Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), results when the valve separating your stomach from your esophagus relaxes, allowing stomach acid to rise into the esophagus. Because the esophagus does not have a protective lining, the acid burns the esophagus. While there are medications that treat acid reflux, doctors have found that long-term use of these drugs can lead to other problems including reduced calcium absorption, increased stomach bacteria levels, pneumonia and vitamin B12 deficiency. Many individuals can prevent or relieve their acid reflux through dietary changes.
Because calcium tightens the valve that separates the stomach and esophagus, including calcium-rich dairy products into your diet can relieve and reduce acid reflux. Focus on low-fat dairy sources such as skim milk and low-fat yogurt. Avoid whole milk and high-fat yogurt because fatty foods can aggravate acid reflux.
Because fruits are easy to digest, they make good choices for relieving acid reflux. However, avoid citrus fruits because the acids can irritate your already painful esophagus. Good fruits include apples, bananas, berries, figs, melons, papaya, peaches and pears.
Vegetables, like fruits, are quite easy to digest. Avoid acidic vegetables such as tomatoes as well as high-fat vegetable dishes like fried vegetables or vegetables prepared with cream. Choose instead steamed or boiled vegetables. You can also drink vegetable juices, such as cabbage or carrot juice.
Include low-fat protein sources like chicken, fish and turkey in your diet. Although relatively high in fat, nuts also make good choices. Some GERD sufferers report that almonds bring them relief, although this has not been confirmed by controlled research studies.
Breads and Grains
Focus on high fiber, low-fat breads and grains. Avoid high-fat items baked with whole milk, butter and eggs.