Do you experience bloating of the stomach, constant burping, and regurgitation after a meal? These symptoms may not be serious. If you’re constantly affected by it, it may be sign that you are suffering from acid reflux and you should change your gerd diet. Acid reflux is a condition in which the stomach acids flow back into the esophagus (food pipe) causing irritation and pain. You may also experience severe pain in the chest, near the heart. This is called heartburn and is one of the consequences of acid reflux. Both terms, however are often used interchangeably. If acidity reflux is chronic or long lasting, it is referred to as GERD.
What is GERD?
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD is a disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter. It is a ring of muscles that separates the stomach from the esophagus. When this sphincter fails to close properly, it allows the contents of the stomach to escape back into the esophagus causing irritation and pain.
You are at greater risk of GERD if you are suffering from obesity, asthma, or diabetes. Pregnancy and smoking can also bring it on and so can the consumption of certain foods.
Leaving GERD untreated can result in the corrosion of the linings of the esophagus, causing ulcers and internal bleeding. In severe cases it may even lead to cancer and other complications.
Thankfully, there are several conventional and alternate methods available for GERD treatment. The conventional treatment includes medication and surgery while alternative methods. These include holistic treatments such as following a simple GERD diet plan, weight management, detox, acupuncture and aromatherapy.
Medications for GERD Treatment
Over the counter medications can help neutralize the stomach acid. Antacids offer short term relief but if you need to take heartburn medicine for more than 14 days, you need to see your doctor. Sometimes taking medicines such as ibuprofen, muscle relaxants and blood pressure drugs can also cause GERD. You can check with your doctor if your medications are triggering GERD.
Foods to Include in your GERD Diet
Eating certain types of food can result in the easing of the GERD symptoms. Your diet for GERD should include:
- Foods that are low fat.
- Herbal teas that have a calming effect on the body such as jasmine or chamomile tea.
- Fresh, raw fruits and vegetables that contain fiber. Cooking the vegetables in high temperature destroys the enzymes that are helpful in acid reflux treatment. Therefore, where possible take them fresh and raw.
- Foods rich in glutamine such as parsley, spinach and eggs can reduce the inflammation brought on by GERD.
- Include plenty of apples in your GERD diet as they not only offer short term relief, but also affect the momentum of GERD in the long term.
Foods to Avoid in your GERD Diet
Your diet for GERD should exclude foods that worsen the symptoms of GERD, such as:
- Tea and coffee
- Beverages that contain caffeine
- Carbonated drinks
- Citrus fruits and tangy tomatoes
- Mint or peppermint
- Spicy foods
- Onion and garlic
- Processed foods
Home Remedies for Acid Reflux
Apart from making changes to your GERD diet, you can also try these home remedies for GERD treatment.
- Drink a cup of water with a spoonful of apple cider vinegar to balance the acidity in the stomach.
- Aloe vera is known for its anti inflammatory properties and drinking a glass of the juice will stop heartburn.
- Baking soda is a natural antacid and drinking a cup of water with baking soda dissolved in it will neutralize the acid coming from the stomach.
- Sipping on chamomile tea can ease symptoms of GERD if it is caused by stress. It is always advisable to check with your doctor before taking herbal remedies. It might interfere with any medications you might be taking.
- Eat a handful of raw almonds.
- Chew gum, preferably not mint. This increases the saliva production thereby reducing acidity levels in the esophagus.
- Drink a cup of warm water fused with fresh lemon juice on an empty stomach everyday.
Best Practices to Follow
- Eat smaller meals and stop before you get too full.
- Make dinner your smallest meal of the day.
- Pay attention to foods that are triggering your acid reflux and try to avoid them as much as possible.
- After eating, avoid going directly to bed as it worsens the symptoms of heartburn. Wait for at least two hours before hitting the bed to give the stomach enough time to digest the food and pass it on to the small intestines.
- Try sleeping on the left side for relief from GERD symptoms.
- If you experience heartburn at night and have trouble sleeping, raise the head of the bed by about 6-9 inches. Avoid placing additional pillows to raise your head as this method puts unnecessary pressure on the abdomen.
- Avoid smoking, heavy consumption of alcohol, and drugs as this aggravates acid reflux.
- Perform progressive muscle relaxation techniques to lower anxiety and stress, which may eventually lead to elimination of GERD symptoms.
- Avoid wearing tight clothes or belts around the abdomen to reduce the pressure around it.
- Keep track of your GERD symptoms in a diary or download a free template here. It might be helpful when you visit the doctor.
Although GERD is not a life threatening disease, it can affect your normal life. Understanding the disorder and taking the right precautions including dietary and lifestyle changes can help you find relief.