Foods To Eat And Avoid With GERD

Having a rich diet is what doctors always advise, especially when someone has digestive problems and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). But you need to be choosy as some foods can be a boon and some bane for your health in this condition.

A study reveals that about 20% of US people have GERD. In these cases, people often suffer from belching, bloating, and burning discomfort, affecting their overall wellbeing.

If you are also suffering from the same or feeling the same symptoms, you should skim through the post. Here we will uncover what to eat and avoid if you have digestive problems or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). 

Besides changing your diet plan, you should also change your eating habits to relieve heartburn. The University of Michigan Health report advises to eat several small meals rather than three large meals and take your dinner 2 to 3 hours before your sleep time to lower symptoms of GERD.  

Let’s know more about GERD before heading to what food you should eat and avoid if you have GERD.


What is GERD?

GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease where stomach content or acid flows back to the tube, joining your throat and stomach, esophagus. This backwash affects the LES (lower esophageal sphincter). Usually, it may happen twice a week.

Normally, the LES stops the food in the stomach from entering the esophagus. But when the LES is weak or damaged, stomach acid may enter the tube, which leads to discomfort and several other problems like esophageal inflammation and regurgitation of food or fluid.

A person suffering from GERD may get heartburn and acid indigestion. This digestive problem is corrected by changing the lifestyle and diet in most cases.

Since the amount of acid produced in the stomach influences the food you eat, you can control acid reflux by eating the right food.


Symptoms of GERD

If you also feel heartburn and acid reflux, there are chances that you may have GERD. Some people say they feel like a backflow of food with a bitter and acid taste. And some experience chest pain from the breastbone to the throat.

Apart from this, there are other symptoms of GERD too:

  • Vomiting 
  • Difficulty in swallowing and breathing
  • Nausea
  • Chronic cough
  • Bad breath
  • A hoarse voice

If you experience backflow of acid at night, you may also have:

  • Sleeping problems
  • Asthma
  • Laryngitis
  • Lingering cough

Typically, the heartburn and burning may last for two hours. Some experts advise you to stand upright when experiencing acid reflux as it clears out the acid in the esophagus and gives short relief.


What foods should I avoid if I have GERD?

As discussed earlier, the more you care about your diet, the more healthy you feel. This goes the same with GERD; people with this digestive problem should be choosy and carefully pick the food. As whatever you choose directly affects the digestive system of your body.

Avoiding food that can worsen GERD is an ideal approach. Failing to do so will lead to multiple problems and heartburn pain. People should keep in mind that balancing your diet is more critical than doing physical exercise in this case.

Here are some foods, which you should avoid if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease:

  • Spicy and fatty foods
  • Tomato-based foods
  • Chocolates
  • Alcohol
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Caffeine
  • Mint
  • Garlic
  • Citrus food
  • Onion 
  • Citrus juices

We recommend you to completely avoid alcohol, fatty foods, peppermint, and chocolate as they can worsen GERD symptoms, which you don’t want. These food items may relax the LES, thus allowing the food to enter the esophagus from the stomach.


What foods can I eat with GERD?

Well, this is the most asked question by people having GERD. There are plenty of food items that are less likely to cause any problem. Below is the list of some food items you can choose from to get relief from gastroesophageal reflux disease:

  • Vegetables

Vegetables are “must add” food as they are low in fat and sugar and provide you with multiple benefits. Go with fresh and multinational vegetables like cauliflower, potatoes, asparagus, cucumbers, green beans, and broccoli.

  • Meat and seafood

It’s always best to eat lean meat (fish and chicken) and seafood to fulfill your daily protein requirements. These food items may also lower the symptoms of acid flux.

  • Snacks and fruits

Try sliced fruits (except citrus), low-fat hummus, pretzels, crackers, or corn tortillas if you have digestive problems or GERD. Also, add oatmeal, whole-grain bread, and whole-grain rice to your diet as they are a good source of fiber and may even reduce the risk of acid reflux. 

  • Desserts and sweets

There is a wide range of desserts and sweets that you can eat when you have acid-reflux problems, such as gelatin desserts, sherbet, low-fat pudding, and mints.

  • Egg whites and healthy fats

An egg white is a great way to get short relief from GERD, but avoid egg yolks as they are high in fat. Also, use healthy fats like olive oil, sesame oil, walnut, and sunflower oil rather than trans fats and saturated fats.

  • Soups 

If you are a soup lover, go with homemade soups of lean ingredients or lean-broth-based soups instead of creamy and tomato soups.

  • Milk products

Add low-fat yogurt, milk, ice cream, or cheese to your diet. You can also go with almond milk.

Please note that the above food items are not a cure for GERD; they will just give you short relief.


How do I determine what triggers my GERD symptoms?

Well, you can also know what triggers your GERD symptoms and what not by simply keeping track of:

  • Food you eat
  • Time of the day when you eat
  • And symptoms you experience after eating the food

Note the above things for one week and then analyze what dietary plan is helpful for you and gives you relief from GERD. Also, you can ask your doctor and share your one-week report with them to make a perfect dietary plan for yourself.


Final Take

GERD is a major concern these days, which may affect your lifestyle. Following proper dietary habits and plans may provide you with relief from heartburn pains. However, there is no proven dietary plan and food to prevent GERD, but avoiding foods with high fat and high cholesterol food items may help you. Also, there are some natural medications, which will help you improve your gastrointestinal health. It’s best to reach out to your doctor to improve your symptoms.