What Should I Eat If I Have GERD?

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GERD happens through a variety of reasons and causations but whatever these reasons and causes are, it has one effect to the body—the weakening of the Lower Esophageal Sphincter or the LES. The LES is the lower sphincter/ valve of our esophagus which closes and opens in response to the entrance of food into the stomach.

Normally, once the stomach has received the food inside and is on the process of digestion, the LES is supposed to be close. However, for some reasons, the LES just wouldn’t close correctly and completely. This leads to the backwashing of the gastric contents to the esophagus, and in many cases, up to the throat. And as we all know, the content of our stomach is acidic—thus the sour and strong taste of acid in our throats while we are suffering from heartburn attacks.

What NOT to Include in Diets for GERD

Once diagnosed with GERD probably the first question that will pop out of your mind is “what should I avoid eating”? In creating diets for GERD, here are the following foods that should be avoided and the reasons why these should not be included in the plan”

Citrus Fruits and Juices. Needless to say, these products are already acidic in nature and the least that we want to happen is to further increase the acidic environment of our throat and stomach.

Coffee, Carbonated Drinks and Alcohol. These drinks, apart from being acidic in nature, are also known to cause further weakening and loss of tone of the LES (lower esophageal sphincter). With a decreased strength and tone of the LES, the possibility of experiencing frequent backflow of acid becomes higher than ever.

Spicy and Greasy Foods. These foods can further aggravate the irritation of the throat and the lining of the esophagus. These will add to the corrosive property of acids and also, these are known to weaken the LES like alcohol and coffee do.

Smoking. Although not considered a part of a meal (not to mention that most heavy smokers do consider it as their dessert or appetizer), nicotine is also a known antagonist of the LES.

What to Include in Diets for GERD

 Fruits and Vegetables. And when we speak of fruits and vegetables, we mean those which are not strong and non-acidic in nature. We need mild flavored and mild tasting fruits and vegetables like melon, pear, peaches, cabbage, broccoli and the like.

Grain Containing Foods. These include whole wheat, grain breads, crackers, bran, white and brown rice, rice cakes, and the like.

Meat and Dairy Products. Eggs and meat products are rich in protein and will promote healing of tissues. As such, the damaged tissues in the GI tract may be healed in a timely manner with the help of these protein rich foods but mind you—milk is not on the list since it increases the acidic content of the stomach when it reacts with the stomach enzymes.

Heartburn, GERD, Acid Reflux—whatever we may call it, it refers to one and the same irritating condition. GERD or otherwise known as Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease is a common condition not only in the US but worldwide. Many people suffer from GERD and in fact, 35% of the people in US are thought to have this condition—both diagnosed and undiagnosed.

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