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Home » 15 Foods For Acid Reflux That Could Help You

15 Foods For Acid Reflux That Could Help You

Foods For Acid Reflux

Have you ever felt an itch in your chest and throat? It might be because stomach acid is going the wrong way. This is called acid reflux, which might happen when stomach acid starts to come back up into your esophagus or the food pipe. If this happens a lot, it’s known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

When stomach contents come back into the esophagus, it can cause discomfort like upper belly pain and heartburn. Heartburn could feel like your chest is burning, but it’s just food moving back up into your throat. You might also find it hard to swallow and develop a persistent cough due to irritation in your esophagus.

While the exact cause of acid reflux isn’t always known, your diet is thought to play a big role. In this article, we’ll share some of the best foods that might help you manage acid reflux.

What is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is known as a common digestive disorder that might occur when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) in the digestive system relaxes or weakens abnormally, allowing stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus. It may cause digestive discomfort and various other symptoms, such as regurgitation, cramps, etc.

The LES may work as a valve that opens to let the food to enter the stomach and closes to prevent it from moving back into the esophagus.

When the LES malfunctions, stomach acid can reflux into the esophagus, causing an irritating or burning sensation in the throat and the chest, an acidic or sour taste in the mouth, chest pain, belching, difficulty swallowing, chronic cough, or throat irritation.

Foods For Acid Reflux

15 Foods For Acid Reflux That Could Help You

  1. Brown Rice

    Brown rice has soluble and insoluble fiber, which may help with digestion and promote overall gut health. According to the USDA, here are the nutritional benefits of brown rice:

    Nutrient Amount per 1 cup (200g)
    Calories 248 kcl
    Protein 5.54 grams
    Fiber 3.23 grams
    Carbohydrates 51.7 grams
    Fat 1.96 grams

    Brown rice retains the layers of bran and germ, which might enhance its nutrient content. The fiber in brown rice might regulate bowel movements, prevent constipation, and might promote a healthy digestive system.

    The slow digestion of brown rice may provide a sustained release of energy, which might help prevent overeating and reduce the chance of eating large meals that trigger acid reflux symptoms.

  2. Banana

    Known for their low acidity, bananas could be a good option for aiding in acid reflux. They are easy to digest and might help coat the stomach lining, reducing discomfort. Bananas have a high potassium content, which makes them alkaline in nature. These properties might help soothe the stomach acid by covering the irritated esophagus lining, which may prevent heartburn and other reflux issues. Banana contains pectin fiber that might promote digestion. However, for some people, unripe bananas might trigger reflux symptoms.

  3. Oatmeal

    Oatmeal has vitamins and minerals, which might lower blood pressure due to its potent fiber content. It may also help improve heart health and control cholesterol levels, particularly by reducing LDL cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol that might contribute to heart disease.

    Including oatmeal in your diet could slow down how quickly your body digests and absorbs carbs and may alsp help lower chances of chances of developing acid reflux..

  4. Apple Cider Vinegar

    Apple cider vinegar may help balance the stomach’s pH levels and improve digestion. Combining apple cider vinegar with Manuka honey might enhance its effectiveness in reducing acid reflux symptoms. You could also dilute apple cider vinegar(ACV) in water before consumption to make it easier on the stomach lining.

    Apple cider vinegar contains beneficial bacteria and yeast that might help balance the gut microbiome. These probiotic properties of vinegar might support digestive health and potentially alleviate acid reflux symptoms.

  5. Ginger

    Ginger’s medicinal properties make it a natural remedy for treating heartburn and acid reflux. It might aid in digestion and alleviate gastrointestinal discomfort. Ginger contains gingerol and shogaol compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It might help reduce irritation and inflammation in the esophagus caused by acid reflux. Ginger might neutralize stomach acid and improve digestion, potentially relieving symptoms of heartburn such as burning sensations and chest pain. It could be gentle on the stomach and can help to calm nausea, which is often a symptom associated with acid reflux.

  6. Lean Meats

    Lean meats, such as turkey and chicken, could be suitable to alleviate symptoms of acid reflux due to their low-fat content. These protein sources could be beneficial for reducing acid reflux severity as lean meat is less likely to worsen symptoms compared to fattier cuts of meat or processed meats.

    When adding lean meats into your diet to help manage acid reflux, consider the following:

    • Turkey Breast
    • Chicken Breast
    • Ground Turkey or Chicken
  7. Herbal Tea

    Herbal teas are a soothing and natural option that might help alleviate symptoms of acid reflux. Licorice Tea might aid digestion and soothe the stomach lining. It could help reduce inflammation in the esophagus and provide some relief from heartburn and acid reflux.

    Chamomile tea has calming properties which might promote relaxation and reduce stress. It may help relax the muscles in the digestive tract, preventing acid from backing up into the esophagus. However, more research is required to understand chamomile’s effect on gastric problems.

    Ginger tea could be a good herbal tea option that has anti-inflammatory properties that alleviate acid reflux. It could boost gastric emptying and aid in digestion, reduce nausea, and soothe the stomach, potentially reducing acid reflux symptoms.

  8. Milk

    Research suggests that nonfat milk may act as a temporary buffer against stomach acid, potentially soothing the discomfort experienced during acid reflux episodes. The protein content in milk may also help to strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter, potentially preventing stomach acid from going back into the esophagus.

    245 ml of Cow milk may provide around 22–23% of the Daily Value for calcium, either low-fat or whole. Its high calcium content might work as a natural heartburn remedy.

    According to a study by Su Youn Nam, Bum Joon Park, and Yeong-Ah Cho, daily calcium intake might help reduce the risk of reflux in men.

    While milk can provide relief for some people, it is important to be mindful of personal triggers and reactions to dairy. Some may find that full-fat milk worsens their acid reflux symptoms, particularly if they have a sensitivity to dairy products.

  9. Seeds and Nuts

    Seeds and nuts contain nutrients and fiber, which might aid in absorbing acid reflux. You could consider adding flaxseeds, chia, and almonds to your diet, which might help ease stomach discomfort and aid digestion.

    Flax seeds are filled with omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, which might potentially reduce inflammation in the esophagus. Chia seeds’ fiber, antioxidants, and omega-3s promote digestive health and potentially reduce acid reflux symptoms.

    Almonds, on the other hand, are a good source of calcium, which can help regulate acid levels in the stomach, and their high fiber content aids in digestion.

  10. Coconut Water

    Coconut water, known for its electrolyte content that can help balance the body’s pH levels, is a beneficial option for managing acid reflux symptoms. It is a natural hydrator that can soothe the esophagus and help dilute stomach acid, reducing the burning sensation associated with acid reflux.

    Coconut water is packed with essential minerals like potassium and calcium that may maintain electrolyte balance and support overall well-being. These nutrients might aid in neutralizing stomach acid and providing relief from acid reflux symptoms.

    The alkaline nature of coconut water can help neutralize excess stomach acid, potentially alleviating heartburn and discomfort. By promoting a more alkaline environment in the body, coconut water may help counteract the acidic conditions that lead to reflux.

  11. Parsley

    Parsley is known for its soothing properties that might alleviate symptoms of acid reflux when added to meals or beverages. It has compounds that may aid in digestion and reduce excess inflammation in the digestive tract. Parsley is rich in antioxidants, vitamins A and C, potassium, and calcium, which may give a nutritional boost while potentially calming the discomfort associated with acid reflux. Its natural diuretic properties may reduce bloating and water retention, common symptoms that can exacerbate acid reflux.

  12. Potatoes

    Potatoes are a good source of digestible fiber, which might promote healthy digestion and ease symptoms of acid reflux. The fiber content in potatoes can help regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation, which is beneficial for overall gut health.

    Potatoes have vitamin C, potassium, and B vitamins that may help boost immunity and digestive health, which may help combat the discomfort associated with acid reflux.

  13. Honey

    According to NIH, the specialized Manuka honey possesses healing properties that may benefit people suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

    The dense texture of honey can help coat the esophagus, potentially providing a soothing effect on the irritation caused by stomach acid.

    While honey shows promise in alleviating acid reflux symptoms, individuals should consult a health expert before making significant dietary changes, especially if they are on specific treatment for GERD.

  14. Egg Whites

    Egg whites are filled with protein, making them a filling and satisfying food choice. Protein helps promote satiety and aids in stabilizing blood sugar levels, which might be helpful for decreasing acid reflux symptoms.

    Egg whites are low in acidity, which is essential for those with acid reflux, as acidic foods can trigger or exacerbate symptoms. It could be a light and easily digestible option. High-fat foods might relax the lower esophageal sphincter, which might cause a backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus. Opting for low-fat foods like egg whites might reduce the risk of acid reflux episodes.

  15. Vegetables

    Cooked or raw vegetables such as turnips, carrots, mushrooms, celery, and fennel are excellent choices for those looking to add more vegetables to their acid-reflux diet. These vegetables are low in acid content and are less likely to cause discomfort or heartburn. They provide essential nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants that support overall digestive health.

    It is important to experiment with different vegetables to find what works best for your tolerance levels. Some people may find that certain vegetables, even those not typically associated with acid reflux, can trigger symptoms.

Eating Habits to Prevent Acid Reflux

Effective management of acid reflux and GERD involves not only dietary adjustments but also mindful consideration of eating habits and meal timing.

To prevent acid reflux, consider the following habits:

  1. Identify Triggers: Being aware of your triggers can help you avoid foods that exacerbate your symptoms. Keeping a food journal can assist in recognizing patterns and specific items that worsen acid reflux.
  2. Timing Matters: Avoid consuming fatty or acidic foods, especially late at night. Eating heavy meals close to bedtime might increase the likelihood of experiencing reflux symptoms during the night. Opt for lighter evening meals to prevent discomfort.
  3. Portion Control: Opt for more frequent meals throughout the day instead of consuming large meals. Eating in moderation can help reduce the pressure on the stomach, potentially decreasing the chances of acid reflux. Additionally, practicing mindful eating by chewing food slowly and thoroughly can aid digestion and prevent overeating.

Foods to Avoid

  1. Certain Drinks

    Certain drinks, such as alcohol, carbonated beverages, and coffee, can exacerbate symptoms of GERD by either relaxing esophageal muscles or increasing stomach acid secretion.

    Drinking alcohol can relax the muscle that closes off the esophagus from the stomach, making it easier for stomach acid to go back up into the esophagus. This can cause discomfort and heartburn.

    Carbonated drinks, including sodas and sparkling water, can contribute to bloating and increase pressure in the stomach, potentially causing acid reflux.

    Coffee and other drinks and beverages with caffeine could also make your stomach produce more acid, which might make the irritation in your esophagus worse.

    Opting for non-acidic and non-caffeinated beverages like herbal teas, water, or non-citrus fruit juices might decrease the likelihood of triggering acid reflux symptoms.

  2. High-Fat Foods

    High-fat foods, such as chocolate, dairy items, and fatty red meats, can exacerbate heartburn symptoms due to their longer digestion time compared to carbohydrates and proteins.

    • Chocolate: Rich in fats and often combined with sugars, chocolate can be a double threat for heartburn sufferers due to its high-fat content. It has theobromine and caffeine, which might relax the lower esophageal sphincter, letting stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus.
    • Dairy : Cheese, butter, and ice cream are popular dairy products that contain high saturated fats. These fatty dairy items can delay stomach emptying, increasing the chances of acid reflux for some individuals.
    • Fatty Red Meats: Steaks, bacon, and other fatty red meats can be problematic for those with acid reflux as they require more time to digest, staying in the stomach longer and potentially leading to increased acid production and reflux episodes.
  3. Acidic Foods

    Tomatoes, oranges, lemons, pineapples, and grapefruit are considered highly acidic foods that can exacerbate heartburn symptoms.

    Here are three examples of acidic foods to be cautious of if you experience acid reflux:

    1. Vinegar-Based Foods: Items like pickles, salad dressings, and marinades that contain vinegar can increase the acidity in your stomach, leading to heartburn discomfort.
    2. Carbonated Beverages: Soda and sparkling water could introduce gas into your digestive system, potentially causing bloating and putting pressure on the LES, allowing acid to move up into the esophagus.
    3. Spicy Foods: Peppers, hot sauces, and dishes seasoned with chili powder can irritate the esophagus and trigger heartburn symptoms in individuals prone to acid reflux.

    Being mindful of these acidic foods and moderating their intake can help reduce the frequency and intensity of heartburn episodes. It is important to pay attention to your body’s reactions and make changes to your diet accordingly to manage acid reflux effectively.

  4. Mint

    Mint, known for its refreshing flavor, is a potential trigger to avoid acid reflux due to its ability to inhibit the proper functioning of esophageal muscles.

    While mint is commonly associated with fresh breath and soothing properties, it can have adverse effects on those with acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

    Mint, whether in the form of tea, candies, or chewing gum, can relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the valve-like muscle that separates the esophagus from the stomach.

    When the LES relaxes inappropriately, stomach acid can move back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn, regurgitation, and chest pain.

  5. Spicy Foods

    Spicy foods have been identified as potential irritants to the stomach lining, contributing to the development or exacerbation of heartburn symptoms in individuals.

    • Triggering Heartburn: Spicy foods contain compounds like capsaicin, which might trigger acid reflux and may cause burning chest pain or discomfort, commonly associated with heartburn.
    • Increasing Gastric Acid: Spicy foods may stimulate the production of gastric acid in the stomach. This excess acid can further aggravate the already sensitive esophagus in individuals prone to acid reflux, potentially intensifying their symptoms.
    • Delayed Stomach Emptying: Some spicy foods can slow down gastric emptying, leading to prolonged contact between stomach acid and the esophagus. This delay in gastric emptying can heighten the risk of experiencing heartburn episodes, especially after consuming a spicy meal.

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When to Contact a Health Professional?

If you have frequent heartburn, a persistent cough or wheeze, difficulty swallowing, unexplained weight loss, or if your heartburn symptoms are getting worse, it’s vital to see a doctor. These signs might indicate a more serious health concern that needs medical attention and treatment.

Promptly contacting a healthcare provider is essential to address any concerning symptoms and receive appropriate treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux.

By seeking timely medical assistance, you can ensure proper care, symptom relief, and improved quality of life. Do not hesitate to reach out to a doctor if you have any concerns about your heartburn symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can Stress and Anxiety Worsen Acid Reflux Symptoms?
    Stress and anxiety may sometimes worsen acid reflux issues by affecting the lower esophageal sphincter. Emotional distress can lead to increased acid production and weaken the LES, contributing to heartburn and discomfort. Management techniques for stress may help alleviate symptoms.
  • Is It Safe to Consume Citrus Fruits in Moderation?
    Consuming citrus fruits in moderation is generally safe. While they are acidic, they can be part of a balanced diet for most individuals. However, those with acid reflux or GERD may need to monitor their intake.
  • Are There Specific Exercises That Can Aggravate Acid Reflux?
    Certain exercises like high-impact activities, bending over, or intense abdominal workouts can aggravate acid reflux by increasing intra-abdominal pressure. Opt for low-impact exercises, walking, or yoga instead to minimize reflux symptoms during physical activity.
  • Can Chewing Gum After Meals Help Prevent Acid Reflux?
    Chewing gum after meals might help prevent acid reflux by increasing saliva production, which can help neutralize stomach acid. However, individual responses may vary, and consulting a healthcare provider for personalized advice is recommended.
  • How Soon Before Bedtime Should I Avoid Eating to Prevent Acid Reflux?
    To prevent acid reflux before bedtime, it is advisable to avoid eating at least 2-3 hours prior to sleep. This practice helps reduce the risk of stomach acid flowing back into the esophagus, minimizing discomfort and potential reflux symptoms.

Conclusion

What you eat can really help with acid reflux and make your stomach feel better. Foods like brown rice and bananas could be great choices because they have fiber and are not too acidic.

However, remember that everyone’s body is different, so pay attention to how you feel after eating certain foods. If something bothers you, it’s important to adjust your diet.

It’s important to eat a variety of foods, whether sweet or savory, but make sure to consume them in moderation.

To prevent acid reflux, avoid eating late at night when food can stay in your stomach and cause discomfort when you lie down.

You can also lower your chances of acid reflux by eating smaller, more frequent meals instead of large, heavy ones.

Disclaimer
  • This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or a replacement for medical advice.
  • It is not recommended to disregard/delay seeking professional medical advice or treatment because of what you read or accessed through this article.
  • The results may vary from individual to individual.
  • It is recommended to consult your doctor for any underlying medical conditions or if you are on any prescribed medicines before trying any tips.
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This project was supported in part by NSF Grant IIS-03-25867 (ITR: An Electronic Field Guide: Plant Exploration and Discovery in the 21st Century) and by the Washington Biologists' Field Club.
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