin millet muffins, vegetable poha, and moong cheela with grated carrot are some great breakfast options. Make sure to avoid vegetable curries with added garam masala and tadka daal.
Q. Does drinking water help acid reflux?
A. yes, water lubricates the foods you swallow and eases the passage through the oesophagal route. It is especially beneficial for patients with irregular oesophagal motility. Keeping yourself hydrated with mineral or alkaline water (pH 8.8) helps reduce reflux symptoms.
Q. How do you calm acid reflux?
A. The acid reflux treatment includes personal dietary changes with a few lifestyle modifications. Certain foods might trigger your acid reflux, so you must avoid them. A nutrient-rich, fibre-rich diet helps to soothe the symptoms of acid reflux. When it comes to acid reflux, what you eat matters as much as when you eat it.
Q. What fruit is good for acid reflux?
A. Fruits like banana, apple, papaya, apricot, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, watermelon, and peaches are great for the condition. You might want to avoid citrus foods like oranges, limes, lemons, tomatoes, strawberries, Indian gooseberries, and other tangy fruits.
Q. Is yoghurt good for acid reflux?
A. Yoghurt is a fermented dairy product, and you can eat them in moderation. Try to consume unsweetened yoghurt instead of those with added flavourings.
Q. Are eggs OK for acid reflux?
A. Yes, eggs in moderation are alright to consume. The egg yolk is high in cholesterol but can still be included in the diet. You could consume eggs from chickens, ducks, quails, etc. However, make sure not to season them with strong spices.
Q. Is banana good for acid reflux?
A. Yes, bananas are good for acid reflux. It is rich in carbohydrates, dietary fibre, potassium, vitamin B6 and C. Other fruits you can include are ripe papayas, melons, apricots, pears, and apples.
Q. How do you stop acid reflux naturally?
A. Consume fibre-rich foods, including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and lean-cut meats to stop the acid reflux. Being overweight can also cause acid reflux, so try to manage your weight. However, the guidance of a medical professional would be beneficial in making your symptoms ease effectively.
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