Meals for acid reflux

Contents

Nutrition Guidelines and Diet Restrictions for People with GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that causes stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus. This is known as acid reflux. The reflux occurs as a result of a malfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is the ring of muscles between the esophagus and stomach. Normally, these muscles open to allow food and liquid into the stomach, and then close. In people with GERD, however, the muscles are weak or relax irregularly, allowing stomach contents and acid to creep up into the esophagus and throat.

Acid reflux often causes discomfort and irritation in the esophagus, leading to a sour or bitter taste in the throat and mouth. This is frequently accompanied by heartburn, or a burning sensation in the chest. Some people also experience nausea, coughing, sore throat, dry mouth, and other uncomfortable symptoms.

The prolonged acid reflux associated with GERD can cause inflammation in the esophagus, leading to a condition called esophagitis. Esophagitis may make it difficult or painful to swallow. When left untreated, GERD can also damage your esophageal lining and cause esophageal ulcers and irritation. This may result in bleeding, narrowing of the esophagus, or Barrett’s esophagus, a condition in which the cells lining your esophagus change to ones resembling your intestine. It can be associated with esophageal cancer.

While there are many medical treatments for GERD, changing your diet is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to manage symptoms. It can also help prevent acid reflux from happening in the first place.

What Makes a GERD-Friendly Diet

Certain foods are harder to digest and can increase the amount of acid in the stomach, leading to acid reflux and other GERD symptoms. The types of food that trigger these symptoms can vary from person to person, but common culprits include alcohol, high-fat foods, and spicy foods. It’s important to avoid all foods and drinks that are known to cause discomfort. It also helps to incorporate foods that can ease or prevent GERD symptoms.

What to Avoid Entirely

Avoiding large meals is one of the easiest ways to lower the chances of experiencing acid reflux and heartburn. This means eating five to six small meals a day instead of two or three large ones. It’s also a good idea to avoid eating at least three hours before bedtime.

Although GERD triggers vary in each person, during your meals, make sure to avoid the following:

  • soda and other carbonated beverages
  • spicy foods
  • fried foods
  • mints
  • garlic
  • onions

These foods and beverages are known to aggravate GERD symptoms.

What to Limit

Certain foods and drinks are OK to consume in moderation, but they may cause increased discomfort in some people more than others. Here are some foods and beverages that may trigger GERD symptoms and are therefore best consumed in small amounts:

Beverages

  • mint tea
  • citrus juices
  • tomato-based drinks
  • regular and decaf coffee
  • alcoholic beverages
  • whole milk or chocolate milk

Carbohydrates

  • doughnuts
  • croissants
  • french fries
  • potato chips
  • tortilla chips
  • pastas prepared with creamy sauces or pesto

Fruits and Vegetables

  • tomatoes
  • fried vegetables
  • vegetables prepared with cream sauces
  • citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruit

Protein

  • fried meat
  • fried chicken
  • fried fish
  • sausage
  • pepperoni
  • bacon
  • hot dogs

Fats

  • gravies
  • butter
  • margarine
  • cream

Desserts

  • chocolate
  • ice cream
  • high-fat cakes, pies, and cookies

What to Include

It may seem as though there are numerous delicious foods that you need to avoid or eat in small amounts. However, there are plenty of GERD-friendly foods that you can eat every day. The goal is to create a diet that consists of a variety of healthful foods, such lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and fruits and vegetables. Try incorporating the following foods and drinks:

  • nonfat or low-fat milk
  • non-mint herbal teas
  • non-citrus juices

Carbohydrates

  • rice
  • plain pasta
  • oatmeal
  • whole-grain bread
  • low-fat cereals
  • low-fat muffins
  • crackers
  • tortillas
  • pancakes
  • waffles
  • boiled potatoes
  • all vegetables with little added fat or sauces
  • non-citrus fruits, such as bananas, melons, and apples

Protein

  • lean meat, such as chicken and fish
  • low-fat cheese
  • low-fat yogurt
  • beans
  • peas
  • lentils
  • tofu
  • eggs
  • peanut butter

Healthier Fats

  • nuts and seeds
  • low-fat salad dressings
  • low-fat mayonnaise
  • small amounts of olive, sesame, vegetable, and sunflower oils
  • angel food cake
  • sponge cake
  • low-fat cookies
  • low-fat ice cream
  • sherbet
  • frozen yogurt
  • hard candy

Eating right for GERD doesn’t mean you have to stop eating all of your favorite foods. Making a few simple changes to your current diet may be enough to prevent or ease GERD symptoms. If your symptoms don’t improve with diet and other lifestyle changes, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor can perform various tests to evaluate the severity of your condition and determine the best course of treatment.

Q:

Aside from improving my eating habits, what else can I do to relieve or prevent GERD symptoms?

A:

Eliminating known GERD triggers from your diet can help improve your symptoms. Avoiding eating late meals, elevating the head of the bed, ensuring you do not eat while lying down, or not lying down for up to 3 hours after eating can also be helpful. If you are overweight, weight loss is recommended. Avoid smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol, as they both reduce lower esophageal sphincter pressure and can worsen GERD symptoms. Certain over-the-counter medications, such as antacids, histamine 2 receptor antagonists, and proton pump inhibitors can also help with resolution of symptoms. Talk to your healthcare provider about which medications are best for you.

Healthline Medical TeamAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

Five Steps to Reducing Acid Reflux

MENU

  • Home
  • Healthy Recipes
    • Breakfast
    • Soup
    • Salad
    • Main Course
      • Beef / Lamb / Venison
      • Chicken & Turkey
      • Fish
      • Pantry Meals
      • Pasta & Pizza
      • Pork
      • Shellfish
      • Stews & Soups
      • Vegetarian
      • Comfort Food
      • Cooking for One or Two
      • Recipes that Serve 2
      • Recipes that Serve 3
      • Recipes that Serve 4-5
      • Recipes that Serve 6
      • Recipes that Serve 8-12
    • Extras, Sides, & Sauces
    • Desserts
    • Healthy Cooking Info
      • Ingredients
      • Techniques
      • Equipment
      • Ingredient Equivalents
      • Chef Tim Says…Columns by Chef Tim Harlan
      • Ask Dr. GourmetQuestions & Answers About Cooking
  • Healthy Eating
    • What is a Mediterranean Diet?
    • How to Eat HealthyThe How & Why of Eating Healthy, Explained
    • Health & Nutrition BitesNutrition Research News (and what it means for you)
    • How to Eat Healthy at Fast Food RestaurantsThe Healthiest Choices at Fast Food Restaurants
    • How to Eat Healthy at Chain RestaurantsThe Healthiest Choices at Chain Restaurants
    • Frozen Food ReviewsReviews of frozen meals, ingredients, and more
    • Dr. Tim Says…Columns by Timothy S. Harlan, M.D.
    • Ask Dr. GourmetAnswers to Readers’ Questions
  • Special Diets
    • Diabetes / Diabetic Diet
    • Coumadin (warfarin)
      • Information
      • Get AnswersAsk Dr. Gourmet Questions About Coumadin
      • What Can I Eat?Food Lists & Recipes
      • Coumadin Cookbook & Diet Plan
      • Informacion en Espanol
    • GERD / Acid Reflux
    • Celiac Disease / Gluten Allergy
    • Low Sodium Diets
    • Lactose Intolerance
    • Gout Diet
    • Cystic Fibrosis
    • How to Lower CholesterolA Mediterranean-Style Diet Reduces Cholesterol
    • Healthy Eating for Seniors
    • Eating Healthy During Pregnancy
    • Healthy Eating for Kids
    • Ask Dr. GourmetAnswers to Readers’ Questions
  • Exercise, Tools, & Resources
    • ExerciseVideos, Exercise Programs, and More
    • Body Mass IndexCalculate Your BMI (& why it matters)
    • Waist to Hip RatioCalculate Your WHR (& why it matters)
    • Resources for Health ProfessionalsFree Handouts for Your Patients
  • Shop
  • Search

“The sooner we start an acid reflux diet and healthier lifestyle, the better,” recommends Danine Fruge, MD, Associate Medical Director at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, Florida.

GERD

That’s because acid reflux can become a serious, chronic condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. GERD can have several unpleasant symptoms that include difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, dry sore throat, and coughing, as well as heartburn. Depending on their severity, these symptoms can significantly impair daily quality of life. Worse yet, GERD can lead to life-threatening conditions, including esophageal ulcers and cancer.

Acid reflux, the flow of stomach acid back into the esophagus, can become a serious condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.

The problem with pills

So why not just take the medications that neutralize stomach acid or restrict its production? The problem is, except for the most serious cases of GERD, these drugs are not meant for long-term or continual use. Over time, they can have negative side effects. Antacids can eventually upset the digestive tract and lead to diarrhea or constipation. Proton pump inhibitors like Prevacid and Prilosec, which are used to reduce the production of stomach acid, have been linked to increased risk of osteoporosis (brittle bone disease), pneumonia, and negative drug interactions.

And unfortunately, the many pills now available to treat acid reflux have done little to curtail its incidence. Approximately 40% of adult Americans now suffer from acid reflux. And shockingly, rates of esophageal cancer in the U.S. have increased 500% since the 1970s. Research, particularly a recent study from Denmark following more than 9, 800 GERD sufferers, has linked proton pump inhibitors with increase risk of esophageal cancer.

Have a conversation with your physician

“So, begin by talking with your doctor about the risks and benefits of extended use of drugs to treat your acid reflux,” advises Dr. Fruge.

Know the cause to know the solution

Secondly, keep in mind that, as with many things in life, the solution to a problem can often be found by examining its causes.

Following an acid reflux diet and other lifestyle solutions can help you reduce and maybe even eliminate acid reflux.

For the vast majority of people, acid reflux and GERD are brought on by lifestyle-related factors, including:

  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Obesity
  • Diets high in fat
  • Diets high in acid
  • Diets high in spices
  • Diets high in sugar
  • Diets high in caffeine
  • Large, late-night meals, especially just before bedtime
  • Stress

Acid Reflux Diet and Lifestyle – Pritikin Program

From this list, readers of our Pritikin Perspective newsletter can probably already discern the solution: Pritikin living. Eating healthy, exercising regularly, and reducing stress can prevent and treat more than just cardiovascular-related diseases. They are the solution to a whole host of health problems, including acid reflux and GERD.

Observes Dr. Fruge, MD, “Our guests at the Pritikin Longevity Center are amazed that not only do problems like high blood pressure and high cholesterol disappear with healthy Pritikin living, their acid reflux disappears, too.”

Pritikin Diet for Acid Reflux

Enjoy a superabundance of healthy delicious foods, and kiss acid reflux goodbye! Learn more about the healthiest diet on earth.

13 Key Lifestyle Solutions For Acid Reflux

To prevent or reduce acid reflux, start an acid reflux diet and lifestyle like the Pritikin Program. Here are 13 key lifestyle-based solutions:

  1. Exercise regularly.
  2. Employ stress-reducing skills like meditation and yoga. Even something as simple as 10 minutes daily of deep breathing can be hugely beneficial.

    A recliner set at a 45-degree angle or higher can help prevent reflux in the evening after dinner (image courtesy of Northwestern University).

  3. Enjoy a full night’s sleep, every night.
  4. Eat plenty of whole foods naturally low in fat and sugar, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nonfat dairy, and fish.
  5. Steer clear of fatty meat, sugary drinks (especially carbonated drinks), processed foods, and fatty, sugary desserts.
  6. Drink little or no alcohol and caffeine.
  7. If spicy foods or acidic fruits like oranges, lemons, and tomatoes seem to lead to symptoms of acid reflux, avoid them.
  8. Play detective. Keep a diary of eating and activities to see what exacerbates acid reflux symptoms; then eliminate the culprits.
  9. Eat dinner earlier in the evening, preferably before 7 PM.

    Before falling asleep at night, raise your body so that your esophagus is more upright, at a 45-degree angle, using a wedge or bed. (image courtesy of Buzzle).

  10. Don’t lie down or go to sleep after eating. “Sit upright for at least three hours after a meal,” recommends Dr. Fruge. “A recliner set at a 45-degree angle or higher is a good option for preventing reflux in the evening after dinner. Even better, take an after-dinner walk before reclining.”
  11. Before falling asleep for the night, try raising your head, shoulders, and torso so that your esophagus is more upright, at a 45-degree angle, using a wedge or bed. “Just propping the head with a pillow does not work,” clarifies Dr. Fruge.
  12. Quit smoking.
  13. If you’re overweight, follow a healthy diet and exercise program like Pritikin to help shed the excess weight, and keep it off.

A Happier, Healthier Life

Following these acid reflux diet and lifestyle-related modifications can greatly increase your chances of living without the unpleasant symptoms of acid reflux, and, in the long run, avoiding the possibility of serious health consequences.

And certainly, by following a healthy lifestyle like Pritikin, “you will improve your overall health and well being,” concludes Dr. Fruge.

Health Resort

Take life to the next level, and be all that you can be. That’s what a vacation at Pritikin is all about. Live better. Look better. Best of all, feel better.

All-Inclusive Program

Since 1975, 100,000+ people have come to Pritikin. We are the longest-running, most scientifically documented health resort in America.

Rooms and Suites

Our newly renovated guest rooms at the health resort are spacious, serene, and amenity-rich. Each has a gorgeous garden view.

Healthy Living and Food Choices
  • too much soy
  • diet center diet plan
  • alternatives to bypass surgery
  • best diet for metabolic syndrome
  • health benefits of fava beans
Best Weight Control and Exercise Options
  • exercises to strengthen middle back
  • exercise camps for adults
  • weight loss specials
  • weight loss vacation packages
  • medical resort
Popular Health and Fitness Information
  • how to lower cholesterol fast
  • how to lower your cholesterol without medication
  • how long does it take to lower blood pressure
  • how to lower cholesterol without medication
  • how to protect yourself from cancer

Cooking for Someone With GERD

Preparing GERD-friendly meals is perhaps the first and most important defense against the painful symptoms of acid reflux. When cooking for someone who suffers from GERD, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the foods that are most likely to trigger acid production and then select recipes that avoid those ingredients. Common aggravators such as tomato products, fried and fatty foods, chocolate, whole-fat dairy, mints, citrus, and alcohol should be strictly limited or avoided entirely. But even healthy, low-acid foods can provoke stomach distress when cooked in fat or doused with certain spices. For a more complete list of foods to eliminate or avoid, see Everyday Health’s article on trigger foods.

Because certain cooking methods can lead to an overproduction of gastrin, the hormone that stimulates the production of stomach acid, changing the way you prepare and cook meals can dramatically reduce the severity and frequency of heartburn. Here are some ideas and cooking techniques to keep that burning sensation at bay, and to keep you and the rest of your family healthy too.

Cut the Fat

  • Trim any visible fat and skin off meat, and try to avoid meats that are generally higher in overall fat, such as beef and duck.
  • Limit or avoid the use of oils and butter.
  • When browning ground beef, drain the fat from the pan before adding other ingredients.

Skip the Frying Pan and Try a Healthier Method

  • Roasting or broiling meat, fish, and poultry eliminates the need for added fats.
  • Braising foods in a slow cooker with just a small amount of liquid over low heat produces moist, full-flavored dishes.
  • Steaming and poaching will keep the fat content low while maintaining the natural flavor of your food.
  • Use chicken, vegetable, or mushroom broth to keep foods moist and flavorful.
  • If you must sauté or panfry, reach for a spray-on oil to minimize fat. These are available in a variety of flavors, such as olive oil and butter.
  • Purchase a good wok and learn to stir-fry. A little bit of oil goes a long way when you stir-fry vegetables and meat.

Substitutions Can Be the Key to Keeping Favorite Recipes

  • Try ground turkey instead of ground beef, chicken sausage instead of pork sausage.
  • For baking, applesauce can be used in place of oil or butter, and egg whites used instead of whole eggs.
  • Cream sauces don’t have to be a thing of the past.
  • Replace the cream with evaporated milk or nonfat yogurt, or try 1 percent milk whisked together with a teaspoon or two of flour (cook a few minutes until thickened).

Spice It Up

Making dishes flavorful will keep the GERD patient, you, and the rest of your family satisfied and happy. While some spices, such as cayenne, black pepper, curry, cinnamon, mustard, chili, and nutmeg, can certainly aggravate reflux, many do not. Fresh herbs such as basil, cilantro, and ginger, as well as dried herbs like rosemary, thyme, dill, and oregano, boost flavor and add character to otherwise bland dishes

Portion Control

Large servings can contribute to reflux. Prepare and serve the GERD patient just enough for a healthful portion. Three ounces of fish or meat is considered a reasonable portion, which is about the size of a deck of cards. One cup of potatoes, vegetables, rice, or pasta looks like a tennis ball, and a serving of bread is one slice, a small bagel (the size of your fist), or half of a large bagel. Always check the recommended serving size on packaged foods, and use a measuring cup until you’re able to determine the correct serving by eye.

Your favorite family recipes don’t have to be filed away for good. With a few changes and tweaks, most dishes can be prepared in a way that will satisfy everyone and still minimize reflux. Remember, many of these techniques are good for everyone’s health and are not only heartburn friendly but heart healthy too.

6 Foods That Can Alleviate the Horribleness of Acid Reflux

Photo by Aka Photo-Illustration TIME

Experiencing acid reflux is not pleasant. In some cases, it’s downright painful. Just ask the millions of Americans who have symptoms on a monthly—and sometimes even daily—basis. While many sufferers rely on over-the-counter and prescription medication to treat the condition, lifestyle changes may be just as effective.

Here, three medical experts explain the condition, what causes it, and why small tweaks to your routine, including eating certain foods, can play a big role in reducing that dreaded burn.

Struggling to cook healthy? We’ll help you prep.

Sign up for our new weekly newsletter, ThePrep, for inspiration and support for all your meal plan struggles.

What Exactly Is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux is the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus, aka the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach, says Peyton Berookim, MD, FACG, a Los Angeles-based double board-certified gastroenterologist and director of the Gastroenterology Institute of Southern California. Every time you swallow, he explains, a circular band of muscle around the bottom of your esophagus, known as the lower esophageal sphincter, relaxes to allow food and liquid to flow forward into your stomach. From there, the sphincter typically closes, though if it sphincter relaxes abnormally or weakens for any reason, the stomach acid can flow back into the esophagus.

The acid in your stomach is particularly strong, explains Sunit Srivastava, MD, at Florida-based Legacy Health Medical Group, LLC, so when it leaks out into other areas of your body, it can cause a range of reactions, from irritation and inflammation to pre-cancerous and sometimes even cancerous conditions. “Acid reflux can range from being benign and annoying to terminal, if it’s left untreated and severe enough,” says Srivastava, who specializes in internal medicine and geriatrics.

For many people, the condition will manifest as a sour taste in the mouth or a burning sensation in the chest, known best as heartburn, says Berookim. Other signs and symptoms may include regurgitation of food or sour liquid, coughing, wheezing, difficulty swallowing, raspy voice, and even chest pain, he adds.

What Causes It?

There are several things that can cause acid reflux. The first: what Srivastava describes as “a chemical phenomenon” that relaxes the valve at the top of the stomach, causing it to open and thus allowing the acid to travel upwards. The phenomenon can be triggered by nicotine, alcohol and “very large meals,” he says.

Two other causes are the result of “mechanical phenomena,” says Srivastava. The first involves part of the stomach moving out into the chest cavity. “It sounds a lot worse than it is,” he says. “A lot of people have it.” The second is due to excess body weight, particularly in the midsection. A gut pushing down increases the pressure in the stomach and pushes the acid up,” says Srivastava.

Who Is at Risk for Acid Reflux?

People with certain conditions are more at-risk for developing acid reflux. These include obesity, hiatal hernia, pregnancy, connective tissue disorders, and delayed stomach emptying, says Berookim. On top of that, certain lifestyle factors can worsen acid reflux, including smoking, eating heavy meals (especially late at night), fatty or fried foods, tomatoes and citrus fruits, chocolate, peppermint, and drinking alcohol or coffee, he adds. These high-acid foods add acid to the stomach and increase the likelihood of irritation, says Maya Feller, New York-based registered dietitian.

Do you have acid reflux? Here’s what to read next:

  • Should You Be Drinking Low-Acid Coffee?
  • Foods That Make Acid Reflux Worse
  • Why Adults Shouldn’t Eat Baby Food

How Can Certain Foods Help?

Just as certain foods may trigger acid reflux, others can assuage the condition.“What works for one may not work for all,” caveats Feller, “but generally we encourage folks to consume low-acid foods.” Foods that are higher in pH are lower in acid. Generally the pH is not listed on label, so it can be difficult to determine this. Here, recommended options from Feller and Berookim.

Oatmeal

This fiber-filled breakfast food may coat the sensitive lining of the esophagus, says Berookim, and is not an irritant for most people, says Feller. Try these Make-Ahead Oatmeal Jars for healthy, hot, acid reflux-free breakfasts all week long.

Aloe Vera

This plant doesn’t just soothe sunburns—it may also soothe your GI system. Studies suggest that drinking 100% aloe vera juice without any additives or anthraquinones (an organic compound in aloe that can be a laxative) may reduce acid reflux symptoms. Blend aloe vera juice with cucumber, spinach, and celery for a sippable solution, suggest Feller.

Fennel

This spicy-sweet vegetable may help with digestion, says Feller. Fennel teas “have a wonderful flavor and generally can be consumed daily,” she adds, and fennel bulb can be cooked with lentils and other root vegetables or sliced and eaten raw with greens. Check out these fennel-centric recipes for inspiration.

Melon

Many fruits, like oranges, cranberries, kiwis and pomegranates, are acidic. But melon, including cantaloupe and honeydew, are not, which means they’re likely good bets for those with acid reflux. Have a few slices at breakfast, or as an afternoon snack.

Bananas

Another stomach settling fruit, bananas—especially ripe bananas—have a high pH. You can always eat them plain, add them to your oatmeal for a doubly good option, or try baking with them.

Green vegetables

When it comes to vegetables, leafy greens like kale and spinach are healthy, low-in-acid options. Learn how to cook kale here, and scope these 39 spinach recipes.

The bottom line

If you think you have acid reflux, head to your doc for an official evaluation, as the symptoms you’re experiencing may be a result of other conditions, like ulcers, or even heart disease, says Srivastava. If you do indeed have acid reflux, lifestyle modification is your best bet for combatting it, says Srivastava. That’s because prescription drugs used to treat acid reflux come with a range of side effects, including increased risk of pneumonia, hip and spine fractures, and C. diff (a life-threatening condition); vitamin malabsorption; and progression of osteoporosis. Certain medications may also have links with dementia, he says.

Helpful lifestyle changes include losing excess weight, eating smaller meals, and swapping the foods that typically cause heartburn for the safer bets mentioned above. On top of that, you should stop eating at least three hours before bed, Berookim adds. Exercise is another great way to alleviate the condition, says Srivastava. In addition to helping overweight patients lose weight, sweating on the reg helps your body release endorphins that can alleviate pressure on your esophagus, he explains.

This Article is Written and/or Reviewed by RefluxMD Medical Authors Team and Reviewers

Since a hiatal hernia is often the underlying cause of GERD symptoms, many people express interest in effective treatments, including a specific hiatal hernia diet. This is an important question since our medical advisors always encourage those suffering from acid reflux to first start with weight management, diet, and lifestyle changes to manage their symptoms. However, as we found out when we were seeking a GERD-friendly diet program, they are very hard to find.

Hiatal hernia and GERD symptoms

A hiatal hernia is a condition where the upper portion of the stomach moves upward through the diaphragm and into the chest. In some cases, a hiatal hernia is the cause of GERD symptoms. However, for many, GERD can also weaken the lower esophageal sphincter, which permits the stomach to move up into the diaphragm. Dr. Dengler’s article, The relationship between hiatal hernias and GERD, he offers an excellent discussion of this issue. He also notes that a hiatal hernias are not always synonymous with GERD as well.

For many who suffer from GERD symptoms and a hiatal hernia, most GERD-experts would recommend a surgical procedure to restore the stomach to is proper position below the diaphragm. A Nissan fundoplication is the typically the best procedure for medium to large hiatal hernias, however, when a hiatal hernia is small, other procedures, including the LINX procedure, can be equally effective.

Natural treatments for a hiatal hernia

Prior to any surgical procedure, experts first recommend a comprehensive, natural approach to symptom management. Most doctors will recommend proton pump inhibitor medications (PPI), but RefluxMD’s medical advisors are concerned about the long-term daily use of PPIs. There are several issues noted by the FDA, and medical research has also highlighted many potential medical risks with these drugs when taken daily for many years. Rather, a healthier more comprehensive approach includes 1) maintaining a healthy BMI, 2) adopting a GERD-friendly diet, 3) making several lifestyle changes, 4) using less powerful medications such antacids or H2 blockers, and 5) experimenting with several home remedies. We cover several lifestyle changes and medications in a related article, Hiatal hernia pain and acid reflux, that you will find informative.

Key facts about hiatal hernia diet

It is important to note that a specific hiatal hernia diet to manage GERD symptoms is consistent with a GERD-friendly diet. We discuss in more detail in our article, 5 steps to an acid reflux diet, our comprehensive guide to building a GERD-friendly diet and/or weight loss plan. Dr. Frank Jackson, a retired gastroenterologist, summarized many great points about diets for his patients in a blog post titled Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Diet. Here are his direct recommendations that mirror those of our medical advisors:

The following foods aggravate acid reflux, and should be avoided:

  • fatty or fried foods
  • peppermint and spearmint
  • whole milk
  • oils
  • chocolate
  • creamed foods or soups
  • most fast foods

The following foods irritate an inflamed lower esophagus and may need to be limited or avoided:

  • citrus fruits and juices (grapefruit, orange, pineapple, tomato)
  • coffee (regular and decaffeinated)
  • caffeinated soft drinks
  • tea
  • other caffeinated beverages
  • spicy or acidic foods may not be tolerated by some individuals.

I also encourage you to review the table Dr. Jackson developed summarizing different food groups with his recommendations as well as items to avoid.

Unfortunately, it is very difficult to find any food plans that address the needs of those suffering from GERD. There are vegan diets, diabetes diets, high protein diets, low carbohydrate diets, Mediterranean diets, “Therapeutic Lifestyle” diets, Asian diets, and alkaline diets, but we believe that all come up short. Few if any, avoid specific foods that will trigger reflux symptoms. As a result, RefluxMD developed Recipe for Relief, a safe and natural meal plan and diet program for anyone seeking acid reflux relief.

The DASH diet – a foundation for weight management and good health

For many years US News and World Report has been rating diets using a group of health experts. For the last five years, the top-rated diet overall has been the DASH diet, a program described as “obscure”, but ranked higher than brand names like Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, The Mayo Clinic Diet, and The Mediterranean Diet. Here is what US News had to say about the DASH Diet:

DASH was developed to fight high blood pressure, not as an all-purpose diet. But it certainly looked like an all-star to our panel of experts, who gave it high marks for its nutritional completeness, safety, ability to prevent or control diabetes and role in supporting heart health. Though obscure, it beat out a field full of better-known diets.

RefluxMD and its advisors were so impressed with the DASH diet that we used it as the foundation for Recipe for Relief. With that as the basic plan, we simply modified it to ensure that it was GERD-friendly for those seeking acid reflux relief. Since the National Institute of Health was the developer of the DASH diet, we have some links that will help you learn more about these topics directly from them:

Daily caloric needs for men and women

HHS and USDA dietary guidelines

I hope this helps

A hiatal hernia diet, or GERD-friendly diet, is a key component to symptom relief, but by itself, it may not be enough. That is why our medical advisors highly recommend a comprehensive treatment approach as described above. Should that not result is satisfactory symptoms reduction, then antireflux surgery should be considered. Prior to making any changes or building your path to relief, we always recommend that you partner with a GERD expert.

Please note, RefluxMD does not provide medical advice. This content is provided for informational purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for direct medical advice from your healthcare provider. See our Terms of Use for more detailed information.

6 Delicious Recipes to Include in Your GERD Diet

Diet and Recipes for GERD

A great way to avoid the symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux is to develop a GERD diet. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a disorder in which the ring of muscles that separates the esophagus and the stomach becomes weak causing acid reflux or heartburn. Because the muscles are weak, they allow the flow back (reflux) of stomach acid and food.

The types of food we eat and the ingredients we use in recipes can cause heartburn and acid reflux. Below is a list of GERD symptoms:

  • Burning sensation in the chest
  • Difficult swallowing
  • Dry Cough
  • Soar throat
  • Regurgitation of food (acid reflux)
  • Feel like there’s a lump in your throat

So, how do we avoid GERD symptoms?

Avoid GERD Triggers in Your Diet

Since certain kinds of food and ingredients can increase the risk of experiencing GERD symptoms, it’s best to avoid them. Below is a list of common GERD triggers:

  • Garlic, raw onions, and spicy food
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruits like grapefruit and oranges
  • Coffee or other caffeinated drinks
  • Peppermint
  • Tomatoes

Good Foods and Ingredients to Include in Your GERD Diet

According to health.com, there are a number of foods we can include in our diet to fight GERD symptoms. Below is list of 13 GERD-friendly foods and ingredients:

  • Oatmeal
  • Ginger
  • Aloe vera
  • Salad
  • Bananas
  • Melon
  • Fennel
  • Chicken and Turkey
  • Fish and Seafood
  • Roots and greens (Cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, green beans)
  • Celery
  • Parsley
  • Rice

Adopt a GERD-Friendly Lifestyle

There are several things we can do to help manage symptoms of GERD. Below is an example of changes that WebMD recommends:

  • Eat smaller portions more frequently throughout the day
  • Don’t eat just before going to bed
  • Lose weight
  • Stop smoking
  • Elevate the head when sleeping
  • Adopt a diet that minimizes the symptoms of GERD

Eat a GERD-Friendly Diet

One of the best ways to beat GERD is to develop a GERD diet that includes foods and uses ingredients that don’t trigger acid reflux or heartburn. This website is dedicated to providing recipes that you can incorporate into your GERD diet. Below are 7 recipes we recommend:

Maple Salmon

This maple salmon recipe combines fresh baked salmon with delicious sweet maple syrup. It’s is a winner in my house, especially with the kids. How can they complain? There’s syrup on it!

By gerFoodieGuru

  • 4
  • 20min

Shrimp Linguini

This shrimp linguini recipe combines herbs and garlic in a white wine sauce; and, it’s quick and easy to make. This dish is best served with warm bread. Call your friends over, they’ll love it.

By gerFoodieGuru

  • 4
  • 20min

Crispy Baked Potato

This is a simple recipe for a hearty baked potato. The skin comes out so crispy and full of flavor. Put these in the oven and throw a lean steak on the grill.

By gerFoodieGuru

  • 4
  • 1h

Grilled Chicken Wings

This marinade with just enough egg to cling the flavor to the wings creates a delicious and crispy skin that’s hard to beat. You can bake these wings, but grilling them is the best. So, fire up the grill and enjoy!

By gerFoodieGuru

  • 4
  • 20min

Chicken Noodle Soup

With cold and flu season upon us, chicken noodle soup is the perfect recipe to have in your arsenal. This recipe is easy to make and the difference between canned and home-made soup is huge. You just can’t beat home-made soup.

By gerFoodieGuru

  • 4
  • 30min

Grilled Pork Loin

You’ll love this tender and juicy grilled pork loin with an earthy and sweet taste. It’s best grilled but you can also bake it with great results.

By gerFoodieGuru

  • 4
  • 40min

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *