Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) occurs when hydrochloric acid from the stomach bypasses the esophageal sphincter and causes irritation in the esophagus. It produces heartburn and sore throat. Many people get heartburn occasionally, but if you experiences frequent episodes, it is likely GERD. Avoid foods that cause flare-ups and instead choose foods that can heal inflamed esophageal linings and reduce episodes of heartburn.
Replacements for Avoidable Foods
Foods that cause heartburn are spicy, fried, processed and full of fat. Instead of using chili powders and jalapenos to spice up bland food, try herbs such as rosemary, chives, oregano and parsley. Parsley is not only a good source for vitamins A and C, but also has cleansing capabilities for the digestive system. Add parsley on top of potatoes. Potato juice has alkaline properties that can neutralize stomach acid, thus reducing heartburn. You can juice a potato and add an equal amount of water. Drink three times a day for acid-reflux reduction. Fennel is another herb that is beneficial to GERD sufferers for its ability to counteract muscle spasms in the digestive tract. Use fennel seeds in soups, stews or with fish.
Fried Food Alternatives
Fried foods are full of fat that contributes to GERD symptoms. Use alternative ways to prepare meals. Take a lean cut of meat such as chicken or fish. Dip it in an egg wash of one egg and 1 tablespoon of water. Dredge the meat across breadcrumbs such as Panko, which are a type of Japanese breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 degrees F. until meat is thoroughly cooked. Replace french fries by choosing a different type of vegetable to use, such as sweet potato or yucca. Peel and cut vegetables into french fry sizes or wedges. Coat with vegetable oil, cinnamon and sea salt. Bake in an oven at 400 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Choose honey mustard or a yogurt sauce instead of ketchup, because tomato-based foods can lead to acid reflux.
Processed Food Alternatives
Processed foods include any foods that are frozen, canned, prepackaged or already prepared. Most fast-food items are processed. Foods that are high in fat or contain dairy or chocolate can exacerbate GERD. But you don't need to give up high-fat favorites such as pizza. Instead, make a whole wheat dough. Using a blender, create a sauce of olive oil, roasted red bell peppers, pine nuts, chives and fennel. Top your pizza with vegetables and low-fat goat cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F. until done. Another meal option is salmon burgers. Mix one can of salmon with with 1 egg and 1/4 cup flour. Use cooking spray instead of fat to saute the burgers. Serve on whole-grain buns. Experiment with different recipes to find meals that best meet your personal tastes and health needs.