How Common Is Gerd
GERD is very common. The condition and its symptoms touch a huge number of people: 20% of the U.S. population.
Anyone of any age can develop GERD, but some may be more at risk for it. For example, the chances youll have some form of GERD increase after age 40.
Youre also more likely to have it if youre:
- Overweight or obese.
- Smoking or are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke.
- Taking certain medications that may cause acid reflux.
How Do I Know Im Having Heartburn And Not A Heart Attack
Chest pain caused by heartburn may make you afraid youre having a heart attack. Heartburn has nothing to do with your heart, but since the discomfort is in your chest it may be hard to know the difference while its going on. But symptoms of a heart attack are different than heartburn.
Heartburn is that uncomfortable burning feeling or pain in your chest that can move up to your neck and throat. A heart attack can cause pain in the arms, neck and jaw, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, dizziness, extreme fatigue and anxiety, among other symptoms.
If your heartburn medication doesnt help and your chest pain is accompanied by these symptoms, call for medical attention right away.
Heal Gerd With Diet Not Drugs
Your stomach acid is there for a reason. Aside from digesting your food, it protects you from opportunistic bacteria. Without adequate stomach acid levels, you open yourself up to potential bacterial overgrowth in your stomach and parts of your intestines.
If low stomach acid levels can cause serious digestive problems, GERD included, why is the conventional approach to prescribe proton-pump inhibitors which are acid-blocking drugs?
Aside from the fact that acid-blockers will worsen the underlying cause of GERDlow stomach acidPPIs can cause a host of other potential dangers, like:
- Higher risk of serious gut infections
- The potential for SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
- An increased risk of stroke
- Heart attacks
- An increased risk of death
Instead of relying on PPIs to mask symptoms without solving the problem , I recommend a three-step approach to healing GERD:
- Reduce the factors that lead to bacterial overgrowth and low stomach acid
- Replace stomach acid, nutrients, and enzymes that help digestion and are needed for health
- Restorebeneficial gut bacteria and heal the gut
Eating the right diet is one crucial component of that approach.
Recommended Reading: Prenatal Vitamins Cause Diarrhea
What Can I Do To Manage My Oesophageal Reflux Symptoms
It might be a good idea to cut all of the suggested foods out of your diet for a week or two to see if your symptoms disappear. If they do disappear then you could add these foods back into your diet one at a time to see if they are what is causing your reflux.
If your symptoms come back, perhaps because of other factors as listed above, you may need to cut out potential triggers again until the symptoms have settled down.
In general, a healthy diet is associated with a lower risk of reflux symptoms. In particular:
What Aggravates Acid Reflux
Acid reflux occurs when the sphincter at the base of the esophagus isnt working well, allowing fluid from the stomach to enter the esophagus. The worst foods for reflux can worsen painful symptoms, while other foods can soothe them, says UH gastrointestinal surgeon Leena Khaitan, MD
Diet changes can significantly affect acid reflux and allow you to avoid other treatments, Dr. Khaitan says.
Read Also: Align Probiotics
What Is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is when someone has reflux more than twice a week. It’s a more serious condition than GER. Doctors usually treat it with medicine.
GERD can be a problem if it’s not treated because, over time, the reflux of stomach acid damages the tissue lining the esophagus, causing inflammation and pain. In adults, long-lasting, untreated GERD can lead to permanent damage of the esophagus.
Foods That Heal Esophagitis
If your esophagus is very painful and inflamed, try adding some foods that heal esophagitis. These might include:
- Cooked fruits
All of these are easier to swallow than raw fruits and vegetables and tougher or more firm protein sources. They can feel more soothing on your throat and esophagus.
Some of these foods also have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce pain and swelling in your esophagus.
Read Also: Can Soy Milk Cause Diarrhea
What To Eat And What To Avoid For Gerd
Finding a way to add in some of these foods can reduce your symptoms and put you on a path for healing your gut, while eliminating others can stop your symptoms. In some cases, you may be able to limit certain foods, rather than remove them from your diet altogether.
What to eat:
- Nutrient-dense, whole foods, which will maximize your nutrient intake
- Fermented foods with probiotic effects like yogurt and kefir or, if you cant tolerate dairy or its too high-carb, raw sauerkraut, pickles, and kombucha
- Bone broth, which is rich in collagen, gelatin, glutamine, and prolineall helpful for healing the gut
Note:If youre sensitive to FODMAPs, avoid bone broth and collagen.
What to eliminate if you have GERD:
- Fructose and artificial sweeteners, which can increase bacterial overgrowth and worsen your symptoms
- Processed foods that include additives, preservatives, and industrial seed oils, which can worsen gut health
- Alcohol, as it can worsen many gut conditions
- Drinking water with mealsthis dilutes your stomach acid even more, further hampering your digestion and nutrient absorption
Like what youve read?
How Is Gerd Diagnosed
Usually your provider can tell if you have simple acid reflux by talking with you about your symptoms and medical history. You and your provider can talk about controlling your symptoms through diet and medications.
If these strategies dont help, your provider may ask you to get tested for GERD. Tests for GERD include:
Also Check: Can Soy Milk Give You Diarrhea
Fight Heartburn With Healthy Food
Add the right foods to your diet. They could really help with your heartburn. But there are limits to what they can do.
Remember that good foods can’t counteract the effects of trigger foods. “Eating a little ginger won’t stop you from getting heartburn after a big dinner of a fatty steak, a salad with tomatoes, a couple of glasses of wine, and a coffee,” Kuemmerle says.
And while eating a low-acid diet is a good strategy, it may not be enough on its own. For some people it’s not so much the acids in the stomach, but the reflux of other stuff in gastric juices — like bile — that trigger heartburn, he says.
“The specific causes of heartburn vary a lot from person to person,” Kuemmerle says. “That’s why treatment always needs a personalized approach.”
Foods That May Cause Heartburn
Foods commonly known to be heartburn triggers cause the esophageal sphincter to relax and delay the digestive process, letting food sit in the stomach longer, says Gupta. The worst culprits? Foods that are high in fat, salt or spice such as:
- Fried food
- Carbonated beverages
“Moderation is key since many people may not be able to or want to completely eliminate these foods,” says Gupta. “But try to avoid eating problem foods late in the evening closer to bedtime, so they’re not sitting in your stomach and then coming up your esophagus when you lay down at night. It’s also a good idea to eat small frequent meals instead of bigger, heavier meals and avoid late-night dinners and bedtime snacks.”
You May Like: Does Pickle Juice Help Heartburn
What To Drink For Acid Reflux
We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Heres our process.
GERD symptoms are affected by what you eat. The symptoms can include coughing, nausea, and hoarseness. Burping, sore throat, and regurgitation are also commonly associated with GERD. What you decide to incorporate or avoid in your diet can help relieve some of your symptoms.
Herbal teas help improve digestion and soothe many stomach problems, such as gas and nausea. Try caffeine-free herbal tea for acid reflux, but avoid spearmint or peppermint teas. Mint triggers acid reflux for many.
Licorice helps increase the mucus coating of the esophageal lining, which helps calm the effects of stomach acid. However, theres insufficient evidence to confirm the effectiveness of fennel, marshmallow root, or papaya tea.
Holistic Dietary Strategies For Gerd
A comprehensive GERD treatment plan must consider additional factors beyond basic dietary changes.
For many people with digestive issues, restoring balance to the bacterial flora in the intestines may be beneficial. Eating fermented and pre-biotic foods might help to achieve this.
People call the bacteria in these foods probiotics. Probiotics may reduce digestive issues by balancing the digestive system as a whole. Prebiotics are foods that are rich in fibers that selectively grow beneficial bacteria.
Foods that contain natural probiotics include:
You May Like: Can Align Probiotic Cause Nausea
A Note About Proton Pump Inhibitors
Proton pump inhibitors are the most effective treatments for chronic acid reflux. Theyre generally considered very safe. They reduce your bodys production of gastric acids. Unlike some other medications, you only need to take them once a day to prevent symptoms.
There are also downsides to using proton pump inhibitors on a long-term basis. Over time, they can deplete vitamin B-12 in your body. Since stomach acid is one of your bodys defenses against infection, proton pump inhibitors can also raise your risk of infection and bone fractures. In particular, they can raise your risk of hip, spine, and wrist fractures. They can also be expensive, often costing more than $100 each month.
Gerd Diet: Foods That Help With Acid Reflux
Getting a case of acid reflux once in a while isn’t unusual, but some people suffer from burning discomfort, bloating and belching almost every time they eat. About 20% of the population has gastroesophageal reflux disease , a chronic acid reflux condition that’s diagnosed by a doctor.
Normally, the esophageal sphincter protects the esophagus from stomach acid. However, if the sphincter relaxes, food can push upward through the loosened opening and cause acid reflux.
“Diet plays a major role in controlling acid reflux symptoms and is the first line of therapy used for people with GERD,” says Ekta Gupta, M.B.B.S., M.D., gastroenterologist with Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Also Check: Can Prenatal Vitamins Cause Diarrhea
Don’t Drink Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol increases the amount of acid the stomach produces and relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter . If you do want to have some alcohol during your festivities, try the following tips:
- Dilute alcoholic beverages with water or club soda.
- Limit alcohol consumption to one or two mixed drinks, no more than 16 ounces of wine, or and no more than three beers.
- Drink white wine instead of red wine.
- Choose non-alcoholic beer or wine.
- Keep track of which alcoholic drinks aggravate your heartburn, and avoid them as much as possible.
How Can I Prevent My Symptoms Of Gerd
As you can see, there are many types of foods to avoid if you have GERD or acid reflux disease. However, you may or may not experience symptoms after eating one of these foods as each case is different. This list of foods is meant to give you general guidelines of foods to avoid.
With that being said, the most reliable way to know which foods you should avoid is to keep a food journal. Pay attention to what you eat, then record whether or not you experience symptoms after.
You should also pay attention to which situations lead to your symptoms. For instance, do you experience symptoms in the morning before youve eaten, or after a large lunch? Or, perhaps you notice symptoms at night after eating a late dinner or dessert.
If you have more questions about preventing GERD or acid reflux symptoms, talk with your doctor. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may give you a prescription to help soothe your heartburn.
Prescriptions usually include histamine-2 blockers , proton pump inhibitors , and promotility agents. These are usually short-term prescriptions for acid reflux treatment while you make dietary adjustments.
Also Check: Why Is Ibs Worse In Morning
What Is Gastroesophageal Reflux
Gastroesophageal reflux , also called reflux, is when food and acid from the stomach go back up into the esophagus. This causes an uncomfortable feeling in the chest, often called heartburn.
With GER, reflux happens after nearly every meal and causes noticeable discomfort. After eating, people with GER feel a burning sensation in the chest, neck, and throat.
While it’s more common in adults, kids, teens, and even babies can have gastroesophageal reflux.
Garlic Onions And Spicy Foods
Spicy and tangy foods, such as onions and garlic, trigger heartburn symptoms in many people.
These foods wont trigger reflux in everyone. But if you eat a lot of onions or garlic, make sure to track your meals carefully in your diary. Some of these foods, along with spicy foods, may bother you more than other foods do.
You May Like: Does Xanax Help With Ibs
Oesophageal Reflux Diet Sheet
Reviewed byDr Hayley Willacy
Oesophageal reflux – also called gastro-oesophageal reflux disease – is a common cause of symptoms of upper tummy pain and chest pain. It is caused by acid from the stomach leaking up into the gullet .
Some foods are more likely to trigger reflux symptoms and it may help to look at how you eat as well as what you eat.
What Is The Best Diet For Heartburn
That does not have to be true, however. Breakfast, lunch and dinner can be both enjoyable and heartburn-friendly if you know which foods to incorporate into your diet.
Heartburn can flare when your stomach produces too much gastric acid, and your food choices can directly affect this. Here are three meals that incorporate heartburn-reducing foods that your stomach will appreciate.
Oatmeal and Wheat: Try Whole Grains for Breakfast
Oatmeal has been a whole-grain breakfast favorite for generations. It is a good source of fiber, so it keeps you feeling full and promotes regularity. Oats also absorb stomach acid and reduce symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease . For something sweet, top your oatmeal with bananas, apples or pears. The fructose in these fruits is less likely to trigger acid reflux than other sugars. Of course, eating oatmeal every day could get boring, so switch things up with a warm bowl of Cream of Wheat, or some whole grain toast with peanut butter.
Avoid coffee and most teas that contain caffeine, which can cause heartburn. Instead, brew a soothing cup of ginger tea. Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties that will help regulate acid production.
Vegetables: Add Some Color and Nutrients to Your Lunch
Try these options for a light and tasty lunch:
- Baked potato with steamed broccoli
- Mixed green salad with fresh-cut vegetables and a light oil and vinegar dressing
- Veggie wrap or veggie quesadilla
Read Also: Bananas And Leaky Gut
Heartburn Relief: Food Facts
Though heartburn triggers can vary from person to person, certain food and drinks are more prone to allowing stomach acid to splash up into your esophagus, including:
Meats. Ground beef, marbled sirloin, chicken nugget-style, and chicken/buffalo wings.
Fats, Oils & Sweets.Chocolate, regular corn and potato chips, high-fat butter cookies, brownies, doughnuts, creamy and oily salad dressings, fried or fatty food in general.
Fruits, Vegetables & Juice. Orange juice, lemon, lemonade, grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, tomato, mashed potatoes, French fries, raw onion, potato salad.
Other Beverages. Liquor, wine, coffee, and tea.
Grains. Macaroni and cheese, spaghetti with marinara sauce.
Dairy. Sour cream, milk shake, ice cream, regular cottage cheese.
Foods and beverages like these contribute to heartburn by lessening the effectiveness of the LES to keep stomach contents in the stomach. Smoking also plays a large role, and carbonated beverages should be added to the list as they can put pressure on the stomach, forcing stomach acid back up into the esophagus.
Avoid the foods and beverages above — and eat smaller meals — and you may decrease the amount of reflux from your stomach into the esophagus.
Yet changing what you eat isn’t the only way to avoid the horrors of heartburn, there are simple lifestyle changes you can make as well.
Foods And Drinks That Help With Acid Reflux
While certain foods and drinks can trigger acid reflux, there are also several that can help to ease your symptoms:
1. Oatmeal and Whole Grains
Oat and other whole grains, such as whole-grain bread and brown rice, are full of healthy fiber, which promotes digestive health. Whole grains also help you feel fuller longer, which can reduce the risk of overeating.
Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce the symptoms of acid reflux. Many people also use it to ease stomach upset and indigestion.
3. Lean Meats
Lean meats, such as chicken, turkey, and certain types of fish, are lower in fat than other types of meats and can help to reduce the symptoms of acid reflux. Tofu is also an excellent low-fat protein source.
Vegetables, particularly green ones such as broccoli, green beans, asparagus, and leafy greens, can help to lower stomach acid, which can help with acid reflux. Theyre low in factors that can trigger symptoms, including fat and sugar.
5. Noncitrus Fruits
Citrus and other acidic fruits can trigger acid reflux. Certain noncitrus fruits such as bananas and melons can help to ease your symptoms. Bananas coat the lining of your esophagus, which can reduce irritation. Melons are high in magnesium, a mineral found in many over-the-counter antacids that helps to neutralize stomach acid.
6. Herbal Tea
7. Plant-Based Milk
8. Coconut Water
Also Check: Do Bananas Help With Bloating