If you suffer from a burning sensation or acute discomfort that travels up from your stomach into your chest and the regurgitation of food that you recently ate along with a sharp and sour taste of acid, these symptoms are native to acid reflux. While the occasional experience of acid reflux need not worry you, if it becomes regular, more intense, and disturbs your sleep, you must visit your doctor.
Food that enters the stomach is retained by means of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is a muscular ring, and it must close immediately as it may become weak or damaged. If it doesn’t close fully or remains open too often, it causes digestive acids to move up into the food pipe or esophagus. This causes the typical symptoms of heartburn, sour taste in the mouth, regurgitation, dyspepsia or burning sensation in the stomach, nausea, upset stomach, bloated feeling, difficulty swallowing, burping, dry cough, and a sore throat. Sometimes, the symptoms are so severe that they can be mistaken for a heart attack. If symptoms persist and are left untreated, you can develop gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Relationship Between Food and Acid Reflux
Your diet has a significant impact on acid reflux. Foods that are acidic in nature contribute to the increase of acids in the stomach and there are more chances of these causing reflux through a weak or damaged LES. There are many such trigger foods, and along with the medication, exercise and lifestyle changes that your doctor recommends, avoiding such foods can help you manage and eliminate your symptoms.
Eating heavy meals close to bedtime and lying down immediately after a meal can trigger an attack. Being obese or pregnant, bending over after a meal, snacking close to bedtime, smoking, and taking over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin, ibuprofen and muscle relaxants, certain antibiotics, and blood-pressure medications can set off acid reflux symptoms.
Foods to Avoid with Acid Reflux
Some common foods that cause acid reflux symptoms are as follows:
Being diagnosed with acid reflux need not restrict your fun or enjoyment of good food. While it’s easy to manage these issues at home, it can be challenging while eating out at restaurants or at other people’s homes. It’s important to reduce drinking and stay with plain water. Eat smaller and more frequent meals. Add drinks like camomile tea and warm water first thing in the morning to reduce symptoms. You can also practice portion control and eat slowly, chewing well to allow the food to digest properly. If you’re hungry later, choose safer options like carrot/cucumber sticks, graham crackers, raisins etc. Hard candy is a good option to after-dinner mints but it could induce air-swallowing. Make sure that the last meal of the day is eaten at least three hours before bedtime.
Other useful tips are as follows:
Diet for Acid Reflux
The optimum diet for acid reflux is highly personalized. While the symptoms are common, each person’s trigger foods that cause acid reflux are unique to them. It’s important to identify and document the foods that set off your particular acid reflux symptoms. Generally, these are foods that do not cause the symptoms of acid reflux:
As this list is quite comprehensive, not too many dietary changes are required. They all promote weight loss and healthy eating. The aim is to get combinations of these foods and create a varied, tasty and balanced diet. Greasy and oily foods take a long time to digest and cause the food to remain in the stomach for longer periods, triggering off acid reflux.
Acid reflux affects millions of people. There are a variety of symptoms that crop up when you eat foods that cause acid reflux. Avoid the foods that cause the symptoms and make healthier food choices to reduces chances of increasing and developing acid reflux. Certain lifestyle changes can provide long-term benefits.