Acid reflux is considered a normal physiological response when the sphincter connecting the stomach and esophagus relaxes and allows stomach acid to flow up into the esophagus, this can occur in adults as well as children.
If this occurs chronically with heart burn, pain, food regurgitation, aspiration, erosion of the esophagus or any of the other symptoms then it gets defined as GERD, gastro-esophageal reflux disease. (1)
Treating GERD is essential because if left un-checked, it can cause serious damage to the esophagus.
Limit these foods:
Some foods are acidic, stimulate acid or cause the sphincter connecting the stomach and esophagus to relax. For this reason the National Institute of Health recommends avoiding chocolate, coffee, peppermint, spicy food, heavy greasy meals, tomato products and alcohol so you can reduce symptoms associated with GERD. (2)
Lifestyle interventions to try:
During meal times by eating slower you can allow the signal to travel from the stomach to the brain to let you know when you are actually satisfied. By eat smaller portions and drinking less with meals you put less pressure on the sphincter connecting the stomach and esophagus, this can reduce reflux and regurgitation.
The hunger scale is good guide for understanding hunger cues and knowing when to stop. Aim for stopping at a 5 or 6, when you feel satisfied and are just beginning to feel full.
|Hungry and irritable
|Stomach is empty
|Feeling a little hungry
|Beginning to feel full
|Full but there is still room for more
|Full and if you eat more it will hurt
|If you eat too much you get tired
|Thanksgiving full results in being physically uncomfortable.
A little change can have a big impact: Posture, clothing and excess abdominal weight can make GERD symptoms worse.
- If you have excess abdominal weight, consider losing weight to reduce pressure on the stomach.
- When you eat meals avoid collapsing your shoulders forward.
- Taking mucilaginous herbs help to reduce inflammation, which can provide some relief from GERD symptoms. Unsure which supplements would be best for you? Take this quick assessment for guidance.
- Sit in a chair that has enough support to hold your chest up, this can reduce pressure on the stomach.
- Wearing tight fitting clothes puts pressure on the organs and can push on the stomach, take it off.
There are claims that eating an alkaline diet can prevent GERD symptoms. Foods do have a pH, acidic, neutral or alkaline. This may work for some but if you decide to proceed down this path be careful that you are not compromising your nutrition for a diet that does not yet have solid evidence of proven results.
- Mahan, L. K., & Raymond, J. L. (2017). Krauses food & the nutrition care process. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
- Eating, Diet, &Nutrition for GER & GERD. (2014, November 01). Retrieved June 19, 2017, from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/acid-reflux-ger-gerd-adults/eating-diet-nutrition
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