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GERD Diet

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Diet


The esophagus is the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach.  However, it is not just a simple tube.  The lower esophagus has a specialized muscle around it that usually stays tightly closed, opening only to allow food and liquid into the stomach.  It acts to prevent the reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus.

Symptoms occur when this specialized muscle weakens and allows stomach acid to splash up into the esophagus. These symptoms include heartburn, chest discomfort, and bitter fluid flowing up into the mouth. Chest discomfort can occur. If the stomach juices trickles into the breathing tubes, hoarseness, cough, and even shortness of breath can occur. This entire problem is called GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease). A number of factors, including certain foods, may cause the lower esophageal muscle to relax, causing GERD.

Nutrition Facts
A diet designed to prevent or reduce acid reflux is usually easy to follow. The basic food groups of cereals, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and meats can be eaten with only a few limitations. So, this diet generally meets the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) of the National Research Council. A vitamin C supplements may be needed if an individual does not tolerate citrus foods such as oranges, tomato, etc.

Special Considerations
The lower esophageal muscle can be weakened by factors other than food. The following recommendations may be helpful in reducing symptoms:

  1. Stop using tobacco in all forms. Nicotine weakens the lower esophageal muscle.
  2. Avoid chewing gum and hard candy. They increase the amount of swallowing air which, in turn, leads to belching and reflux.
  3. Do not lie down immediately after eating. Avoid late evening snacks.
  4. Avoid tight clothing and bending over after eating.
  5. Eat small, frequent portion of food and snack if needed.
  6. Lose weight if overweight. Obesity leads to increased reflux.
  7. Elevated the head of the bed six to eight inches to prevent reflux when sleeping. Extra pillows, by themselves, are not very helpful.
  8. The following foods aggravate acid reflux, and should be avoided:
    fatty or fried foods
    peppermint and spearmint
    whole milk
    oils
    chocolate
    creamed foods and soups
    most fast foods
  9. The following foods irritate an inflamed lower esophagus and may need to be limited or voided:
    citrus fruits and juices (grapefruit, orange, pineapple, tomato)
    coffee (regular and decaffeinated)
    caffeinated soft drinks
    tea
    other affricated beverages
  10. Spicy or acidic foods may not be tolerate.  


Foods to Avoid/Use with Discretion:

Food Group

Foods to Avoid

Use with Discretion

Fruit

Orange juice

Lemon

Lemonade

Grapefruit juice

Cranberry juice

Tomato

Orange juice, low acid

Apple Cider

Peach

Blueberries

Rasberries

Strawberries

Grapes

Cranberries, dried

Vegetables

Mashed Potatoes

French Fries

Onion, raw

Garlic

Onion, cooked

Leeks

Sauerkraut

Scallions

Meat

Ground beef, chuck

Marbled sirloin

Chicken Nuggets

Buffalo Wings

Ground Beef, lean

Chicken Salad

Scrambled Eggs, in butter

Eggs, fried

Fish, fried

Tuna Salad

Hot Dog, beef or pork

Ham

Dairy

Whole Milk

Sour Cream

Milk Shake

Ice Cream

Cottage Cheese, regular

Yogurt

Milk, 2% or skim

Frozen Yogurt

Cottage Cheese, low-fat

Cheddar Cheese

Mozzarella Cheese

Grains

Macaroni and cheese

Spaghetti with sauce

Garlic Bread

Muffin

Granola Cereal

Beverages

Liquor

Wine

Coffee

Tea

Non-alcoholic wine

Beer

Non-alcoholic beer

Cola

Root Beer

Fats/Oils

Salad Dressing

Ketchup

Sweets/

Desserts/

Snacks

Butter cookie, high fat

Brownie

Chocolate

Doughnut

Corn Chips

Potato Chips, regular

Cookies, low fat

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