What to eat with Acid Reflux

by Mark Rule

Mark's Question:

What can I eat to help with Acid Reflux? Also, I've been taking over-the-counter antacids; how long does it usually go away?

Suzy's Answer:

Thanks, Mark, for a great question.

Acid reflux, as you probably know, is a condition where the stomach acid flows up into the esophagus causing a sour taste in your mouth and a burning feeling in your chest. It can occur at any age, and most people experience at least occasionally.

Important: Chest discomfort may be caused by something more serious than acid reflux, so see your doctor to rule out any more serious problems.

When acid reflux becomes chronic, it may be necessary to make lifestyle and diet changes to alleviate the discomfort. You may want to consult with a dietitian or other health care provider for dietary and medical advice.

Some lifestyle changes that may help with your acid reflux include the following:

Eat smaller, more frequent meals, chewing your food thoroughly.

Try to eat in a calm, peaceful environment rather than while you are driving or working.

Stop smoking and lose weight if you are overweight.

Keep a food diary to see which foods trigger symptoms and avoid them or eat in small amounts.

Wear loose clothing especially around the middle of your body.

Eat your meals well before you go to bed or lie down.

Learn to handle stress which can exacerbate acid reflux.

Avoid or limit alcohol and caffeine which seem to make acid reflux worse.

Don’t wash your food down with water at meals. Either drink in-between meals or sip water after you have thoroughly chewed your food and swallowed it.

Chew two DGL (deglycyrrhized licorice) tablets before meals, if you will be eating foods that are more likely to cause acid reflux.

Everyone is different as to what may cause their acid reflux, but for some it can be triggered by tomato-based foods such as pizza or spaghetti sauce, spicy foods, caffeinated beverages, carbonated beverages, chocolate, fried foods and other high fat foods, full-fat dairy products and alcohol.

Eating and drinking too much food in one sitting may also cause the symptoms of acid reflux.

On the flip side, some foods that may help with acid reflux are oatmeal (soothes digestive tract), ginger root (in teas or a smoothie), fennel (seeds, tea, plant or even candy), melon and bananas, poultry-fish-seafood rather than red meat, celery and other greens, especially parsley, complex carbs such as brown rice.

Keep in mind that you are unique and what works for one person may not for you. That is the advantage of keeping a food journal until you know which foods and behaviors are likely to cause your acid reflux.

On a personal note, I use a product called Yogi Stomach Ease tea, which is very soothing to the digestive tract. It has some of the above-listed ingredients and never fails to ease any digestive discomfort.

It is important to eat a diet of fresh, whole foods, while avoiding fast food, overly-processed foods and sugary and salty snack foods.

Use over-the-counter medications sparingly, since they can have side effects when used long-term.

Note: The amount of time it takes to get relief using these products will vary from person to person. Generally, antacid tablets will work pretty quickly to neutralize stomach acids and acid inhibitors will lower the amount of acid in the stomach to ease discomfort.

Thank you for your question and for visiting our healthy eating website!

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