A major culprit to the onset of symptoms for acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is what you eat. While those with acid reflux should pay careful attention to specific foods to avoid in an effort to ease your symptoms, there are some common foods that are universally problematic.
Acidic Foods: Foods with high levels of acid are likely to increase your chance of experiencing heartburn and reflux. Oranges, lemons, grapefruit, tomatoes, potatoes, and onions are all examples of foods high in acidic content.
Alcohol: While many alcoholic beverages are not high in acidic content, they are belie
ved to contribute to the relaxing of the valve connecting the esophagus and stomach, thus leading to reflux. If you are indulging in beer, liquor or wine keep it to a minimum and avoid mixers such as orange juice and carbonated beverages.
Carbonated Beverages: It makes perfect sense that the bubbles in carbonation can cause bloating in the stomach. This increased pressure is a common contributor to the onset of reflux. Carbonated beverages such as sodas often have caffeine and high amounts of acid which also can lead to reflux.
Chocolate: Chocolate contains caffeine, cocoa and high amounts of fat which can all lead to reflux. Dark chocolate isn’t quite as bad as milk chocolate, but if you are looking for diet modifications to reduce symptoms of acid reflux, this is one to avoid.
Food High in Fat Content: Fatty foods cause reflux, that is a fact. High-fat dairy products such as butter or cheese and high-fat cuts of meat such as beef, pork or lamb can often trigger heartburn. Food high in fat content tends to hang around in the stomach for longer periods of time increasing the chance of reflux. If you have concerns about managing your acid reflux, it is best to adopt a low fat diet.
Fried Foods: Fried foods are very high in fat content and are a leading cause of reflux and heartburn.
Dr. David J. Harrell, MD, FACS is a general surgeon at Premier Surgical Associates and offers these tips for at home care in managing symptoms of acid reflux:
- Avoid overeating
- Limit alcohol intake
- Allow yourself a minimum of 2 hours before lying down after a meal
- Slightly elevate the head of your bed to allow gravity to work in favor of digestion while you are sleeping
- Be mindful of your diet
The first line of defense in treating acid reflux, or GERD, is over the counter medication. But, these can lose their effectiveness over time and ultimately do not treat the root cause of reflux. If your chronic acid reflux symptoms persist despite dietary change and medication therapy, antireflux surgery can be an effective, long-term treatment.
Learn more about how Premier Surgical Associates can help you find relief from your acid reflux on our website.