What acid reflux foods to avoid?
At the end of the esophagus there is a muscular sphincter that is supposed to keep stomach acid in the stomach. It opens when food needs to be dumped into the stomach, and closes to keep the food in the stomach. Sometimes the sphincter will malfunction and stomach acid escapes. This causes a burning feeling in the lower chest. This is heart burn, also known as Gastrolesophigal Reflux Disease (GERD).
It is accompanied by a bitter or sour taste. People will often have difficulty swallowing when this happens. Pain in the chest area can become intense enough to wonder if a heart attack is occurring. Over 60 million people have this happen at least once a month. Left untreated, it can cause other health problems.
The sphincter can malfunction for a number of reasons: too much body weight, stress, smoking, overeating, tight clothing, and eating the wrong type of food for your system. Each individual is uniquely different and foods can affect people differently. Researchers have determined that there is a core list of foods that cause acid reflux and they have compiled a list of acid reflux foods to avoid. Here is that list broken into food categories:
- FRUIT – Orange juice, lemon, lemonade, grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, tomato or tomato juice, and lime juice.
- VEGETABLES – Mashed potatoes, French fries, onions.
- MEAT – Ground beef, ground chuck, marbled steak, chicken nuggets, Buffalo wings, sausages.
- DAIRY – Ice cream, sour cream, milk shakes or malts, regular cottage cheese.
- GRAINS – Macaroni and cheese, pasta with sauce, rice served with sauces.
- BEVERAGES – Coffee (any type), tea (any type) liquor, wine.
- FATS – Salad dressings, butter, margarine, lard.
- SNACK FOOD – Potato chips, corn chips, onion rings, brownies, chocolate, doughnuts, high fat concentrated cakes.
- SEASONINGS – Black pepper, garlic, and vinegar.
It’s not all Bad News for Acid Reflux Sufferers however..
This list of acid reflux foods to avoid does not include every food that would cause acid reflux in every person, but it includes most foods that cause acid reflux in most people. Individuals that suffer with GERD should make a food journal and record reactions to foods consumed and track reactions to create their own list of acid reflux foods to avoid. Nuts are not on this list, but some people find they cannot tolerate nuts, or nut butters. It is a trial and error method of avoiding acid reflux.
Why do some foods trigger acid reflux?
Foods with a heavy fat content tend to slow stomach emptying and when the sphincter muscle opens to let more food in, the food in the stomach will splash out. This causes burning at the top of the stomach and lower esophagus. It is also surmised that spicy foods cause the sphincter muscle to relax and open causing acid reflux.
Along with following a list of acid reflux foods to avoid, sufferers can get relief by eating slower, and eating smaller portions of food. Slowing the volume of food eaten at one time will give the stomach a chance to properly digest and empty the food into the large intestine. The habit of eating smaller meals more often also helps to control blood sugar levels, and many doctors recommend that their patients eat more small meals per day for many afflictions. Don’t eat too close to bedtime. Your stomach has to work harder to digest the food if you are in a prone position, plus when you put your body in a state of sleep, all bodily functions slow down. Eat smaller meals more frequently, keep a food diary and compose a personal list of acid reflux foods to avoid, and do not eat too close to bed time and you should have less incidents of GERD.