Home / Diets / GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) Diet

GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) Diet

Symptoms of reflux occur when the specialized muscle between the esophagus and stomach weakens and allows stomach acid to splash up into the esophagus. These symptoms include heartburn, chest discomfort, and bitter fluid flowing up into the mouth. Chest discomfort can occur. If the stomach juice trickles into the breathing tubes, hoarseness, cough, and even shortness of breath can occur. This entire problem is called GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). A number of factors, including certain foods, may cause the lower esophageal muscle to relax, causing GERD.

The lower esophageal muscle can be weakened by factors other than food. The following recommendations may be helpful in reducing symptoms:

  1. Stop using tobacco in all forms. Nicotine weakens the lower esophageal muscle.
  2. Avoid chewing gum and hard candy. They increase the amount of swallowed air which, in turn, leads to belching and reflux.
  3. Do not lie down immediately after eating. Avoid late evening snacks.
  4. Eat small, frequent portions of food and snack if needed.
  5. Lose weight if overweight. Obesity leads to increased reflux.
  6. Elevate the head of the bed six to eight inches to prevent reflux when sleeping. Extra pillows, by themselves, are not very helpful.
  7. The following foods aggravate acid reflux, and should be avoided:
    • fatty or fried foods
    • peppermint and spearmint
    • whole milk
    • oils
    • chocolate
    • creamed foods or soups
    • most fast foods
  8. The following foods irritate an inflamed lower esophagus and may need to be limited or avoided:
    • citrus fruits and juices (grapefruit, orange, pineapple, tomato)
    • coffee (regular and decaffeinated)
    • caffeinated soft drinks
    • tea
    • other caffeinated beverages
  9. Spicy or acidic foods may not be tolerated by some individuals.