Discomfort in your chest, a lingering foul taste at the back of your throat, trouble swallowing: these are all common symptoms of acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, roughly 20% of people in the United States experience GERD symptoms regularly. They tend to flare-up after meals.
At Northern Medical Group Gastroenterology Division, located in Fishkill, Poughkeepsie, and Highland, New York, our team relies on the latest treatments to manage GERD and prevent flare-ups. Following these diet tips is the most effective way to avoid GERD flare-ups in your day-to-day life:
Limit acidic and spicy foods
Foods that are high in acid tend to taste a bit sour. Many fruits, as well as some vegetables and other foods, are highly acidic, so you should be conscious of how much of them you consume. You can reduce your chances of having a GERD flare-up by avoiding or limiting:
- Tomatoes, tomato sauce, and salsa
Foods like these increase the acidity in your stomach and can irritate the stomach lining in high amounts. That is why they aggravate acid reflux symptoms, like chest pain and burning.
Stay away from oily, fatty, or fried foods
Nearly everyone enjoys french fries, onion rings, potato chips, and ice cream as a treat. Foods that are high in fat or deep-fried are hard to resist because they taste good.
Foods high in fat aggravate GERD symptoms because they cause your lower esophageal sphincter to relax. In turn, stomach acid can flow upward through the sphincter and into your esophagus. The acid causes inflammation in the esophageal lining, which leads to uncomfortable symptoms.
Foods with high fat or oil contents can also delay the emptying of your stomach and cause the contents to stay there for longer than usual.
Watch what you drink
Avoiding or limiting certain types of beverages can make a positive difference in the frequency and severity of your GERD symptoms. Specifically, it’s important to avoid or limit your alcohol intake if you’re looking to control symptoms of acid reflux.
Alcoholic beverages like red wine, beer, and hard liquor tend to increase acid production in your stomach, which can cause or worsen GERD symptoms. If you’re not ready to cut alcohol out of your life completely, you can:
- Limit yourself to just one or two drinks
- Avoid laying down right after drinking alcohol
- Wait several hours before going to bed after your last drink
- Identify and avoid the alcoholic beverages that affect your GERD symptoms the most
Even certain nonalcoholic beverages, especially carbonated drinks, can aggravate GERD symptoms. The carbonation causes an increase in pressure within your stomach, which places extra pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter. That can cause it to open and let acid into your esophagus.
Pace yourself while eating
Eating quickly makes your digestive system work less efficiently, causing indigestion and a flare-up of acid reflux symptoms. Similarly, overeating causes an increase in pressure inside your stomach and can make you feel worse when the meal is over.
Visit our offices
Consistently experiencing acid reflux symptoms can be distressing. But, with help from our team at Northern Medical Group Gastroenterology Division, you can create a diet around foods that won’t aggravate your condition. To schedule an appointment, call our office or book online right away.