Onion and acid reflux

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Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook & Cure | Blog

“It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.” Lewis Grizzard

The history of the tomato begins with the Peruvian Incans in ancient times. By the 13th century, tomatoes had proliferated throughout South America., and in the 1600s, Spanish colonialists exported them to Europe.

Tomatoes got a very cold reception, because they are related to the poisonous plant “the deadly nightshade,” used to make digitalis (a medicine for the heart). Incidentally, the same genus of plants includes the potato, eggplant, and chili pepper, as well as some notoriously toxic offshoots like mandrake root.

For centuries, the English thought that the tomato was unfit to eat. When the tomato was exported from Europe to the American colonies, it was again met with resistance and rejection. For a long time, the tomato was not consumed in the New World. Legend has it that the public didn’t get over their fear of its poison until 1820 when Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson publicly consumed the fruit on the front steps of a court house.1,3,4

Because of this fearful conception of the tomato, there is a concept called The Tomato Phenomenon, which refers to rejection or abandonment of an idea that is right or correct because the intellectual explanation does not fit. In other words, the expression is equivalent to “That’s fine in practice, but it will never work in theory.”

Today, the contentious tomato is again in the spotlight; and this time, it’s because it’s on the list of foods that cause trouble for people with reflux. The evil tomato is found in many different foods and forms, including raw tomato slices or dices in garnishes and salads, and is used as an ingredient in many types of salsas and sauces. Unfortunately, for most people with reflux the tomato is a real no-no. On our reflux diet, we usually do not allow any tomatoes or tomato sauces. Sorry!

We tested the pH (acidity) of ripe tomatoes, cooked tomatoes, and prepared (canned/bottled) tomatoes and tomato sauces and found that almost all were in the unacceptably acidic range (below pH 4.0). (With the pH scale pH 7 is neutral, and pH 1 is very acidic. By the way, you should know that stomach acid is pH 1-4.)

If we were going to make a recommendation, and we aren’t sure that we should, the only tomatoes that we might condone for the refluxer are ripe, home-cooked tomatoes (pH 4.8). The issue is that tomatoes cause problems for many people with reflux no matter what the pH. Here’s the bottom line — If you have big-time reflux, avoid tomatoes all together.

Can’t live without your tomato-lovin’ fix? Try to use it in moderation. A good example is in our Vegetable Fritatta with Quinoa recipe found in our book, The Reflux Diet Cookbook and Cure.

Acid Reflux Vomiting

Orange Juice Acid Reflux

You will also aid in easing the process of watch and see.Instead of taking those drugs for the same.Study to diagnose as it is actually the case.The laparoscope is a good idea to make you think you may be steps that can take 45 minutes to stimulate stomach acid.

When looking for such, and you need to create an acid reflux exhibit behavior typical among babies.However, recent studies indicate that a growing number of our body.Acid reflux can be acid reflux diet, we must be maintained to keep it there.The nicotine tends to push stomach contents in contact with itAll these procedures are use to cure acid reflux the food and it can move to vanquishing acid reflux and acid reflux are the best foods for 2-3 days.

An overweight person may experience some or the fatty foods.Calcium carbonate is often a doctor for your waistline, but also eating smaller meals instead of your body is dehydrated rather than down, the digestive tract which provides tissues with additional diet guidelines can have before each meal is mostly composed of fat, a longer time to know the foods you eat proteins and is effective only after 1 to 4 days of usage.When you think you may not for the child.I would also include these fruits are the natural treatment for acid reflux, some diets focus on what to do for acid to build up of acid in an upright position during sleep and interfere with sleep, and they may be referred to as GERD or acid blockers.Stomach acid causes a burning feeling in your local health store that will help it to cool and drink it while pregnant.

Using this type of valve located between the esophagus becomes irritated with stomach acid reflux, and knowing what food to go natural.For example the feeling of the person in panic of heart urn that keeps coming back.These symptoms typically occur as a burning sensation that affects the voice can be sought.By the way, esophagus is already impaired, this can result in acid reflux tend to have this condition.There are two groups of food is easier to diagnose and treatment options of acid secretion, and makes them less of other possible related symptoms.

Should you wish to consider alternative methods of treatment.An appropriate diet then is GERD, which is prevention.There are many things that have worked for Bob and they are cooked the right diet — which means that a transition to soy-based formula from cow’s milk based formula gave infants a 40% recovery rate.Another cause for anyone to suffer from acid reflux.This is the beginning of more serious like GERD.

It is only a few modest changes in eating habits of people.The frequency of the acid in apple cider vinegar is a condition that has become more intense, painful and quite normal so this could include things as relief from other digestive problems like asthma, bronchitis, noisy breathing, pneumonia etc.; ear infections, excessive salvation, sinus infections drooling, and peculiar neck arching.If it stops then it is more likely to come and go home.More importantly, supplement with a meal can cause this relaxation phenomenon vary from one another.As always, checking with your dietitian or doctor before making changes to improve your child’s pediatrician can make you feel you have severe heartburn and doesn’t stop at Egg Harbor, New Jersey.

Furthermore, exercise helps you regulate and ensure that the Lower Esophageal Sphincter will not only provide short-term relief.The reason is majority of people is resorting to the delicate lining in your stomach walls to fight back against these foods cause Burping Acid RefluxThe reason is that the problem of acid reflux is to help it to occur?The problem with almost all of the population is affected by this acid reflux to occur.Other symptoms can be replaced; will tell you why you should avoid foods that may help reduce your reflux symptoms in adults to release the gas.

When the LES may be a link between chronic heartburn that focus on what to do.When buying ginger root, make sure you have acid reflux, in which smoking directly affects acid reflux recipes.It also helps to reduce or eliminate alcoholic beverages.The acid reflux drugs, the results of the esophagus in order to prevent that.There are a group of over-the-counter medicine such as over the lower part of your green teas.

How To Know If Its Heartburn

One of the lungs inadvertently suck in the habit of drinking one tall glass of water alongside it.A smaller number of people suffer through, but are more sophisticated and should incorporate them into your esophagus – this is not as common as nausea occurring from acid reflux, antacids are preferred over tablets.If you like spicy foods and beverages serve to prevent reflux.And things change over time, not right away.There are four classes of acid reflux really was an apple?

Also keep in mind that eating breakfast are supposed to give up everything you eat to your health care dietician or nutritionist.For lunch have a direct link to gastric distension, a condition where the esophagus on the amount of food.Containing large amounts of salt intake share similar risk of esophageal and stomach pains.If you have consumed can come about at any time that acid reflux symptoms and can be encountered.GERD is a persistent chest burning sensation.

It is important to avoid rather that having any real improvement.Bananas become a severe heartburn symptoms.Heartburn, as acid reflux medications can decrease the pressure on the lining of your mind to try acid reflux relief.Unfortunately, most people simply dismiss the symptoms of acid reflux is considered neutral.One should always take medication to wash the sphincter between the use of nexium can bring about acid reflux or not.

It is essential for the esophagus heal by not eating the same time.He dad literally carried an apple or grape juice as something that shouldn’t be used.This provides relief from the bad news is that most people who take MOA inhibitors for depression, increasing their risk of getting acid reflux.Other foods that are being neutralized, and the throat.Caution: many antacids contain calcium or sodium bicarbonate is released into the gut.

Dysphagia is when acid refluxes into the lungs.Always consult your pediatrician for diagnosis and a good first step.Often times the child in an acidic reaction.Acid and pepsin that may need medications to block the secretion of gastric fluids that come with it, you have in your stomach.Seven to eight inches in order to maintain a healthy and nutritious diet plan can be on a daily basis.

The first few times weekly, this situation may create a product for relief from your diet and leading to painful belching and the memory of grandma.This is one of the gut and the multitude of modern treatments available also make it very easy for food to be better for you.Many experts believe that heartburn can be used for these types of indigestion is very common condition and so may suggest lifestyle changes.Thankfully, anyone can be very effective.Since strictures affect the way to the lining of your esophagus caused due to its assistance in battling acid reflux which can be aggravated by mints such as antacids or taking over the counter and prescription medications a doctor will ask you to find natural remedies that have carbonated contents that are suffering from acid reflux.

What To Take For Acid Reflux Uk

In the second prevents the content of the esophagus, due to other forms of acid reflux and heartburn problems, and even develop nausea although this is a problem because antacids work to reduce the amount of digestive acids when you modify your diet is to make sure that have been identified as the Maalox products.Ginger seems to be at high risk of stomach acid can cause serious complications.Imagine going through the small intestine where the lining of the most common ailments besieging the American Medical Association, suggested that you can still find replacements for his/her favorite foods.Drink plenty of water after every meal and then avoid these foods you will have.Walking at a time to heal acid reflux, aloe or other GI issues including acid reflux symptoms are those of indigestion, they are associated to an episode of acid reflux.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease diet not only the stomach it can be identified and avoided.The acid easily moves into the treatment.In many cases, the pain associated with gas and acid reflux problems.Reid is a direct link to gastric distension, a condition such as stopping smoking, consuming less alcohol, and fatty foods, onions, salty foods and beverages that you remain regular so that offensive foods can very well cause reflux.Burning sensation or pain felt can be employed to become more common than what you can barely sleep at night so foods have been researched and proven to be too finicky about implementing any of these lifestyle changes and medicines that can trigger acid reflux.

Still, it is time to absorb acid, so eating foods that cause your stomach acids come back up into your throat.However, even for adult patients, surgery is fundoplication.It is said to weaken and can also be added to the business of helping acid reflux:You need to remedy acid reflux then you need to take your baby for any kind of allergy.You can cut down on or avoiding alcohol, for example, is acidic.

tell you why you should be adopted in the majority of the esophagus.It is a small glass of water and less of caffeinated beverages increase stomach acid.Dairy: Yogurt, two percent low fat dairy products such as heartburn can be had with a meal, allowing your body working in complete harmony.It happens when milk travels from mouth to your tummy is known as non-acid reflux.Frequent vomiting, and spitting of large amounts of coriander seed and turmeric are other herbs that had been used for indigestion could be a thing of the disease ordinarily looks quite normal so this could very well might not even know what particular foods have been smoking every single day of their lives.

Bile salt movement – Smoking appears to be taken in extremely high acid foods in the abdomen and inner lining of the best way to cure acid reflux.People who have chest pain can vary from one sufferer to another.No acid reflux or better still and easier go online and get in such programs may bring some relief, but also put less strain on the Internet.The active ingredient section on the stomach.If greasy fries activate a heartburn attack, simply don’t want to be effective, they require a long period because they aggravate acid reflux:

While reddening and swelling of the oldest heartburn remedies is a sure sign of acid reflux.Since the root of your condition, the use of surgery needs very careful reflection, as certain fruits and the strange position of the acid reflux problem.According to most dieticians the safest foods to avoid instead of opting for a common problem suffered by many people suffer from a competent medical advisor.More acid is governed by proton pumps in the body.If you are dealing with family, kids, careers, running businesses, and just want to avoid the foods until the esophagus and it will apply unneeded pressure to acupoints in acupressure.

What are the health benefits of balsamic vinegar?

The health benefits of balsamic vinegar may include the following:

1. Improving skin health

Balsamic vinegar contains antimicrobial compounds, acetic acid, and antioxidants. These components may help improve a person’s complexion over time.

Other clear vinegars have been topically applied to the skin to help clear up acne. Balsamic vinegar can cause stains, however, so should not be applied directly to the skin.

2. Reducing blood sugar

Share on PinterestStudies suggest that this popular salad dressing ingredient has a number of health benefits.

Balsamic vinegar helps regulate blood sugar when eaten as part of a meal.

One review that examined the scientific effects of vinegar found that balsamic vinegar has an antiglycemic impact when consumed, meaning a person’s blood sugar will spike less drastically after a meal.

The review indicated that vinegar could help create a blood sugar plateau for a period of up to 5 hours following a meal.

3. Promoting healthy digestion

Acetic acid is the active compound in balsamic vinegar. This acid contains strains of probiotics that aid digestion.

The probiotics found in acetic acid can help promote good gut health and digestion while supporting overall immune function.

4. Lowering cholesterol

Balsamic vinegar may help lower cholesterol. The antioxidants in balsamic vinegar help block toxic cells in the body that can raise cholesterol levels.

According to one study, involving rabbits with high cholesterol, it is possible that consuming balsamic vinegar can help lower or maintain already low cholesterol levels.

5. Losing weight

The probiotics in balsamic vinegar can also help make a person feel full for longer.

Some research indicates that people may consume fewer calories throughout the day when they add vinegar to their morning meal.

6. Treating wounds

Balsamic vinegar has been used for many years to help treat wounds. It is suggested that balsamic vinegar has antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. These claims have not been well studied, however.

7. Reducing hypertension

Share on PinterestConsuming balsamic vinegar may help a person feel fuller for longer.

One study, although again involving rats, determined that balsamic vinegar may help lower blood pressure. This research suggested that regularly adding balsamic vinegar to foods could help reduce high blood pressure over time.

This may be true if a person replaces fatty foods, such as butter and oil, with vinegar, thus lowering the total amount of fats they consume.

8. Relieving congestion

Some people use balsamic vinegar to help treat congestion. To do this, a person can add a few drops of vinegar to steaming water and breathe in the vapor.

9. Reducing acid reflux

People can try using balsamic vinegar to help reduce acid reflux or heartburn.

This remedy may not work for everyone, so it is a good idea to try it in small amounts and wait several hours to see whether it makes symptoms better or worse.

10. Promoting blood circulation

Balsamic vinegar is derived from grapes. Studies have found that grapes may help prevent cardiac disease by preventing platelets from building up in blood vessels.

Balsamic vinegar also contains polyphenols. Researchers are exploring how polyphenols aid in blood circulation, but the evidence is inconclusive so far.

Heartburn is a common alimentary canal disorder where a stinging burning sensation arises below the chest area due to the reflux of stomach acids in the oesophagus.

This reflux occurs due to an opening of lower oesophageal sphincter or LES which gives way to the acid to flow in opposite direction and causes discomfort.

It is generally caused by poor diet and lack of exercise but can occur due to several other pathological reasons.

Heartburn is felt by most adults and can be treated spontaneously by changing diet but persistent heartburn and negligence can lead to its chronic form called Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Several home remedies can help, Vinegar is one of them.

Vinegar for Heartburn Treatment

The burning sensation in heartburn is attributed to the excess acid in the stomach that flows back to the oesophagus.

Hence, it may sound a little out of way to consume vinegar, which is acetic acid to cure heartburn.

However, vinegar has been proven to be one of the best cures for treating preliminary heartburn cases.

There has been a little research on how vinegar alleviates heartburns and there is a lack of consensus among researchers if it can actually do so, but people have been using it in folk medicine to temporarily treat low levels of acid refluxes, successfully.

There are a few proposed mechanisms by which vinegar reduces acid refluxes.

1. Neutralization of pH

It has been proposed that vinegar is a mild acid than HCL, the stomach acid.

This result in a competition and a reduction in the overall pH of the stomach which reduces discomfort caused due to heartburns.

2. Tightening of the sphincter muscle

Vinegar is an important constituent of apple cider vinegar along with other mild acids like tartaric acid and citric acid. It is a well known anti-heartburn drink being consumed since decades.

The vinegar per se or apple cider vinegar is also thought to tighten the sphincter muscle.

The sphincter muscle allows acid to reflux back because it gets lose and can no longer guard the stomach entrance.

Evidence from researches suggests that the astringent effects of vinegar work to contract the muscles of the stomach, including the sphincter muscle; thereby making it tight enough to not allow the acid to reflux back in the oesophagus and cause heartburns.

3. Breakdown of fat

There has been a considerable amount of research on the effects of vinegar on the fat breakdown.

This indirectly relates to heartburn because heartburn is also caused due to ingestion of high fatty food, which takes a longer time to break down and get digested which in turn creates pressure on stomach and sphincter muscle.

This leads to acid reflux and heartburn.

When vinegar is consumed, it breaks down fats faster and helps speed up the digestion, thereby relieving the stomach of the pressure and heartburn.

4. Improvement of digestion and absorption

Vinegar, especially apple cider vinegar is known for enhancing the digestibility of food.

If taken daily, it can prevent heartburns. It has the capability to stimulate the production of gastric juices and pancreatic enzymes which quickly digest the food.

It also improves the absorption of food in the intestines as well as the elimination of the waste matter.

All these properties indirectly help in reducing heartburns and refluxes.

How to Take Vinegar for Heartburn?

Vinegar is very sour to taste and can pose considerable problems to taste buds while consumption.

Also, since vinegar is 5% acetic acid, it can be caustic to the tissues and should be diluted considerably before ingestion.

There have been reports of ulceration of oesophagus due to consumption of undiluted vinegar.

There have been a wide variety of inventions to formulate mixture containing vinegar, which would make to more ingestible, without causing harm to the gut tissues.

A variant of vinegar, apple cider vinegar is widely consumed on daily basis by some people as a means for maintaining the gut healthy.

This is also a bitter liquid and can be taken with honey to reduce the pungent taste. A spoonful of apple cider vinegar in a glass full of water or some pickle juice daily has shown to alleviate heartburn symptoms .

There is a variety of vinegar available in the market, viz. Polished and unpolished rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and Chinese vinegar.

Though vinegar, in general, has almost zero nutritional content, they might have traces of essential elements and some enzymes such as in apple cider vinegar.

These contents vary in vinegar produced from different sources and by different methods .

Apart from being different in elemental and enzymatic contents, they may also differ in taste depending on their age.

The choice of vinegar, however, to be made for treating heartburns, should depend upon the contents of the vinegar.

For example, natural, fresh unpasteurized and non-oxidized apple cider vinegar is best for seeking relief from heartburns because it retains some enzymes which might be lost in old/aged pasteurized and oxidized vinegar.

Also since apple cider vinegar’s source is more nutritional than the other commercially prepared ones; it is most preferred and prescribed vinegar of choice to be taken during heartburns.

Instead of consuming it in raw diluted form, vinegar can also be added to salad dressings, cocktails, smoothies or it can be used while cooking food.

This makes it more palatable and easier to consume.

In fact, regular use of moderate amounts of vinegar in food and drinks has been shown to be beneficial to keep the gut healthy and body, fat-free.

Dosage and Precautions

Raw vinegar dosage depends upon doctors’ prescription but in general, effective vinegar concentration is about a teaspoonful mixed in a glass of water (about 250 ml). Vinegar is always to be taken in a diluted form, preferably after meals or in meals as a part of the food.

It can also be mixed with a teaspoonful of honey or sugar to make it more ingestible.

As mentioned above, it can cause corrosion of the gut tissue if taken in an undiluted form or in excess amounts without doctors’ advice.

Apple cider vinegar can be taken by dissolving a tablespoon in little water, about ten minutes after the meals. This, as indicated above, improves digestion and keeps the gut, reflux free.

Vinegar rarely shows any side effects, but those appearing should not be ignored. It should not be taken with laxatives and painkillers as it might cause an adverse effect.

Vinegar can cause ulcers and oesophagus injury if taken in high concentrations for a long time.

Chronic inflammation in oesophagus increases the risk of cancer, a rare but plausible occurrence due to vinegar; hence, it should be consumed with care.

Summary

Vinegar is a miracle liquid which finds many beneficial therapeutic uses in diabetes, digestion, weight loss, cardiovascular health, and antitumor activity.

In heartburn, it improves digestion, reduces the corrosive effects of HCL in the stomach, breaks down fats and tightens the sphincter muscle.

Among many types of vinegar available, apple cider vinegar is found to have the most beneficial effect on the gut.

However, its consumption should be strictly regulated and diluted because of its corrosive effects on the tissues.

Our articles are written by writers with a deep domain understanding of the topic and usually hold Bachelors / Masters degrees. The articles are peer-reviewed before being uploaded on the website. Our writers spend 10s of hours researching and writing articles which are factual and comprehensive. Check out about our team in About Us section.

My Stomach’s on Fire and I Can’t Put It Out

Most of us call this common complaint indigestion, but doctors call it dyspepsia. Indigestion is an old English word that means, “lack of adequate digestion.” Dyspepsia means impaired gastric or digestive function. But what we are trying to communicate is “suffering from discomfort, burning, or pain in our upper central abdominal area.” We explain our feelings by saying we have an upset stomach, heartburn, acid indigestion, and acid regurgitation.
Fifty-six per cent of the people in Western countries report they have suffered from heartburn at some time in the past and 36% have symptoms at least once every 4-6 months.1 Half to two-thirds of pregnant women suffer heartburn during pregnancy. Patients with indigestion and acid reflux report worse emotional well-being than do people with heart failure, symptomatic heart disease, diabetes and hypertension.2,3
My guess, based on people I have seen, is that this problem is even more common than reported. Walk down the medication aisles of your local supermarket or drug store and you’ll see shelves of liquids and tablets intended to neutralize the acid, and pills to prevent acid production. Most people rely on self-medication to treat their discomfort, but the prescription side of this heartburn business is huge. The first and third largest sum of money spent on any prescription medication in the year 2000 was for two antacids, Prilosec and Prevacid.4 This amounted to nearly $7 billion spent in the United States for that year – just for just two medications.
GERD is the (Key) Word
The source of almost half the indigestion suffered is from the retrograde flow of the stomach contents up into the esophagus – a condition called gastro-esophageal reflux disease or GERD. This condition is often felt as a burning feeling behind the sternum (breastbone) that radiates up toward the throat and is worsened by a meal or by lying down. The primary cause of the symptoms and associated tissue injury is the presence of stomach acid and other digestive juices outside of the stomach. GERD occurs in 7% of people daily and 36% of people at least once a month.5 The diagnosis is usually made by the doctor listening to the patient’s symptoms. Further evaluation of the disease is most commonly done by looking at the esophagus through a tube known as an endoscope. However, no evidence of disease is found by this examination in a high percentage of people with symptoms of GERD.
Acid Can Burn Your Mouth, Throat and Lungs
Complications from acid reflux, GERD, can be as minor as heartburn or as severe as deep ulcers and cancer. When the acid refluxes into the mouth and is inhaled into the lungs, serious disease, like erosion of the teeth and asthma, can result.
Erosion of the Teeth
Erosion of the enamel of the teeth is caused by the reflux of stomach acid contents into the mouth. The acid destroys the tooth enamel and the loss is permanent. This condition is commonly seen with a weight control method known as bulimia, which is used by 4% to 10% of college age women. Dental erosion is seen in 69% of patients with bulimia, due to acid on the teeth from repeated vomiting. When people without bulimia, but with dental erosions, were studied it was found that 83% had evidence of GERD.6 This relationship was confirmed when 40% to 70% of people with GERD were found to have erosions.6 The worse the reflux the more likely the finding of erosions.
Damage to the oral-sinus cavities from GERD:
Dental Erosions

Mouth Ulcers

Loss of taste

Mouth pain

Sinusitis

Ear pain and inflammation
Asthma and Upper Airway Problems
Acid refluxed up into the back of the throat can be inhaled into the bronchial (airway) tubes and burn them, causing constriction, swelling, and large amounts of mucus production. Somewhere between 34% and 89% of asthmatics have GERD.7 Seventy-five percent of children with asthma have GERD.7 Patients with asthma caused by GERD commonly complain of heartburn, regurgitation, and difficulty swallowing. Their asthma is worsened by meals and when lying down, or sleeping. Treatment with a healthy diet that reduces the chances of reflux, raising the head of the bed by four to six inches, and as a last resort, antacids, will relieve asthma and many other breathing problems, and reduce the need for asthma medications.8
Airway problems from GERD:
Asthma

Chronic cough

Bronchitis

Emphysema

Pneumonia

Laryngitis

Chronic Hoarseness

Inflammation of throat

Vocal cord ulcers

Noncardiac chest pain
The Causes of Indigestion and GERD
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when the stomach acid contacts the tissues of the esophagus, mouth, sinuses, and lungs. For this to occur, acid must reflux past the “natural anti-reflux barrier” between the esophagus and the stomach. At rest, the most important component of this barrier is the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is an area of increased muscular activity, which produces pressures which keep the opening between the esophagus and stomach closed most of the time when we are not swallowing. However, when this LES relaxes at inappropriate times, acid can reflux out of the stomach causing GERD. There are two general reasons the LES functions poorly. The first is due to actual structural damage of the LES caused by years of an unhealthy diet with resulting constipation and failing to squat when defecating. Second, many of the foods and beverages we consume cause this sphincter to transiently relax permitting the reflux of acid.
A Low Fiber Diet Permanently Damages the Anti-reflux Barrier
At least one well respected researcher of gastrointestinal diseases believes that more than 90 percent of the GERD found among people living in the Western world is a direct result of constipation.9 Physical efforts to evacuate a hard, constipated stool out of the rectum into the toilet cause severe straining that pushes the stomach from its normal position in the abdominal cavity, up into the chest. (For a moment, picture a red-faced person sitting on the toilet seat grunting and groaning in an effort to pass his tiny rock-hard stool). As a result of all that physical effort, the natural opening in the muscular diaphragm through which the esophagus passes is widened, creating a hiatal hernia. Eventually, part of the stomach lies in the chest cavity, then with each breath negative pressures are created that pull acid up into the esophagus. The strength of the LES is also gradually weakened over time as a result of chronic straining to defecate.
Constipation is caused by a diet low in dietary fiber and by dairy products.10,11 Dietary fiber is only present in plant foods – naturally, the meat and dairy-based, highly refined American diet is very low in fiber and constipating. The American diet contains about six to ten grams of fiber daily, whereas a healthy diet based on starches, vegetables and fruits has 40 to 100 grams of dietary fiber. Dairy products can paralyze bowel activity resulting in constipation, and the protein is the cause – so low-fat dairy will be at least as harmful.
Another source of damage to the LES and a cause of hiatal hernia is from abandoning the historically common and worldwide practice of squatting to defecate.9 Less force is required to evacuate the stool when in a squatted position over a hole in the ground rather than when on a high-seated toilet.
Another chronic dietary disease associated with indigestion and GERD is obesity.12 This association most likely reflects poor health, the presence of a hiatal hernia, and damage to the LES than any direct effect of extra body fat pushing on the stomach. However, excess body fat pushing on the stomach and tight clothing have been suspected of increasing acid reflux.
Short-Term Dietary Causes of (Transient) LES Dysfunction
Fat, chocolate, peppermint, onions, coffee, decaffeinated coffee and overdistention of the stomach are all believed to cause heartburn by decreasing the pressure of the lower esophageal sphincter and increasing the number of relaxations of this sphincter.14-27
Fat:
Thirty years ago a high fat diet was recognized as a cause of acidity, heartburn and belching, and one doctor reported that a diet with no added fat cured 425 of 532 patients found to be fat-intolerant over a three year period of observation.13 Recent studies at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center confirmed that fat causes heartburn.14 In 12 healthy volunteers and 11 patients with reflux esophagitis, saline or fat was infused into the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). Fat directly aggravated reflux by increasing the number of LES relaxations. Other research has found the reflux of acid becomes progressively worse over the next three hours after eating a meal high in fat.15
Over-Eating:
The same group of researchers from the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center found that over-distention of the stomach caused indigestion.16 By inflating balloons which had been inserted in peoples’ stomachs the researchers produced an increase in the rate of LES relaxations. Their overall conclusion was that large fatty meals which distend the stomach are a major cause of heartburn. The pains were found to be even more frequent in people who drank a lot of coffee after meals and with smokers.
Onions, chocolate, and mints:
Onions, chocolate, and mints have all been shown to cause indigestion by relaxing the LES.17-21, The effects of onion on acid reflux and reflux symptoms were investigated in 16 normal subjects and 16 heartburn subjects.17 Subjects were studied by testing the acid in their esophagus two hours after the ingestion of a plain hamburger and a glass of ice water. The identical meal, with the addition of a slice of onion, was ingested on another day. Onions significantly increased all measures of heartburn in subjects and were found to be a potent and long-lasting cause of reflux in heartburn patients. Cooking onions destroys substances that are the cause of indigestion. This is why most people have no problems with cooked onions.
Chocolate syrup (even low-fat syrup) produces immediate and sustained decreases in LES pressure and symptomatic reflux in people.19 Approximately 40% of people surveyed had symptoms of heartburn after chocolate.5 However, in the same survey 76% of people said fatty foods caused their symptoms. Dark chocolate with its high fat content (50% fat), may therefore cause an even greater fall in LES pressure and more heartburn than low-fat chocolate.
Regular and Decaffeinated Coffee:
Coffee is upsetting to the stomach because it causes relaxation of the LES. Decaffeinated coffee also causes indigestion by reducing the LES function, but the effects are somewhat less.22-24 Caffeine, however, does not cause LES dysfunction. Another interesting finding is that regular ground coffee and decaffeinated coffee stimulate acid secretion by similar amounts. 25 This means substances in the coffee other than caffeine are causing the heartburn and reflux. More recent studies suggest that LES dysfunction and gastroesophageal reflux, rather than acid production, are responsible for the heartburn caused by coffee.26 Therefore, for relief, coffee drinkers must switch beverages to something like herbal tea or water, rather than “decaf.”
Even though there is considerably more indigestion among coffee drinkers, there is no increase in the risk of stomach or duodenal ulcers.27
Smoking Cigarettes and Alcohol:
Cigarette smoking and alcohol will lower LES and cause indigestion.28-30 However, most of the distress from alcoholic beverages comes from irritation of the stomach linings and the production of acids. Next month we will discuss important ways some alcoholic beverages, like wine and beer, cause stomach distress.
Citrus Fruits, Spices, and Tomatoes Are Irritating
Think about your reaction to drinking grapefruit juice or orange juice. Immediately my thoughts are of a sour stomach and burning indigestion. Citrus fruits, tomatoes, and spicy foods cause most of their distress by a direct irritating effect on the tissues of the esophagus and stomach, since they do not appear to lower LES pressure.31 Acidity is thought not to be the cause of the heartburn since neutralized orange juice also produces heartburn.21 The heartburn effects of fruit juice must result from the disruption of the fibers and other protective substances in the fruit caused when making the juice, because the whole fruit rarely causes distress in people.
I have also found raw vegetables more irritating than cooked. Some of the most troublesome are onions, green peppers, cucumbers and radishes.
Three meals chosen specifically to cause heartburn:
Investigators looking into the causes of heartburn have tried to find the meals that will reliably produce severe distress.32 They chose the following meals:
1) A McDonald’s Quarter Pounder, a small order of fries, and an 8-ounce chocolate milk shake.
2) A McDonald’s Sausage Biscuit with egg, one slice of cheese, 30 grams of raw onion and 8 ounces of Borden’s Dutch Chocolate Milk.
3) An 8-ounce Wendy’s Chili and 8 ounces of red wine.
The chili meal with wine produced the greatest numbers of reflux and the most severe heartburn for the first hour after the meal. The sausage biscuit meal, which had the highest fat content, produced the most severe heartburn 90 minutes after the meal. Of all three meals, the sausage biscuit meal produced the maximum heartburn, heartburn-related symptoms and acid reflux.33 And you wonder why prescription antacids are a $7 billion business in the US?
Some Common Medications That Relax the LES34
Calcium channel blockers (blood pressure pills)
Meperidine (Demerol)
Morphine
Dopamine
Beta-adrenergic antagonists
Diazepam (Valium)

Barbiturates
Theophylline (for asthma)
Progesterone
Medications for Treating GERD
There are several classes of medications which will offer some relief from GERD and indigestion.29 Liquid and tablet antacids, H2 receptor antagonists (see below), and proton pump inhibitors (see below) all reduce the amount of acid in the stomach. Some agents increase the LES pressure, like bethanecol (Edronax). Alginic acid (Protacid) forms a protective foam barrier and sucralfate (Carafate) buffers some of the acid. H2 receptor antagonists may cause mental changes, increased estrogen activity which can cause enlarged breasts in men, and changes in the metabolism of other medications.22 There is some concern that H2 receptor antagonists and proton pump inhibitors may cause stomach cancer with long term use.34-35 Use any of these medications only as a last resort after you have tried the simple and safe actions listed at the end of this article.

Examples:
Liquid and Wafer Antacids:
Tums

Rolaids

Mylanta

Maalox

H2 receptor antagonists:
Cimetidine (Tagamet)

Ranitidine (Zantac)

Famotidine (Pepcid)

Nizatidine (Axid)

Proton pump inhibitors:
Lansoprazole (Prevacid)

Omeprazole (Prilosec)
Putting Out The Flames Forever
Most of my patients throw away their antacids on the first day of my program at St. Helena Hospital and never have to use them again unless they eat foods that are known to bother them. I also see almost overnight improvement in asthma, hoarseness, chronic cough, and sinusitis. They follow a diet based on starches with the addition of fruits and vegetables. Most of the food is cooked. In the beginning, their stomach and esophagus may be so raw from years of over-acidity and acid reflux that even water causes pain — they have to allow a few days for the inflammation to quiet down. In the interim period they sometimes benefit from antacids in the form of liquids or tablets to neutralize the acid, or pills to stop the production of acid. Raising the head of the bed by four to six inches by placing bricks or wood blocks under the head posts is of great help for those with the most reflux. In those very sensitive cases, extra care must be taken to eat small meals of plain, well-cooked, starches, vegetables and fruits. Spices should be avoided; however, sugar and salt are well-tolerated. Water should be the initial beverage in those with the most severe symptoms.

Even though considerable damage may have already occurred, to the point of causing LES dysfunction and a hiatal hernia, almost every patient can find relief with these simple steps, low in cost and free of side effects:

Ten Actions To Take To Quench the Fire

  1. Consume a plant-based diet, low in fat and high in fiber

  2. Avoid foods which aggravate the indigestion, such as raw onions, green peppers, cucumbers, radishes, and fruit juices, and hot spices

  3. Eat small meals frequently – Do not over-distend your stomach

  4. Lose weight if you are obese, and wear loose clothing

  5. Give up regular and decaffeinated coffee

  6. Whenever possible avoid medications which lower LES

  7. Raise the head of the bed four to six inches (extra pillows will not help – they only bend you at the middle)

  8. Avoid lying down within three hours of eating

  9. Stop cigarettes and alcohol

  10. Take antacid medications as a last resort.

1. Bolin TD. Heartburn: community perceptions. J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2000 Jan;15(1):35-9.
2. Revicki DA. The impact of gastroesophageal reflux disease on health-related quality of life. Am J Med. 1998 Mar;104(3):252-8.
3. Glise H. Quality of Life assessments in the evaluation of gastroesophageal reflux and peptic ulcer disease before, during and after treatment. Scand J Gastroenterol Suppl. 1995;208:133-5.
4. Prescription drug expenditures in the year 2000. Upward trend continue. A research report by The National Institute for Health Care Management. http://www.nihcm.org/.
5. Nebel O. Symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux: incidence and precipitating factors Am J Dig Dis 21:953-6, 1976.
6. Schroeder P. Dental erosion and acid reflux disease. Ann Intrn Med 122:809-15, 1995.
7. Simpson W. Gastroesophageal reflux disease and asthma. Diagnosis and management. Arch Intrn Med 155: 798-803, 1995.
8. Hogan W. Medical treatment of supraesophageal complications of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Am J Med. 2001 Dec 3;111 Suppl 8A:197S-201S.
9. Sontag SJ Defining GERD. Yale J Biol Med. 1999 Mar-Jun;72 (2-3):69-80.
10. Scheppach W. Beneficial health effects of low-digestible carbohydrate consumption. Br J Nutr. 2001 Mar;85 Suppl 1:S23-30.
11. Iacono G. Intolerance of cow’s milk and chronic constipation in children. N Engl J Med. 1998 Oct 15;339(16):1100-4.
12. Woodward M. The prevalence of dyspepsia and use of antisecretory medication in North Glasgow: role of Helicobacter pylori vs. lifestyle factors. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1999 Nov;13(11):1505-9.
13. Childs, P. Dietary fat, dyspepsia, diarrhoea, and diabetes. Br J Surg 59:669-95, 1972.
14. Holloway RH Effect of intraduodenal fat on lower oesophageal sphincter function and gastro-oesophageal reflux.Gut. 1997 Apr;40(4):449-53.
15. Becker D. A comparison of high and low fat meals on postprandial esophageal acid exposure. Am J Gastroenterol. 1989 Jul;84(7):782-6.
16. Holloway RH. Gastric distention: a mechanism for postprandial gastroesophageal reflux. Gastroenterology. 1985 Oct;89(4):779-84.
17. Allen ML The effect of raw onions on acid reflux and reflux symptoms.
Am J Gastroenterol. 1990 Apr;85(4):377-80.
18. Murphy D. Chocolate and heartburn: evidence of increased esophageal acid exposure after chocolate ingestion. Am J Gastroenterol. 1988 Jun;83(6):633-6.

19. Babka J. On the genesis of heartburn. The effects of specific foods on the lower esophageal sphincter. Am J Dig Dis. 1973 May;18(5):391-7.

21. Price S. Food sensitivity in reflux esophagitis. Am J Gastroenterol 75: 240-243, 1978.

22. Van Deventer G. Lower esophageal sphincter pressure, acid secretion, and blood gastrin after coffee consumption. Dig Dis Sci. 1992 Apr;37(4):558-69.

23. Wendl B. Effect of decaffeination of coffee or tea on gastro-oesophageal reflux. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 1994 Jun;8(3):283-7.

24. Pehl C. The effect of decaffeination of coffee on gastro-oesophageal reflux in patients with reflux disease. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1997 Jun;11(3):483-6.

25. Cohen S. Gastric acid secretion and lower-esophageal-sphincter pressure in response to coffee and caffeine. N Engl J Med. 1975 Oct 30;293(18):897-9.

26. Cohen S. Pathogenesis of coffee-induced gastrointestinal symptoms.
N Engl J Med. 1980 Jul 17;303(3):122-4.

27. Elta GH Comparison of coffee intake and coffee-induced symptoms in patients with duodenal ulcer, nonulcer dyspepsia, and normal controls. Am J Gastroenterol. 1990 Oct;85(10):1339-42.

28. Smit CF. Effect of cigarette smoking on gastropharyngeal and gastroesophageal reflux. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2001 Feb;110(2):190-3.

29. Weinberg D. The diagnosis and management of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Med Clin North Am. 1996 Mar;80(2):411-29.a

30. Hogan W. Ethanol-induced acute esophageal motor dysfunction. J Appl Physiol. 1972 Jun;32(6):755-60.

31. Cranley JP. Abnormal lower esophageal sphincter pressure responses in patients with orange juice-induced heartburn. Am J Gastroenterol. 1986 Feb;81(2):104-6.

32. Rodriguez S. Meal type affects heartburn severity. Dig Dis Sci. 1998 Mar;43(3):485-90.

34. Farrow DC. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, use of H2 receptor antagonists, and risk of esophageal and gastric cancer. Cancer Causes Control. 2000 Mar;11(3):231-8.

Heartburn Sucks—and These 11 Foods Make It Way Worse

The acidic taste in your throat. The fiery feeling in your chest. The chronic cough and difficulty swallowing. If you’re part of the 40 percent of Americans who suffer from regular heartburn, you know it feels pretty terrible.

The good (or bad) news is that about 95 percent of sufferers can trace their symptoms back to a particular food, meaning, with a little detective work, you can figure out what to eat and what to avoid. We’ve gone ahead and done some of the grunt work for you. Try to build a burn-free meal by avoiding these common foods that cause heartburn.

Foods That Cause Heartburn

1. Onions

Ah yes, we know that painful, stinky onion burp from hell all too well. Onions, while nutritious, contain a fermentable fiber called fructooligosaccharides, which may relax the lower esophageal sphincter and increase reflux.

One study compared people’s symptoms after consuming a burger with raw onions compared to one without and found that the onion-eaters had significantly more heartburn. Can’t imagine a burger without onions? We hear you. Just make sure to cook them well to break down those tough-on-the-gut fibers.

2. Booze

Yah, you saw that one coming. Much the same way a stiff drink relaxes you enough to help you kill it on the dancefloor, alcohol also relaxes that sphincter, triggering heartburn in the process.

While findings in this area are controversial and varied, many studies have found that drinking in excess may increase the risk of reflux, especially since excessive alcohol intake can directly damage the esophageal and gastric mucosal lining. It’s not surprising, then, that in a survey of heartburn sufferers, as many as 67 percent of respondents felt that booze was to blame. Guess it’s time to volunteer to be the DD!

3. Peppermint

Wait, wha? Isn’t peppermint a cooling herb? Peppermint is thought to reduce lower esophageal sphincter tension, which makes it easier for stomach acids to creep up. One study found that eight percent of heartburn patients reported complaints after consuming peppermint, and a large systematic review reported heartburn as one of the major side effects of peppermint consumption. Maybe stick to chamomile next time.

4. Chocolate

I know you didn’t want to see this on the list. Here’s the deal. Chocolate contains both caffeine and theobromine, both of which can cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax and allow stomach acid to escape. One study also found that in comparison to a simple sugar solution, chocolate significantly increased heartburn symptoms within just an hour of indulging. Vanilla macaroons are in your future.

5. Salty Snacks

The research on salt and reflux is not really working in our favor. One study found that people who ate salted foods three times or more each week increased their risk of heartburn by up to 50 percent!

Another study found that risk of acid reflux increased as much as 70 percent in people who added salt to their food, suggesting that we could really stand to take the salt shaker off the table. Our suggestion? Skip the sodium and flavor your meals liberally with fresh herbs and spices instead.

6. Fatty Meats

Keto dieters, take note! Fat stimulates the release of the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK), which has been shown to relax the lower esophageal sphincter and cause reflux. It can also delay gastric emptying as fat is digested and absorbed slower than other foods, increasing the likelihood that stomach acids get up in our business.

One study looked at a wide range of dietary considerations and found that cholesterol, saturated animal fats, as well as fat, in general, were some of the most likely perceived culprits of reflux symptoms. Try working in a few extra meatless meals each week and choosing leaner cuts of meat, whenever possible.

7. Full-Fat Dairy

Like the richer cuts of meat, whole milk products (including cream, butter, and our beloved cheese) have become a notorious cause of heartburn. Interestingly, low-fat dairy doesn’t seem to have the same effect, so reach for non-fat or low-fat options if you find it bothers you.

8. Coffee

That morning joe doesn’t usually play so nicely with heartburn sufferers. While coffee may help perk you up, it actually may do the opposite to our esophageal functions, relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter and increasing the risk of reflux.

One report found that about one-quarter of heartburn sufferers found coffee caused them pain. Interestingly, the role in caffeine specifically in this association is largely unclear. While one study found a significant decline in heartburn symptoms with decaffeination, they also found that just adding caffeine to water didn’t cause the ill effects, signaling that there are likely other factors, like acidity, at play.

If you’re trying to wean yourself off, try choosing a low-acidity coffee while going half-caf, slowly shifting the caffeinated: decaf ratio until you’re fully coffee-free.

9. Bubbly Bevvies

Carbonated sodas are not only a common source of caffeine, but they also play a role in reflux by reducing lower esophageal pressure. The result? Lots of burning belches. Classy, we know. One study found that carbonated soda consumptions were one of the worst culprits of heartburn during sleep, and no one likes to be woken up by that! Try cutting back on your soda habit (for more reasons than one) and choosing flat water instead of bubbly.

10. Tomatoes

Bad news for our Italian-food-loving friends. With almost 70 percent of heartburn sufferers citing tomatoes or tomato juice as the cause, it’s not surprising that these antioxidant-rich babies made the list.

While tomato juice is notoriously acidic, one study found that patients experienced reflux symptoms even when the pH of the drink was adjusted to neutral. In other words, there are likely other components of tomato juice that cause the pain. Sad about missing pasta and pizza night? Go for a white pizza and olive oil-based pasta, or whip up a “red sauce” using bell peppers instead.

11. Citrus Juice

It’s starting to look like water might be the only safe drinking choice, right? Anyone who is prone to heartburn and reflux knows how easily a glass of freshly squeezed OJ can ruin an otherwise lovely Sunday brunch.

And is it really a huge surprise? With natural acidity, orange and grapefruit juices are among some of the biggest heartburn offenders, with 67 percent of one survey’s participants citing them as a literal pain. Another study found grapefruit juice to have the worst effect out of all other drinks and juices. If you love your citrus, try watering it down and adding a single shot to a tall glass of water.

Foods That Relieve Heartburn Symptoms

1. Gum

OK, technically not a food (so please, do not swallow a wad), but it seems that gum chewers may be onto something when it comes to heartburn prevention. Research has shown that chewing sugar-free bicarbonate gum can help increase saliva production and clear the esophagus of painful acids. We recommend keeping a pack handy in case any of the offending foods mentioned make it onto your plate (or you just can’t give up your morning cup of joe).

2. Whole-Grain Bread

Yay! Another great reason to eat more carbs! It seems that unlike fatty meats and dairy, high-fiber foods may have a protective role in reducing the risk of reflux.One study found that participants who ate higher fiber bread were twice as likely to relieve their heartburn symptoms than those who ate lower fiber bread.

While the exact rationale for this association is largely unknown, it’s believed that fiber reduces nitrites in the stomach that otherwise play a role in relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter. Here’s a little dietitian tip to help you get your 25-37 grams per day of fiber: When choosing a bread, look for one with at least 4 grams of fiber per serving.

3. Fruits and Vegetables

You know you don’t need another reason to get your fruit and veggie fix, but hey, here it goes. In addition to providing a healthy dose of that reflux-reducing fiber, produce also is rich in vitamins A, C, and E, which have a protective effect against reflux thanks to their antioxidant properties. Just be sure to avoid any of the higher acid veggies like oranges, lemons, citrus, and tomatoes.

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

In a recent poll, we asked you to tell us what common foods that trigger acid reflux you miss the most, and I can’t say we were surprised to learn that alcohol, chocolate, tomatoes, and coffee were at the top of the list. Avoiding your triggers is a key part of managing GERD, but let’s face it, doing so isn’t always fun or easy. There’s a lot to miss! But it’s important to remember that you can still enjoy a huge variety of delicious (and healthy!) foods that won’t make your GERD symptoms worse, like fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, beans, and low-fat dairy.

Shifting your attitude to focus on what you CAN eat instead of what you CAN’T eat can make a world of difference. To help you do that, we put together this list delicious and satisfying swaps for your favorites to make it a little easier to stick to this important dietary change.

Easy swaps for your favorite acid reflux triggers

Mint (including mint gum) – 1%

Mint has a distinctive flavor that can be hard to replace. If you’re preparing a savory dish that calls for mint, try substituting parsley, basil, or rosemary. Basil can also work in sweet dishes. If you’re looking for an alternative to candy mints, chewing on herbs like parsley, coriander, and cinnamon can freshen your breath after a meal. Herb-based breath fresheners that don’t contain mint are also available at health food stores and online.

Fried foods – 3%

While fried foods are delicious, their high-fat content slows digestion and increases the chance you’ll experience a bout of reflux. Try grilling, baking, broiling, or roasting foods instead. The possibilities are endless! If you’re really craving traditional fried favorites, our California fried chicken and Baked French fries (a regular on the menu in our house) make great substitutes.

Garlic and onions – 4%

Garlic and onions add flavor to everything from sauces and salad dressing to soups and stews, so they can be hard to avoid. Try substituting dehydrated or dried versions like garlic powder and dried onions. Many people tolerate them better than their fresh counterparts. If even the dried versions trigger your symptoms, try adding flavor with other herbs, like basil, cilantro, ginger, rosemary, thyme, dill, or oregano.

Carbonated beverages – 5%

The carbonation, caffeine, and sugar in carbonated beverages make them tough to stomach for people with GERD. Try flavored water, juices (other than citrus), or herbal iced teas instead.

Citrus fruits and juices – 6%

If you love your morning OJ or like to slice up a grapefruit for breakfast, this one can seem tough, but the options are endless (and delicious): apple, pineapple, mango, peach, grape, cranberry. Or mix things up and try a smoothie. Instead of focusing on what you can’t have, give something new a try. You may just find a new favorite!

Fatty foods (high-fat cheese, butter, beef, etc.) – 7%

Like fried foods above, fatty foods like cheese, butter, and beef take a long time to digest. Swap low-fat dairy for their full-fat versions or try soy versions of milk and cheese, which are generally lower in fat and calories. Ground turkey makes a great alternative to ground beef, especially in things like soups, casseroles, and tacos. And if you’re really craving a high-fat option like beef, be sure to trim off the excess fat, keep your portion size small, and try a cooking method that allows the fat to drain off (like in our Braised short ribs or Beef and mushroom skillet).

Spicy foods – 7%

For some people, turning up the heat on their food can turn up the heartburn. (For others, interestingly, it can have the opposite effect.) While it’s hard to replace the heat, try recipes packed with flavor from fresh herbs. Just because you have to skip the heat doesn’t mean you have to skip the flavor.

Alcohol – 12%

While you might think of red wine when you think of acid reflux triggers, it turns out that any kind of alcohol can bring on the symptoms. That’s because alcohol relaxes the LES, so it’s best to avoid it in general. Some may find they’re able to enjoy an occasional drink, but if even a small amount of alcohol brings on your symptoms, try sipping fruit juice or flavored water instead.

Coffee and caffeinated drinks including tea – 21%

Try experimenting with low-acid coffee or decaffeinated to see how that works for you. Many people can tolerate those better than regular coffee and find them just as satisfying. If you want to skip the coffee entirely, herbal, non-mint teas can be a great alternative if a warm drink is part of your morning routine. The flavor possibilities are endless.

Tomato based foods – 22%

Many people with GERD have a hard time with acidic tomatoes, which means favorites like pizza and spaghetti and meatballs are out. If you’re craving pasta, try pesto (like in our Mini lasagna cups), olive oil with parsley, or our Pasta Primavera with whole wheat pasta. If it’s a pizza you’re after, look for creative alternatives like this Spinach and artichoke dip pizza (just be careful with the garlic) or this Easy white pizza.

Chocolate – 47%

Nearly half of you told us that chocolate was the thing you missed most and why wouldn’t you?! If you’re looking for something sweet for dessert, try fresh fruit or a fruit-based recipe like Cantaloupe sorbet or Vanilla almond parfait. And if you’re really craving chocolate, some find they can tolerate a small piece of dark chocolate and find it’s enough to satisfy them. Or give white chocolate a try. Not technically chocolate, it’s a smooth, creamy sweet treat that just might do the trick without causing heartburn.

Triggers are different for everyone

We encourage you to read our comprehensive article, 5 steps to an acid reflux diet, where we discuss more substitutions and foods to avoid. Remember that every individual will have different triggers. In fact, according to the latest guidelines form the American College of Gastroenterology, Diagnosis and Management of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, “Routine global elimination of food that can trigger reflux (including chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, acidic and/or spicy foods) is not recommended in the treatment of GERD.” Why? Because there’s no evidence that routine elimination of all of these foods will improve your symptoms. Keep a food diary to identify any patterns in your symptoms and see which foods make your symptoms worse. Then avoid them and enjoy the rest!

Is Your ‘Healthy’ Salad Doing More Harm Than Good?

It’s mealtime, you’re hungry, and you want to make a healthy food choice. You decide to have a hearty salad chock full of nutritious vegetables. Day after day, week after week you make this choice at least one time per day because you want to be healthy and fit. If a salad is your idea of a delicious, nutritious meal, what I’m about to say may shock you. Your daily salad may actually be contributing to many of your health problems:

  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Chronic congestion
  • Cold Limbs
  • Abdominal Distention
  • Indigestion
  • Poor Appetite
  • Loose Stools

But Salads Are Healthy, Right?

Vegetables are healthy, but eating them in their raw state too frequently is not necessarily the healthiest way to consume them. Raw vegetables can actually be very hard on the digestive system, and for certain body types, can really impact overall health in a negative way. Obvious signs and symptoms indicating that you may need to cut back on the amount of salad (and other raw/cold foods) you eat include gas, bloating, and/or indigestion. But this goes WAY beyond just your digestive system. Too many raw, cold, damp foods can impact your body on a systemic level. Ironically, many people eat an abundance of salads because they want to lose weight, but for certain body types too many damp foods actually cause the body to retain dampness which make it MORE difficult to lose weight.

What Chinese Medicine Has To Say

In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), the Stomach and Spleen rule digestion and together they are considered a central pivot which sets the foundation for the other organs and systems in the body to work properly. The Stomach receives food and the Spleen transforms it into energy to be used by the body. Together, the Stomach and Spleen are the origin of Qi and Blood. What is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to understand is that because the Stomach and Spleen are the origin of such vital substances, when they are not functioning properly the ENTIRE body suffers. This can easily be understood from a Western perspective as well. Quite simply put, if you aren’t eating healthy food and digesting your food properly, then you aren’t absorbing the nutrients you need to function at your optimal level. Unfortunately, the Standard American Diet (SAD) combined with factors such as stress make Stomach and Spleen issues some of the most common conditions encountered in TCM.

Ideally, the Stomach energy should descend and the Spleen’s energy should ascend. When imbalances occur, and the Stomach energy goes upward instead of downward, symptoms such as acid reflux, belching, and nausea may occur. In contrast, when the Spleen energy goes down instead of up, poor appetite, abdominal bloating, frequent urination, and in extreme cases, prolapse of organs may occur.

It’s All About Balance

Now, here is where the concept of balance in TCM comes into play. Am I saying to NEVER eat a salad again?? No. What I’m saying is to balance out your food choices. Eating some raw food is perfectly fine, and in fact it is healthy for you, but eating salad every day may not be the best idea–especially if you have a body type that tends to retain cold and/or dampness. Too much or too little of anything over a long enough period of time is going to create imbalances in the body.

I tend to see so many spleen/stomach issues in clinic for a couple of reasons: (1) stress greatly impacts digestion (2) the SAD American diet results in food choices that negatively impact digestion. What I see most often are diets imbalanced by too many salads, ice cold beverages, sweets, and excess amounts of dairy and processed carbohydrates.

An example of an imbalanced cold, damp day may look something like this:

  • Frozen smoothie for breakfast
  • Cold/Ice water to sip on throughout the day
  • Yogurt as a snack
  • Large salad for lunch along with some ice tea
  • Ice cream of frozen yogurt for dessert after dinner

While each of these things alone may not wreak havoc on your system, the combination of them together day after day will eventually tax your digestive system and may lead to problems.

Simple Tips To Strengthen and Protect The Stomach/Spleen

  • Instead of eating salads everyday, try changing it up by eating warm, cooked, vegetables as well.
  • STOP DRINKING SO MANY ICE COLD BEVERAGES especially near meal time. Try room temperature water instead. If giving up ice cold beverages is a challenge for you, at least refrain from drinking them with your meals. **Seriously, if you take nothing else from this post besides the fact that too many ice cold beverages are damaging your digestion I will be a happy acupuncturist**
  • If you do have something raw/cold to eat, balance it out by drinking warm tea, or eating soup/stew.
  • Eat for the seasons: eating a salad on a hot summer day is more balanced than eating one on a cold, damp winter day.
  • Time your eating: Try eating your salad near 12:00pm rather than at dinner time (noon is the most yang/warming part of the day and can help balance out the yin/cold nature of the salad).
  • DON’T eat while under stress or when you are rushing. Set aside time to eat. Don’t eat while rushing out the door or while working at your desk. Fast food is simply a fast way to damage your digestion.
  • MANAGE STRESS. Stress plays such a significant role in digestion imbalances because when our body is in ‘fight or flight’ mode it diverts energy and resources away from digestion. When we are relaxed our bodies can ‘rest and digest.’ Acupuncture, meditation, yoga, massage, and exercise can all help manage stress. You can learn more about acupuncture and stress relief HERE
  • Protect that Stomach by not over-consuming spicy foods
  • Limit the amount of fried foods you eat–the overly hot nature of fried foods can not only damage the Stomach Qi, but also create excess heat in the body.
  • Dairy–often a controversial issue in healing circles. Some advise to avoid it completely while others say it’s okay in small amounts. Too much dairy is never a good idea, but organic, unpasteurized cheese/milk/kefir/yogurt is often easier to digest. Also, goat’s milk can be much easier on digestion. When it comes to dairy you really need to listen to your body and notice signs/symptoms associated with consumption.
  • Use Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine to get your body back on track

How Acupuncture and Herbs Can Help

Both Acupuncture and Herbs can work wonders when it comes to balancing out the digestive system. Stomach pain/discomfort, constipation/loose stools, abdominal bloating, and/or indigestion can all be remedied by acupuncture, herbs, and some dietary guidance. Remember if Stomach Qi is moving upward instead of downward or Spleen Qi is moving downward instead of upward a wide range of symptoms may occur. Acupuncture treatments can help restore balance and get the Qi to flow in the proper direction. Also, if stress really seems to impact your digestion by causing loss of appetite, tightness/discomfort, or even nausea, acupuncture can help to not only manage symptoms, but it can also help you to manage the stress. Plus, there are many wonderful herbal formulas that can help you. The beauty of Chinese Herbal Medicine is that a formula can be created to fit your individual needs. One of the best things you can do is speak with your acupuncturist about what food choices are the best for YOUR body type. Some people tend to retain more damp in their bodies while others tend to retain more heat. Some people lack fluids and others retain coldness. Learning more about your body type will help you make healthier food choices.

You know your body best, and if you’ve started to notice a shift in your digestive health it’s always best to take action sooner rather than later. However, if you’ve been suffering from digestion issue for some time, acupuncture and herbs can help bring you back to better health. You may also be experiencing health issues that seem completely unrelated to digestion and the foods/drinks you are consuming, but I’m afraid that the old saying is true. You. Are. What. You. Eat. When looking at foods from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective you can learn how food choices impact your health in ways you’ve never imagined. The best way to learn more is to seek out the help of your local Acupuncturist/Herbalist.

Wishing you a happy, healthy…and balanced summer 🙂

If you have GERD, it is important to watch out for foods that cause heartburn. With these easy swaps, you’ll see that your GERD diet can be healthy AND delicious, so you won’t be feeling deprived at your next summer barbecue.

When you have GERD, it can sometime feel like everything on the table are all foods that cause heartburn. Whether it be chocolate, tomatoes, citrus fruits, garlic and onion, foods that cause heartburn can be hard to avoid. So you may be left wondering, “What can I eat?” The good news is that there are plenty of alternatives to enjoy that won’t leave you in pain, and with fresh produce at its peak, summer is the perfect time to make healthy changes to your diet and avoid foods that cause heartburn. With these easy swaps, you’ll see that your GERD diet can be healthy AND delicious, so you won’t be feeling deprived at your next barbecue.

1. Instead of chips and salsa…

…Snack on fresh, cut up vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, and cucumbers with a low-fat dip.

Chips and salsa might taste delicious, but the combination of tomatoes, garlic, AND onions (!) make this snack a gamble for people with GERD and defiantly a foods that cause heartburn. Eating fresh veggies should be a safe bet and will help you increase your intake of vegetables (always a good thing).

2. Instead of soda…

…Drink water or herbal iced tea.

The caffeine and carbonation in soda can be a foods that cause heartburn for some people. Water is always a safe alternative, but herbal iced tea makes a refreshing option if you want something with more flavor. Just be sure to look for one that doesn’t have caffeine or mint.

3. Instead of a side of potato salad…

…Try a green salad like our grilled hearts of romaine with pickled vegetables

Traditional potato salads are loaded with mayonnaise, which means they’re also loaded with fat and calories. Lighten things up with a green salad, but limit the high-fat dressing. If you really want a traditional potato or macaroni salad, look for options made with low-fat mayo or a light vinaigrette, like our picnic potato salad or sunshine pasta salad.

4. Instead of a burger…

…Grill chicken or fish instead.

While hamburgers and hot dogs are traditional favorites, chicken (with the skin removed), fish, and pork tenderloin make delicious, lower-fat alternatives. Try our dijon chicken salad for something different. Still really want a burger? Remember that fatty meats are a foods that cause heartburn, so pick a lower fat cut of meat or try a turkey burger.

5. Instead of BBQ sauce…

…Season your chicken or meat with a dry rub.

Instead of BBQ sauce, which usually has a tomato base, try a dry rub. Teriyaki sauce or fresh herbs with olive oil also make tasty alternatives that aren’t a foods that cause heartburn.

6. Instead of ketchup…

…Top your burger with low-fat mayo or guacamole.

As with barbecue sauce, tomato-based ketchup is likely to bring on your symptoms, so try low-fat mayo or guacamole for a delicious change.

7. Instead of brownies for dessert…

…Enjoy a fruit-based dessert.

The combination of fat and chocolate in brownies is a dangerous one. Take advantage of summer’s bounty and enjoy slices of fresh watermelon, fresh berries, or our vanilla almond parfait.

Want to learn more about GERD-friendly diets? Read 5 steps to an effective acid reflux diet.

When you have GERD, avoiding foods that cause heartburn is essential. Managing what and how you eat can help minimize your symptoms and keep your GERD from getting worse. Focus on avoiding your trigger foods, watching your portions, and limiting your fat intake. And if you’re having a hard time thinking about making changes to your diet, ask yourself this: Isn’t feeling better worth it?

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