With Project Diet Acid Reflux, I will attempt to both provide you a basic diet to which you can adhere to improve your acid reflux symptoms and I will try to address the myths and truths of how various foods contribute to your heartburn or to your relief. This page related to the symptoms of GERD and Barrett’s Esophagus will evolve, grow and change over time.
Note: I will tell you what the latest research indicates, but I will also lean on personal experience and the anecdotal wisdom of people close to me. You will find research that indicates certain diets don’t exacerbate your acid reflux despite what conventional wisdom has been for many years. But sometimes research seems to ignore real human experience. In order to reduce acid reflux through diet, you’ll need to exercise some common sense on top of scientific understanding.
Acid Reflux Diets vs. Science
For example, a Stanford University study published in the May 2006 edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine revealed that avoiding those pesky and acidic citrus fruits doesn’t actually help you improve and heal your acid reflux or GERD symptoms. Now this may be very true from a technical standpoint… but it also doesn’t in any way indicate that consuming citrus fruits helps.
And guess what? If you’re experiencing frequent heartburn, you surely know that regardless of whether that orange juice is clinically proven to hurt your acid reflux or not… IT JUST PLAIN HURTS. That’s right. You drink it.. and your stomach HURTS.
So when personal and anecdotal evidence suggests it hurts to eat something, I won’t tell you it’s okay to eat oranges just because a study says so. The relationship between acid reflux and diet can to some small reasonable degree be a personal relationship.
However, I will pay close attention to the latest research, and I won’t discourage you from trying things clinically proven to help. I’m just trying to introduce some common sense to the acid reflux dilemma.
Over time I plan to add three sections either to this page or as sub-pages to help you define your diet for acid reflux. One section will discuss safe foods for GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). The second section will suggest foods you can consume, but only in restrained moderation to avoid provoking your acid reflux. Then, of course, I will provide a section dedicated to those foods which trigger the most discomfort and pain as well as potentially contribute to long-term damage to your lower esophagus, ultimately leading to Barrett’s Esophagus.
Remember that a smart acid reflux disease diet can help you avoid Barrett’s Esophagus symptoms. Don’t just see acid reflux diets as a means to avoid simple heartburn.
Acid Reflux Diet Goals
Today I will begin with a quick list for habits and techniques you should immediately begin using to treat your acid reflux and find heartburn relief. After you read this you might also look over my article about heartburn home remedies.
1. Replace Large Meals With More Frequent Small Meals
The very first and most important point I can convey is that you must stop eating fewer, larger meals. I encourage you to eat more frequent, smaller meals. If this sounds difficult, like a weight-loss diet, try thinking in terms of eating the same amount of food but split up into multiple separate meals. Most diets for acid reflux begin with this basic change.
Smaller meals exert less stress on your stomach and thus require it to secrete less acid.
In addition, hose larger meals can increase pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Your LES is the top door of your stomach, where foods slide from your esophagus down into your stomach, and where stomach acid leaks upwards into your esophagus to cause pain and heartburn. You really want to put as little pressure on that doorway as possible. Larger meals expand your stomach and thus exert upward pressure on this doorway.
2. Consume complex carbohydrates.
This will go against your low-carb diet, but at least while trying to improve your acid reflux, I suggest including some foods that are high in complex carbohydrates in each of your meals. Foods such as breads, rice and pasta are able to soak up excess stomach acid and assist you to feel more full with smaller meals. Those carbs can do wonders to diet acid reflux away.
3. Minimize high-fat foods in your diet.
Higher-fat foods stay in your stomach longer and require more effort by your stomach to digest. This keeps your stomach acid production higher for a longer time. Often times your stomach will have digested much of the rest of your meal so it will be emptying out, but the acid production stays high because it is still working on the slow-digesting high fat foods.
4. Avoid alcoholic beverages.
Ideally, you should avoid alcohol while you’re recuperating from GERD or acid reflux. But at the very least I suggest limiting your consumption and in particular I urge you to avoid consuming alcoholic beverages on an empty stomach.
5. Don’t lounge (and definitely don’t go to bed) after eating!
I know sometimes you might get sleepy after a nice meal (hopefully eating smaller meals improves this phenomenon), but while your stomach acids get to work after a meal, I urge you to maintain an upright position for at least an hour after you’ve finished eating.
6. Sleep with your head slightly elevated.
Related to that last point, I suggest trying to elevate your head while you sleep. Please note that I am not advising you to develop a sore neck. When I say elevate your head, I mean you want to elevate your whole torso at a very gradual incline, with your head higher than your sore tummy.
7. And just to repeat it once more…
Please remember, above all else, do not overeat! Eating too much of any type of food will stimulate the stomach to secrete more acids for the digestion process and simultaneously put excess pressure on the door between your stomach and your esophagus. To successfully diet acid reflux away, you’ll need to learn restraint and control.
I hope this helps you develop your own diet for acid reflux disease and helps you to prevent some of the symptoms of Barrett’s esophagus and GERD. Please return often as I grow this Project Diet Acid Reflux. I may also create separate pages to cover individual aspects of the smart acid reflux disease diet.
Thank you for reading and thanks again for visiting Barrett’s Esophagus.