Perhaps you have been taking far too many antacids these days and you are wondering if there is possibly an alternative to popping the fat little white pills to solve your heartburn problem. Indeed, there is a much more sensible solution to acid reflux/heartburn, and it all starts with what you eat.
People are not born with acid reflux; this condition occurs as a result of lifestyle choices including – diet, exercise, and stress levels. So, it does stand to reason that if diet is one of the causes of acid reflux, then it is more than likely that choosing your foods wisely can also alleviate it as well.
In order to reduce or eliminate acid reflux you are going to want to stay clear of fatty and acidic foods in general, as these tend to increase acid secretion for digestion. For example, you’ll want to steer clear of all citrus fruits (and juices) like oranges, lemons, and tomatoes.
In addition, you will want to avoid high fat steaks (where the meat has a marbled appearance), butter, pasta, sour cream, ice cream, mashed potatoes, chicken nuggets, buffalo wings – I think you can see where we are going here. As well, you will need to avoid coffee (decaffeinated or regular), all forms of alcohol (except in very small doses), and all forms of tea. Coffee in particular has been shown to increase activity in the esophagus, with studies showing that it is not caffeine in particular that causes it, but other ingredients found in the beans (no matter which way they are roasted), can be a strong contributor.
Don’t fall victim to the old wives tale of milk calming the stomach down after a big meal. While it may help you in the short term for a bit, over the long haul it is going to cause more damage by causing reflux while you are sleeping.
The list of foods that will reduce the occurrence of acid reflux, are not surprisingly, reflective of every nutritionist’s guide to sensible eating. Suggestions being; apples, bananas, baked potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, fish, eggs (whites only), goat or feta cheese (you want to avoid all other cheeses), rice cakes, and whole wheat bread.
At the end of the day, what you should be aiming for is to reduce an overabundance of acid secretion, steering clear of foods that require more enzymes to aid in digestion.
Food intake is not about what you eat, however, you will also want to change your eating style or habits as well, as this also contributes to either a regular amount of acid secretion, or an abundance of it, which will result in acid reflux. Eating little but often every two-three hours, rather than purging on big meals is the ideal. Eating a lot of food at one time is tough on your digestion system, so it overcompensates by secreting more acid in an attempt to funnel the food through your body.
I realize it can seem a little restrictive at first making changes to your diet. However you can either continue to make unwise diet choices like steak, potato chips, alcohol and coffee and chug antacids to counteract the acid reflux, or you can change your lifestyle just a bit and reduce the occurrence of heartburn, and likely feel a whole lot better overall.
Once you have your acid reflux symptoms under control you will likely find you can reintroduce some items back into your diet, only in moderation, without experiencing any painful side effects. Keeping a food diary and your reaction to what you consume should give you an idea of which foods are the worst triggers for you.