With the fast-paced and unruly lifestyle, we lead in this 21st century, ailments and chronic diseases have become rampant nowadays. And through this article, we are going to talk about one such condition that has been affecting more than millions of people every year worldwide. We are talking about Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or as commonly known as acid reflux. GERD is a severe form of chronic ailment and if not treated properly it can lead to further complications in the future.
What is GERD? What effect does it create on the lives of the affected person? Can it be treated with homemade remedies or it needs expensive medications and treatments? If your mind is also boggled with all these questions, then continue reading the article to know more about this topic and solve all your queries.
What is GERD?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease or acid reflux is a condition in which acid from the stomach backflows into the oesophagus and leads to complications and ailments like heartburn.
A muscular tube known as the lower esophageal sphincter(LES) allows food to pass into the stomach and then shuts up to block the coming back of the food. This tube protects the oesophagus from the stomach acids, however, if the sphincter relaxes or becomes weakened or damaged, foods then can push upwards through the opening and that leads to acid reflux.
Symptoms of GERD are:
What is a GERD diet?
Diet plays a very important role in maintaining the overall health and well being of our body. We are what we eat. And similarly, the foods we consume affect the acid production in our stomach and one of the most effective ways of controlling GERD is consuming a friendly acid reflux diet. It forms the first line of treatment for acid reflux affected patients.
An effective GERD diet looks like:
- Foods to include
1.Vegetables- Green leafy vegetables like beans, broccoli, cauliflower and leafy greens and other veggies like asparagus, potatoes are low in fat and help in the reduction of stomach acid production.
2.Ginger- Abundant in anti-inflammatory properties, ginger is an effective treatment for heartburn and other gastrointestinal ailments.
3.Lean meats and seafood- Chicken, turkey and seafood can reduce the symptoms of acid reflux and therefore including them in your daily diet can help you to combat GERD.
4.Healthy fats- Avocados, nuts like walnuts, olive oil, sesame and sunflower and seeds like flax seed when ingested provide healthy fats for the body, therefore, intaking them can help you to replace saturated and trans fats with healthier unsaturated fats which helps you to reduce the GERD symptoms.
5.High fibre food- Foods rich in dietary fibre when consumed decreases the absorption process and provides you with a full feeling which keeps overeating and the unwanted calories at a bay. Include whole grains and root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots and beets in your daily diet.
Oatmeal, non-citrus fruits and egg whites, when included in your daily diet, can also provide you with desired results.
- Beverages to add to your diet
1.Herbal teas- Teas like chamomile and licorice improves digestion and soothes the inflamed oesophagus lining caused due to acid reflux.
2.Milk- Low-fat, skim and plant-based milk neutralizes the acidity of the stomach and relieves you from the symptoms of GERD. Do not go for cow’s milk as it can further aggravate the situation and choose the kinds of milk that are lowest in fat.
.Water- The elixir of life, water, can help you to neutralize the stomach acids and soothe the inflammations caused due to GERD.
You can also consider including coconut water, low-acid fruit smoothies and juices in your diet to improve digestion and lower the risk of acid reflux in the future.
- Foods and beverages to avoid in your diet
Till now we have talked about the foods and beverages you should include in your diet, however, according to personal anecdotes and scientific studies, it has been identified that there are certain food ingredients that increase the recurrence of acid reflux episodes in an affected person and avoiding them helps you to control GERD
Some of the common items are:
- Fried and fatty foods like french fries, onion rings, full-fat dairy products, high-fat meat and other oily and greasy foods.
- Tomatoes and citrus fruits like orange, lemons, pineapples and limes. Also, reduce the consumption of citrus juices as much as possible.
- Onions, garlic and spicy foods
- Coffee and alcohol
- Processed snacks and foods
It has been observed that for different people, different food items trigger the symptoms of acid reflux. Therefore, maintain a journal with you will help you to identify the food items that increase the episodes of acid reflux in your body and then you can try to avoid them as much as possible.
Eating habits you should maintain
- Have smaller portions of meals throughout the day. Do not consume a large or heavy meal as it will create pressure on the stomach and will the LES to relax.
- If you suffer from GERD, eat slowly and chew thoroughly to avoid irritating the oesophagus further.
- Avoid laying down just after having a meal. Laying down after a meal increases the possibility of the stomach acids flowing back to the oesophagus.
- When your stomach is full, avoid in-between snacks as it creates excess pressure on the stomach and esophageal sphincter muscles.
- Trying to maintain a healthy weight as it carries extra pounds creates pressure on the abdomen and further aggravates the condition of acid reflux.
Apart from consuming a healthy diet, there are also certain tips and preventive measures that will help you to control the GERD symptoms:
- Consuming antacids and other medications can help you to control the excess acids produced in your stomach.
- Chew gums other than mint to increase the saliva production in mouth and reduction of acid production in the stomach
- Raising the head of the bed four to six inches to avoid acid reflux during sleeping.
Now there you go, everything you need to know about the GERD diet. Acid reflux is a common occurrence that affects millions of people worldwide every year. GERD should not be ignored as the condition can aggravate and lead to serious complications in the future. Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can easily help you to combat acid reflux, however, if the recurrence of acid reflux is frequent and none of the above-mentioned diet and tips can help you to bring it under control, then consulting a professional medical advisor is the best option available. With early diagnosis and proper medications and treatments, GERD can be easily treated and ameliorated.