Avoid acid reflux and heartburn…for good! Follow this GERD diet.
Most people get heartburn occasionally, but if you experience acid reflux frequently, then you might be suffering from GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease).
GERD is caused when the lower “gate” (sphincter) of the lower esophagus relaxes, thereby creating a regular flow of stomach acids through the esophageal tubes.
GERD has the potential to cause serious damage to your esophageal lining, vocal chords, lung tissues, and throat, in addition to creating ulcers.
How is GERD different from heartburn?
GERD is the clinical disease of chronic acid reflux, and heartburn is one of its symptoms.
The symptoms of GERD include:
- Heartburn- burning, painful sensation behind the chest, and feeling of a “bubble” behind the breastbone
- Partial vomiting of sour bile into mouth
- Throat pain while swallowing
- Asthma-like symptoms, including coughing, wheezing, and sore throat
Here are 20 Do’s and Don’t for managing GERD:
1- DO…Take vitamin B12 supplements.
Vitamin B12 deficiency is a common complication with GERD patients who take antacid medication.
A normal amount of stomach acids is healthy and beneficial for digesting foods, and your body cannot absorb vitamin B12 without them.
If you take prescription heartburn medication, then you run the risk of developing B12 deficiency, which can lead to anemia, chronic fatigue, memory loss, and a host of other harmful symptoms.
2- DON’T… Eat chocolate.
Chocolate is chock-full of ingredients that disagree with acid reflux- it’s highly caffeinated, contains theobromine, a bitter alkaloid, and it’s high in fat. If you must have your chocolate fix, opt for lower-fat dark chocolate- at least you’ll be getting some antioxidants.
3- DO…Follow a low-fat diet.
Fatty foods slow down digestion, increasing your chances of suffering a gastrointestinal backlash. Follow a light diet, and you’ll feel lighter, too.
4- DON’T…Eat fried foods. Oily foods are at the top of the no-no list if you have GERD, and fried foods are the oiliest of the oiliest. Save yourself from the pain, and experiment with roasted potatoes, eggplant, carrots, zucchini, or kohlrabi. Roasting brings out the natural flavor, and requires less oil.
5- DO…Avoid caffeine.
A small cup of coffee every morning is fine, even if you get chronic heartburn, but a tall mug of latte every three hours is pushing it.
6- DON’T…Eat starchy carbohydrates.
Starchy, high-sugar vegetables are difficult for your body to digest, resulting in large amounts of undigested carbs. Carbohydrates that sit in your stomach end up contributing to excess stomach acids, a sure-fire way to cause acid reflux.
7- DO…Eat sauerkraut.
Aged, fermented foods like pickles, kimchee, and sauerkraut have a stabilizing effect on the tummy, according to many health experts, when eaten in moderate amounts.
8- DON’T…Consume alcohol.
Although alcohol is not an acidic substance, it does have a loosening effect on the esophagus’s lower valve that controls gastric acid flow.
9- DO…Take probiotics supplements.
Probiotics promote healthy bacteria, a veritable army against heartburn, diarrhea, and many other stomach problems.
Probiotics are a main ingredient in yogurt and kefir, but if you can’t handle dairy products, then opt for probiotic supplements and tonics.
10- DON’T…Indulge in fatty dairy products.
Sour cream, soft cheeses, ice cream, and whole milk these all contribute to GERD symptoms. Opt for the lower fat versions, if dairy is what you crave.
11- DO…Exercise portion control.
When dining out, ask for a to-go container as soon as the food reaches your table. You’ll be less tempted to overindulge if you divide your meal in half before you start eating, and save the rest for later.
12- DON’T…Drink acidic fruit juice.
Orange juice, grapefruit juice, lemonade, and tomato juice just add fuel to the fire. Also, avoid tomato-based sauces, as their acidic content aggravates heartburn symptoms.
13- DO…Keep a food diary.
Let’s face it- not everybody can keep a mental log of everything he ate this past week, let alone since breakfast. Keeping track of your eating habits in a food journal is the only way to manage your heartburn triggers.
14- DON’T…Drink bubbly drinks.
Remember the volcano science projects you used to do as a kid- the one where you put baking soda inside a papier-mâché “volcano,” poured in a solution of vinegar and red food food coloring? Well, imagine that in your stomach…
15- DO…Avoid processed foods.
Overly processed, refined foods lack the fiber needed to travel through your digestive system efficiently. Choose whole foods- brown rice instead of white, whole sugar instead of white, and you’ll also get more vitamins, to boot.
16- DON’T…Eat fatty meats.
Stay away from fatty beefsteaks, beef jerky, and pork. Leaner meats like ground turkey breast, skinless chicken, and trimmed beef chuck are healthier for the heart, less likely to cause heartburn, and higher in vitamin B12.
17- DO…Drink apple cider.
Apple cider is a natural alternative that balances stomach fluids, even if you have GERD.
Drink a few tablespoons of organic apple cider added to an 8-ounce glass of water, every day after meals.
18- DON’T…Fall asleep after a meal.
Your body needs time and energy to process a meal. While physical activity is excellent for pushing food through your system, lying on the couch has the opposite effect. Sit down for dinner early, and make a habit of going out for a neighborhood stroll afterwards.
19- DO…Exercise regularly.
Light aerobic exercise increases your metabolism, ensuring that your food digests quicker and more efficiently, as opposed to sitting around in your stomach collecting acids
20- DON’T…Sleep on your right side.
Use the force of gravity to your advantage. If nighttime heartburn is an issue, then sleep on your left side, and your stomach acids will stay where they belong.