7 Foods to Help Curb Acid Reflux

Acid reflux occurs when there is acid backflow from the stomach into the esophagus. This happens commonly but can cause complications or troublesome symptoms, such as heartburn.

One main reason this happens is that the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is weakened or damaged. Normally the LES closes to prevent food in the stomach from moving up into the esophagus.

The foods you eat affect your acid reflux symptoms flaring up. Eating the right kinds of food is key to controlling acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a severe, chronic form of acid reflux.

Foods that may help reduce your symptoms

Reflux symptoms may result from stomach acid touching the esophagus and causing irritation and pain. You can incorporate these specific foods into your diet to help manage symptoms of acid reflux.

1. Vegetables

Vegetables are naturally low in fat and sugar, and they help reduce stomach acid. Good options include green beans, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, leafy greens, potatoes, and cucumbers.

2. Ginger

Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties, and it’s a natural treatment for heartburn and other gastrointestinal problems. You can add grated or sliced ginger root to recipes or smoothies or drink ginger tea to ease symptoms.

3. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a breakfast favorite, a whole grain, and an excellent source of fiber. A diet high in fiber has been linked with a lower risk of acid reflux. Other fiber options include whole-grain breads and whole-grain rice.

4. Non-citrus fruits

Non-citrus fruits, including melons, bananas, apples, and pears, are less likely to trigger reflux symptoms than acidic fruits.

5. Lean meats and seafood

Lean meats, such as chicken, turkey, fish, and seafood, are low-fat and reduce symptoms of acid reflux. Try them grilled, broiled, baked, or poached.

6. Egg whites

Egg whites are a good option. Stay away from egg yolks, though, which are high in fat and may trigger reflux symptoms.

7. Healthy fats

Sources of healthy fats include avocados, walnuts, flaxseed, olive oil, sesame oil, and sunflower oil. Reduce your intake of saturated fats and trans fats and replace them with these healthier unsaturated fats.

Finding your triggers

Many people with Acid Reflux or GERD may find that certain foods trigger their symptoms. But the truth is that the foods themselves are likely not the root cause. The root cause of these symptoms actually has more to do with figuring out why your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is open.

What causes your LES to remain open?

Although a lot of discussion around GERD and Acid Reflux is spent talking about how to reduce stomach acid, the actual root cause of an open LES for the majority of individuals is linked to having not enough stomach acid to properly digest.

For years we’ve been told that high levels of stomach acid are what causes heartburn. It makes sense, since acid refluxing from the upper stomach into the esophagus is what causes our symptoms, right? Well, there’s just one problem with this commonly held theory: It’s not 100% true!

Also, blocking stomach acid with PPIs can trigger all sorts of damaging health issues. Stomach acid is absolutely vital for our digestion and our health. 

  • Stomach acid helps us break down and absorb the foods we eat. Without adequate acid levels, foods aren’t digested properly, which creates the gas and bloating that can cause acid to reflux up into the esophagus.
  • The presence of stomach acid is what signals our lower esophageal sphincter to close during digestion. This sphincter acts as a “valve.” When we eat, it opens to let food enter the stomach. But when we’re digesting, it’s supposed to remain shut. If we aren’t producing enough acid, the valve never gets the signal and remains open.
  • Low stomach acid creates the perfect environment for bugs and bacteria. Your digestive system and your esophagus are home to many forms of bacteria. But your stomach is sterile. Bugs and bacteria ingested from foods are quickly seized upon and destroyed by stomach acid. But when acid levels fall, bugs and bacteria can invade the stomach, causing digestive problems and other health issues.

Not sure if you have low stomach acid?

Thinking of low stomach acid as the cause of your acid reflux can be a total shift in mindset for people. The next question often becomes:

“How do I know if I have low stomach acid?”

We found a great quiz that assesses your stomach acidity; high stomach acid (Hyperchlorhydria) vs. low stomach acid (Hypochlorhydria). Knowing which category you fall under can help pick the best treatment for you.

Click here to take the 2 minute Acid Reflux Assessment

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