What Food To Avoid If You Have Acid Reflux

By Ashley Henshaw. May 7th 2016

Although we often call it heartburn, acid reflux is actually a more serious condition where heartburn is merely one of the symptoms. In addition to that burning chest feeling, people with acid reflux may also experience trouble swallowing, asthmatic symptoms or a dry cough. However, heartburn is still the main indication of this condition where digestive acids rise up out of the stomach and into the esophagus, sometimes along with the food that has just been eaten. It's important to avoid this condition since chronic acid reflux can lead to more serious health problems, such as asthma, pulmonary fibrosis or even esophageal cancer. In this guide, we'll explain the foods you should avoid with acid reflux, and some tips to keep it from happening.

Foods To Avoid

If you have acid reflux disease, some of the foods you should avoid may seem obvious. For example, spicy foods are often linked to the symptoms of acid reflux disease. However, many of the foods which trigger acid reflux are not as obvious.

  • Acidic foods like tomatoes, citrus fruits and onions are among these seemingly innocuous foods.
  • High-fat foods are another culprit to watch for since these can relax the muscle that needs to stay tight to keep acid in your stomach and out of your esophagus. Some examples of these fatty foods include buffalo wings, macaroni and cheese, French fries, potato chips, brownies, doughnuts and chicken nuggets.
  • Additionally, many drinks may lead to acid reflux, including alcoholic beverages, sodas, and most caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea and hot chocolate. Try to drink these beverages in moderation and drink a lot of water throughout the day to help prevent acid reflux.
  • Even mint, which was once thought to help relieve acid reflux, can actually be a trigger for this condition. If you want to freshen your breath, try chewing a sprig of parsley, drinking plenty of water or eat a piece of celery, all of which can help reduce bad breath.

Healthy Foods To Eat

Fortunately, there are plenty of delicious foods that are safe for people with acid reflux to eat. Since acidic fruits and veggies, spicy foods and high-fat dishes are the main triggers for acid reflux, it's important to look for alternatives to these foods.

  • Choose lean meats like skinless chicken breasts, extra-lean ground beef or fish, and always opt for a milder dish rather than a spicy one.
  • Similarly, you can choose non-acidic fruits and vegetables like apples, bananas, strawberries, baked potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, peas, green beans, carrots and zucchini.
  • Dairy products like cheese, cream cheese and sour cream can also be safe if you purchase a fat-free or low-fat variety.
  • Most grains, especially multi-grain bread, cereal, oatmeal and rice are also safe for individuals with acid reflux.

Thanks to these foods, you'll not only escape the painful symptoms of this condition, you'll also get the vital carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and nutrients that your body needs. These foods provide numerous great health benefits, including a better metabolism, a stronger immune system, and the ability to help prevent conditions like heart disease and cancer.

There are also some ways that you can still indulge even if you have acid reflux. Instead of doughnuts or brownies, choose fat-free cookies, licorice or jelly beans to satisfy your sweet tooth. For a crunchy snack, try baked potato chips or pretzels.

Tips To Prevent Acid Reflux

For many people, acid reflux often occurs when they lie down to go to sleep. To prevent this, make sure to finish eating any snacks or meals at least three hours before going to bed. This will allow the food the proper time to digest, and will prevent the onset of acid reflux symptoms. Additionally, eating large meals in one sitting may be a trigger for acid reflux. This is due to the fact that large meals can create pressure in the stomach, forcing acid from that area into the esophagus. Eat smaller meals throughout the day to allow more time for your food to digest, and to lessen the pressure on your stomach.

Though these are circumstantial causes of acid reflux, you may also need to consider some lifestyle changes in order to prevent this condition. Those who smoke or are overweight are generally at a greater risk for acid reflux. Making these changes will not only decrease the risk of developing acid reflux, they will also lead to a healthier lifestyle.

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