Foods to avoid if you suffer from Acid Reflux

The burning sensation in the chest, a bitter taste in the throat and a bloated stomach – the feelings are all too familiar if you suffer from acid reflux.

Published: Thursday 15 August 2019

The burning sensation in the chest, a bitter taste in the throat and a bloated stomach – the feelings are all too familiar if you suffer from acid reflux. Acid reflux occurs:

  • When your stomach is full.
  • The lower oesophageal sphincter weakens or is damaged so it can retain the stomach acids.
  • You have too much acid in the stomach.

If you didn’t know already, but the foods that you eat heavily impact the amount of acid you stomach produces.

What foods should you avoid?

It is important to know what foods trigger your acid reflux because you can learn more about your triggers and how to reduce your symptoms.

Foods you should avoid include:

  • Spicy foods – A few studies have suggested that spicy foods cause abdominal pain and a burning sensation. Although the evidence is mixed, its important to consider your spice tolerance when you eat.
  • High fat meals – Foods containing high amounts of fat will cause the lower oesophageal sphincter to relax, making it easier for the stomach acids to flow back up the oesophagus.
  • Chocolate – The cocoa in chocolate is acidic, which can make your acid reflux symptoms worse. It causes the muscles to relax and gastric contents to rise lead to the burning sensation in the oesophagus.
  • Coffee – caffeinated drinks such as coffee has been shown to aggravate acid reflux symptoms because it increases stomach acids. If you’re a coffee lover, it’s best to avoid or limit your intake.
  • Onions – Specifically raw onions can cause acid reflux symptoms to worsen. Onions also contain a rich source of fermentable fibres which can lead to belching, triggering the symptoms.
  • Milk – Although some people drink milk to relieve their acid reflux symptoms, whole milk can make symptoms worse. It can increase stomach acid production making you feel worse.
  • Alcohol – Drinking alcohol causes the lower oesophageal sphincter to relax which will allow the stomach acid to be released into the oesophagus. Specifically, wine and beer can make symptoms worse and excessive drinking can damage your oesophagus lining which will make It more sensitive to stomach acid.

Are there foods which can help reduce the symptoms?

Although no food will cure acid reflux, certain foods, including a variety of well-balanced vegetables and protein which can help to soothe symptoms.

  • Lean meats and seafood – Lean meats including chicken and turkey as well as seafood can help to reduce acid reflux symptoms. Meat containing a lot of fat will sit in your stomach for a longer period of time, placing more pressure on the lower oesophageal sphincter.
  • Green Vegetables – Vegetables including broccoli, asparagus, green beans and potatoes are naturally low in fat and sugar which can help to less stomach acid.
  • Non citrus fruits – Fruits such as bananas and melons are great to eat to alleviate symptoms. Bananas is a low acid fruit and has a high fibre content. Similarly, melons are also a low acid fruit. They also contain magnesium, which is also found in acid reflux medications.
  • Oatmeal – Oatmeal is a whole grain containing a rich source of healthy fibre. It’s great to have during breakfast and it absorbs stomach acid which can reduce symptoms of acid reflux.
  • Ginger – Ginger is rich in antioxidants which provides a number of medicinal advantages. It contains anti-inflammatory properties which is key to reducing symptoms of acid reflux. You can add grated or sliced roots of ginger in foods or drink ginger teas.

It’s not about what you eat, to reduce acid reflux symptoms you should also adopt some healthier lifestyle changes including:

  • Losing weight, if necessary
  • Eat smaller, less fatty meals
  • Reduce alcohol intake and smoking
  • Avoid eating too close to bedtime
  • Exercise regularly

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