5 Foods to Avoid if You Have Acid Reflux Disease

May 7th 2016

While acid reflux is extremely common, the condition can cause severe discomfort and may lead to complications if left untreated. Understanding the foods to avoid can help sufferers minimize their symptoms and find relief from chronic discomfort.

Avoid Citrus Fruits

While fruits are definitely an essential part of a healthy diet, citrus fruits can exacerbate acid reflux symptoms due to their high acid content. Individuals who struggle with recurring symptoms of acid reflux should avoid fruits such as oranges, limes, lemons and pineapple to prevent excess acid from building up in the stomach.

Avoid Onions and Garlic

While onions and garlic add flavor to meals and are believed to provide health benefits such as removing toxins from the blood, the downside to these tasty root vegetables is that they are known to trigger acid reflux symptoms in certain individuals. Limiting intake of onions and garlic or temporarily eliminating them from the diet may help to minimize or prevent acid reflux symptoms.

Avoid Tomato-Based Foods

Similar to citrus fruits, tomatoes are highly acidic and believed to worsen symptoms of acid reflux. Adjusting the diet and eliminating tomatoes and tomato-based foods such as chili and spaghetti sauce can help reduce symptoms.

Avoid Chocolate

While chocolate is delicious and often the perfect treat to top off a meal, one of its ingredients is a known trigger of acid reflux. Methylxanthine is a component of chocolate that creates a relaxing sensation in the lower esophageal sphincter muscle, which in turn can lead to acid reflux.

Avoid High-Fat Foods

Rich, fatty foods are definitely an indulgent treat at times; however, similar to chocolate, certain foods can relax the lower esophageal sphincter muscle and worsen acid reflux symptoms. Foods to avoid include french fries, gravies, bacon fat and rich desserts such as ice cream.

Foods to Eat

While certain foods should definitely be avoided, there is hope for those who suffer from acid reflux. Studies show that high-fiber foods such as non-acidic fruits and vegetables may help protect the body against acid reflux. Incorporating yogurt into the diet may also help to ease symptoms of acid reflux, as yogurt contains probiotics or "good bacteria." Probiotics are known to provide relief to individuals who suffer from other digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea caused by antibiotic medications.

Conclusion

Acid reflux is a condition in which digestive stomach acids make their way back up the esophagus following consumption of certain foods. The condition occurs when the function of the muscle ring referred to as the gastroesophageal sphincter becomes hindered. This muscle ring normally acts as a valve, blocking the stomach acids from entering the esophagus. While acid reflux can be due to medical conditions such as hernias or pregnancy, symptoms are also commonly triggered by certain foods and beverages. Understanding the foods to avoid and adjusting the diet accordingly can often help sufferers minimize the uncomfortable symptoms of acid reflux and prevent future occurrences.

Sources

MedicalNewsToday.com "What is acid reflux? What causes acid reflux?" http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/146619.php
Healthline.com "Acid reflux diet and nutrition guide" http://www.healthline.com/health/gerd/diet-nutrition#Overview1
HuffingtonPost.com "Surprising health benefits of garlic and onions" http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leo-galland-md/health-benefits-garlic_b_900784.html

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