Improving Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Through Diet & Lifestyle

Per AboutGERD.org, “Proper treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) always begins with a visit to a healthcare professional to obtain an accurate diagnosis. It is important to recognize that chronic reflux does not get better on its own. Over-the-counter remedies may provide short-term symptom relief, but can mask an underlying disease if used long-term.

Let’s outline some ways GERD can be managed with diet along with treatment from your doctor.

My first bit of advice is to keep a food journal. If after eating you experience heartburn and reflux, take a look at your journal to identify the culprit. Then avoid it in future meals or determine if smaller amounts can be tolerated.

It’s important to know that everyone is different and one thing that triggers reflux in one person may not in another.

Trigger Foods to avoid:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Chocolate (I know, this one is a low blow)
  • Citrus & tomato products
  • Foods high in fat / fried foods
  • Mint
  • Onions
  • Saturated and trans-fats (bad fats)
  • Spicy foods

 

Foods that may help prevent or relieve symptoms: 

  • Non-citrus fruits
    • apples, bananas, melons, pears, etc.
  • Veggies not high in fat
    • Avoid onions and tomatoes
  • Eggs or egg whites if the whole egg causes reflux
  • Lean meats that are baked, broiled, grilled, or poached
  • Complex carbohydrates & Fiber
    • brown rice, couscous, oatmeal, whole-grain bread, etc.
  • Root vegetables
    • Avoid garlic and onion
  • Mono & Polyunsaturated fats (good fats, use in moderation)
    • Salmon and Trout are good examples

 

Lifestyle changes: 

  • Avoid alcohol
  • Chew gum (no mint flavors)
  • Don’t eat 3 to 4 before bed
    • Remain upright for 2 hours after eating
  • Don’t over eat
  • Eat smaller meals
  • Elevate head on an extra pillow in bed
  • If you smoke, work on quitting

 

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is a good starting point. Reducing your number of triggers can be enough to notice improvement.  If you have not talked to your doctor or RN clinical care manager (like myself) at your primary care office who will work with you and your doctor to come up with a care plan, please do so.

Sources:

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