Gastroesophageal reflux disease is more commonly known as GERD. One of the most common symptoms is heartburn and if you’re experiencing GERD, the foods you eat may be the source of your trouble. But putting together your own GERD diet plan can help relieve the symptoms.
GERD is a chronic disease that happens when stomach contents flow back into your esophagus. It sounds gross but affects 20% of us. You can blame your lower esophageal sphincter for allowing it to happen. It’s the muscle valve between your stomach and esophagus and, when it doesn’t close properly, you end up with a backwash of stomach acid and feel heartburn.
Some foods are known to trigger GERD, so it’s important to keep track of what you’re eating. A food diary can help tremendously. To get you started, let’s start putting together your GERD diet plan by looking at some foods to include and avoid.
Foods to Keep Out of Your GERD Diet Plan
As you develop your food diary and start figuring out your GERD diet plan, it’s not always about what foods you should be eating. Finding foods to avoid is a good way to manage GERD. Foods to avoid include:
- Coffee can relax your lower esophageal sphincter.
- Citrus Fruits and Juices have high acid content.
- Tomatoes and tomato products are also very acidic.
- Carbonated beverages cause bloating and trigger GERD symptoms.
- Chocolate can also relax your lower esophageal sphincter.
Other foods to avoid include:
- Fatty foods
- Spicy foods
- Pizza and Pasta Sauce
- Tomato Juice
Alcohol may also irritate the lining of your esophagus and promote acid reflux. You must use your food diary to make notes about what happens after you eat certain foods. This will determine if you should avoid them.
Foods to Include in Your GERD Diet Plan
If you’re trying to manage GERD symptoms, whole grains, fruits and vegetables should be a big part of your GERD diet plan.
Foods to try including in your diet are:
- Plain breads and rolls
- Lean meats and poultry
- Broth-based soups
- Potatoes and other starches
- Snacks like pretzels
- Milk products
These are foods that can help reduce the symptoms of GERD.
Developing a GERD Diet Is One Part of the Plan
Now that you have an idea of what foods should or shouldn’t be a part of your GERD diet plan, there are some additional things you can do to reduce the symptoms, including:
- Don’t lie down after a meal.
- Wait at least three hours after eating before going to bed.
- Eat smaller meals.
There are also over-the-counter antacids that may help, but talk to your doctor about what course of action you should take.
If you’re looking for some additional heart-healthy menu ideas for your GERD diet, try downloading one of our Heart-Healthy Cookbooks. In them you’ll find a number of recipe ideas for the holidays, appetizers, and desserts.