GERD Diet for Acid Reflux

A diet designed to prevent or reduce acid reflux is usually easy to follow. The basic food groups of cereals, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and meats can be eaten with only a few limitations. So, this diet generally meets the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) of the National Research Council. A vitamin C supplement may be needed if an individual does not tolerate citrus foods such as orange, tomato, etc.

The lower esophageal muscle can be weakened by factors other than food. The following recommendations may be helpful in reducing symptoms:

  • Stop using tobacco in all forms. Nicotine weakens the lower esophageal muscle.
  • Avoid chewing gum and hard candy. They increase the amount of swallowed air which, in turn, leads to belching and reflux.
  • Do not lie down immediately after eating. Avoid late evening snacks and eat meals at least 3 to 4 hours before lying down.
  • Do not exercise too soon after eating.
  • Avoid tight clothing and bending over after eating.
  • Eat small, frequent portions of food and snack if needed.
  • Lose weight if overweight. Obesity leads to increased reflux.
  • Elevate the head of the bed six to eight inches to prevent reflux when sleeping. Extra pillows, by themselves, are not very helpful.

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

  • Fatty or fried foods
  • Peppermint and spearmint
  • Whole milk
  • Oils
  • Chocolate
  • Creamed foods or soups
  • Most fast foods
  • Citrus fruits and juices (grapefruit, orange, pineapple, tomato)
  • Coffee (regular and decaffeinated)
  • Caffeinated soft drinks
  • Tea
  • Other caffeinated beverages such as colas
  • Alcohol
  • Spicy or acidic foods may not be tolerated by some individuals.
Speak with your physician if you are having acid reflux symptoms 3 or more times a week.
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