As you may already know, your food habits are one of the major factors that trigger your heartburn or acid reflux.
Some of the foods that you take aggravates the problem of acid reflux, whereas there are some that help you controlling it down and relieves you from the pains and GERD irritations. In this article, we will discuss these in great details.
There are 3 ways in which your food can raise the risk of heartburn:
- It increases the number of times you experience reflux.
- Makes your digestive system produce more acid than its usual, thus making your stomach content more acidic in nature, that in turn makes your reflux even more painful and irritating.
- Its causes damage and irritation to the esophagus’s wall lining while going down the track from your throat to your stomach, without even triggering reflux.
As we have already discussed in great details, the main player in your acid reflux game is the LES, the valve at the lower end of the esophagus where it connects with the stomach. The malfunction of the LES valve creates the entire acid reflux problem, when it doesn’t close tightly enough and relaxes to open up accidently, allowing the stomach acidic content back fire into the esophagus. When this acidic content damages your esophagus lining, you feel that burning sensation or pain in your chest.
Here below are few of the major precautions that you should maintain, as far as your food habits re concern. These will help you keep that irritating & painful acid reflux under control!
- Avoid high fat food intake. It takes longer time for the body to digest fat, as compared to proteins or carbohydrates. This is the reason why you feel full stomach for a longer time if you have a high fat diet such as your favorite cheeseburger or pizza, than after eating a chicken and turkey breast or your favorite cereal. And a full stomach exerts more pressure on your LES, Longer the stomach is full, longer the pressure on LES. This in turn increases the risk of reflux.
So, avoid too much of those high fat contents, and go for the other nutritious high-protein or carbohydrates delicacies.
- Avoid or limit your alcohol beverage intake. There are 2 ways that alcohol can increase the risk of your acid reflux. Firstly, the first property of alcohol is that it relaxes your muscle and your nerves. Due to this, when you take alcohol, it relaxes your LES muscles, which makes the LES unable to close back tightly. This allows the reflux of your stomach acidic content moving back into you esophagus, thus causing the damage. Secondly, alcohol itself is acidic in nature. Thus it causes the damage to the esophagus lining as it goes down the food pipe, even before any reflux occurs. So, its better to keep away from alcohol beverages.
For many people though, the alcohol doesn’t sets off the reflux issues. If you are among those lucky few, you can definitely enjoy you glass of wine or beer, every once in a while. But be moderate with your alcohol consumption or it will definitely cause a lot of trouble later.
- Avoid large meals at a time. Rather go for smaller meal, at regular intervals. As we already discussed few minutes back. A full stomach may cause your reflux to increase. As it puts more pressure on your LES. Plus, it sends an instant message to your stomach to produces more of those acidic enzymes, as more food is coming in. This makes the stomach to secrete more of those acidic fluids to digest the excess of food going into it, causing the increase in acid reflux.
So, do not gobble up your food, until you are completely full. Keep it moderated; keep some space empty in your belly for some air and water. Eat in smaller chucks. This will keep the functioning of your stomach in track, without doing the reflux dance.
- Avoid food that annoys your food pipe. Apart from alcohol that we talked about, few food items that irritate your esophagus are too much of Citrus fruits and juices, Tea or Coffee, Raw onion, French fries, Ground beef (chuck), Chicken (nuggets & buffalo wings) etc. Some of the most favorites such as Chocolates, Chips, Brownies and Doughnuts are also not too heartburn friendly in nature and can trigger your reflux. I won’t say, do not eat these at all, but take these in moderation.
Now no matter what scientists, doctors and various health groups suggests or recommends on what good for you and what’s not as far as your heartburn is concerned, the fact is that each individual body differs. Some food stuff for someone’s body may cause no issues at all or even relief the reflux, whereas in someone else’s, these would cause havoc. So the best would be that you yourself be your own judge and personal diet coach. You need to do your own research on what is favorable to you and what’s not. Maintain your own diary and keep a tab on the foods and drinks that ring the reflux bell. Mark them RED in your diary and avoid them.
Apart from the food you take, there are few more factors that also affect your reflux issues. For example, eating your food fast aggravate the issue. The faster you eat, the greater is your acid reflux risks. So, take it easy & slow down the action.
One more major factor is your meal schedule. When and in what duration you intake your meals also impacts your reflux behavior. Breaking down 3 big meals in to rather smaller meals is definitely a good idea. This would prevent you from having full stomach meals, thus avoiding the acid reflux.
Also the way the food is being prepared also decides if it is going to be troublesome for you. For eg. food that are Baked, Boiled, Steamed or Grilled are favorable to avoid acid reflux, whereas foods that are deep-fried or stir-fried are to be avoided.
So, now that you know it in good details on foods that causes heartburn and foods to avoid with acid reflux, you should be in a much better position to decide intelligently on your food habits. Next time when you are preparing your meal, do take all these points into consideration.
Later, we will be discussing a lot of recipes for acid reflux that are both good on your palate and your stomach too. Till then, take good care of yourself. Eat healthy! 🙂