Dietary Changes for GERD

Foods to Avoid on a GERD Diet

Certain types of food can cause acid reflux or make it worse. As part of your diet, you may want to avoid:
 
  • Chocolate
  • Peppermint
  • Fried and fatty foods
  • Tomato products
  • Foods and drinks that contain caffeine
  • Alcoholic beverages.
     
Coffee and alcohol actually stimulate your stomach to make more acid than usual. Alcohol, chocolate, and fatty foods are believed to cause the lower esophageal sphincter to weaken. Together, too much stomach acid and a weak lower esophageal sphincter can increase the symptoms of GERD.
 
Other foods that can make your symptoms worse include:
 
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Mustard
  • Certain spices
  • Vinegar
  • Carbonated beverages, such as soda
  • Citrus fruits and juices.
     
When starting a diet for GERD, the first step is knowing the foods that can create or worsen symptoms. The next step is knowing which foods cause problems for you. If you love pasta with tomato sauce, see if this meal makes your symptoms worse. If it does not, this may be a food that you can continue to have as part of your diet.
 

Changing When and How Much to Eat on a Diet for GERD

In addition to avoiding certain foods, the GERD diet involves changing when and how much you eat. This is because large meals can cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax more, make your stomach produce more acid, and put pressure on the sphincter from inside your stomach.
 
You should also not eat for at least two to three hours before bedtime and avoid lying down after any meal. Acid reflux is less likely to be a problem when you are standing up, because gravity helps prevent food and acid from moving back up into your esophagus. Also, by not eating right before bedtime, your stomach is more likely to have started to empty, so the levels of acid and food should be lower.
 

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

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