Nutrition for Acid Reflux

Nutrition for Acid Reflux

June 30, 2012

“Nutrition for Acid Reflux”

Written By: Sandra

Dear Readers:

Many people suffer from acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). Acid reflux is when stomach acid flows back (refluxes) into the esophagus. The esophagus is a tube that carries food into the stomach. When refluxing, symptoms such as heartburn, sore throat, and nausea can occur.

Acid reflux is a chronic condition and can cause damage to the esophagus over a long period of time. So what causes this chronic condition? A number of things can cause acid reflux. The following is a list of the most common causes.

1. Hiatal hernia
2. Smoking
3. Undigested food
4. Pregnancy (usually in the 3rd trimester)
5. Stomach ulcer
6. Being overweight
7. Eating a heavy meal and then lying down soon after
8. Caffeine such as coffee, tea, alcohol, soda, and chocolate
9. Acidic foods and spicy foods
10. H-pylori (a stomach bacteria)

H-pylori is a stomach bacteria that causes ulcers. This bacteria can get into the intestines and embed there for years before receiving even one symptom. So by the time one begins to receive symptoms of h-pylori, the intestines are already damaged. Even after treatment (with high amounts of antibiotics), one may still receive acid reflux because the damage to the duodenal tissue (it interferes with the digestion of food).

So how can we alleviate acid reflux through diet and nutrition? The following are helpful suggestions:

1. Do not drink any liquids with meals. Drink afterwards. Food and water together can create more stomach acid.
2. Avoid adding spicy herbs or hot condiments to food.
3. Avoid caffeine such as coffee, tea, alcohol, carbonated drinks, and chocolate.
4. Increase the fiber in your diet. Regular bowel movements create less gas and bloating, which will create less acid.
5. Ginger helps reduce stomach acid. You can buy ginger tablets in any health store.
6. Aloe Vera helps reduce stomach acid. You can buy it in juice form or leaf form (for drinks).
7. Coconut juice helps reduce stomach acid.
8. Apple cider vinegar helps reduce stomach acid.

As most foods contain acid, the goal is to consume acidic foods in moderation. Try not to combine two acidic foods in one serving. It is also suggested to eat smaller meals throughout the day to control the acid reflux. Below is a list of foods that contain moderate to high amounts of acid, therefore, do not mix these foods together. Eat them separately.

Fruit: oranges, apples, peaches, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, and cranberries

Vegetables: onions, sauerkraut, scallions, and garlic

Meat: Ground beef, chicken, fried fish, tuna fish, hot dogs, beef, pork, and deli meats

Dairy: Fried eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, and mozzarella cheese

Breads: garlic bread, granola cereal, bran bread, oat bread, wheat bread, and rye bread

Miscellaneous: cornstarch, wheat germ, ketchup, and flour

Another remedy that is used for acid reflux is calcium (Tums). I suggest using Tums in moderation (when everything else fails). This is because the use of Tums (over a long period of time) can reduce Vitamin B-12 and Vitamin C absorption in the body. This can lead to a reduction of iron in the body. When this reduction happens, the risk of anemia is increased, especially in older adults.

If the proper nutrition does not alleviate symptoms of acid reflux, it is recommended to see a gastrointestinal specialist for a complete check-up.

As always…..looking out for YOU.

Sandra

References:

Klawitter, Bridget & King, Kathy (2007). Nutrition Therapy: Advanced Counseling Skills, Third Edition. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins

National Institute of Health. “Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease”. Retrieved August 11, 2011 from www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001311/

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