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acid reflux diet

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If you’re someone who has suffered from acid reflux and/or heartburn, then you know how much it can disrupt your life. Others around you who don’t have it might think, “How big of a deal can it be?” They’ve all eaten spicy foods and had a little indigestion after, and they think that perhaps that’s what you’re making such a fuss about. But, you know it’s much worse than that. It can leave you with “sour stomach”—that sensation that feels like you’re always dropping down a roller coaster. It can lead to temporary laryngitis, causing you to partially or completely lose your voice for days on end. It can make you feel terribly nauseous. It’s very difficult to go about one’s regular life with these symptoms active. While there are over-the-counter medications you can take to treat symptoms, it’s important to combine those with the proper diet. Here are foods that can make acid reflux worse, and better.

acid reflux diet

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Harmful: Full-fat dairy products

While traditionally, some full-fat dairy products like yogurt can contain beneficial bacteria that aids in digestion, those with acid reflux can respond poorly to things like full-fat sour cream, cheese, and milk.

acid reflux diet

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Harmful: Fried food

Fried food tends to reduce pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, which is how acid travels from the stomach up the esophagus. Stay away from French fries, onion rings, and fried chips if you have acid reflux.

acid reflux diet

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Harmful: Fatty meat cuts

Fatty meat cuts like sirloin steak or prime rib can cause acid reflux to act up. Since these delay stomach emptying, they increase the chances of acid traveling up from the stomach.

acid reflux diet

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Harmful: Citrus fruit

Citrus fruits like grapefruit, oranges, and tangerines are notoriously bad for acid reflux as they are so acidic in nature. Also look out for things like lemon or lime juice hiding in salad dressings and sauce.

acid reflux diet

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Harmful: Tomatoes

Tomatoes are another highly acidic food. While a handful of cherry tomatoes may not trigger symptoms, tomato-based sauces and soups certainly can.

acid reflux diet

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Harmful: Garlic and onions

Garlic and onions, though loaded with other health benefits, are famously tough on those with stomach issues ranging from acid reflux to small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. They aren’t good for those on a Low FODMAP diet or those on the gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) diet.

acid reflux diet

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Harmful: Coffee/alcohol

Sadly, the beverages that perk you up in the morning and calm you down in the evening will not help with acid reflux. Even caffeine-free coffee drinks can still cause stomach upset, so switch to tea for your morning pick-me-up.

acid reflux diet

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Harmful: Spicy food

Interestingly enough, some experts suggest that regular exposure to spicy foods won’t trigger acid reflux symptoms. Rather, it’s those who rarely touch the stuff and have it sparingly who may suffer.

acid reflux diet

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Helpful: Fish

Now, onto the helpful stuff. You need protein in your life, even as you’re staying away from fatty steaks and burgers on the GERD diet. Fish is a great option, as it has healthy fats that don’t disrupt stomach emptying.

acid reflux diet

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Helpful: Lentils

Lentils are high in fiber, which can promote timely stomach emptying, and that is an important part of preventing acid reflux. They’re also a low-fat protein option.

acid reflux diet

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Helpful: Berries

Berries are very high in fiber, meaning they, too, can speed up the digestive process, and make sure food doesn’t stay in your stomach so long that it sends acid riding back up the esophagus.

acid reflux diet

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Helpful: Bananas

Bananas help in many ways. Not only are they high in fiber, but they’re also naturally soothing on the stomach. Plus, they are high in magnesium, which can reduce spasms of the lower esophageal sphincter.

acid reflux diet

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Helpful: Potatoes

Potatoes are high in potassium, which is essential for smooth muscle contractions in every part of the body, including the lower esophageal sphincter. They’re also a gentler starch for your stomach than, say, pasta or bread.

acid reflux diet

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Helpful: Oatmeal

Whole grains like oatmeal can be very soothing on that “sour stomach” sensation. They’re also high in fiber, to speed up that digestive process and move acid-producing foods out of the stomach and down into the intestines.

acid reflux diet

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Helpful: Greens

Green vegetables like kale, spinach, and lettuce are all great roughage. Getting enough roughage in your diet will help add bulk to your stool and move food through your body quicker.

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