What foods help reduce acid in stomach and relieve GERD?

(Last Updated: Jan 2, 2008)


Gastroesophaegal Reflux Disease, commonly known by its shorter form, GERD, is caused by changes that take place in the barrier that lies between the stomach and the esophagus. Symptoms that help in the identification of GERD include burning sensations in the mid chest area and lower abdomen. These symptoms are sometimes accompanied by the taste of food that has just been consumed. Other symptoms include a dry cough, trouble with swallowing food or symptoms similar to asthma. The reason for this is that the digestive juices that are acidic in nature tend to rise into the esophagus, giving rise to the burning sensation that we commonly put down to heartburn. In the case of children, GERD may cause a repetitive bout of vomiting or involuntary spitting out of food, accompanied by severe coughing.

GERD is basically a chronic disorder that affects the digestive system. As the name suggests it involves a reflux of stomach acids and bile into the esophagus. This causes severe irritation to the lining of the throat and esophagus. Acid reflux and heartburn are both experienced in GERD, but while isolated incidents of acid reflux and heartburn and acid reflux may be nothing more than an irritation, GERD can be a lot more problematic. Because of the chronic nature of the condition any home remedies and treatments directed towards heartburn, acid reflux or acidity will simply provide temporary relief from these annoying symptoms but will not solve the problem. In terms of a regular diet, it is important to know what is good for a stomach upset or constipation, so that you can include these foods in your diet when you have gastrointestinal problems. Include food that is good for stomach problems in your regular diet and avoid spicy foods if you suffer from ulcers, frequent bouts or an upset tummy, stomach aches, stomach pain, acidity, or gastrointestinal disorders that affect the lining of your stomach.

For an effective solution to GERD, the treatment needs to address the underlying cause, not just the symptoms. To clearly differentiate between isolated incidents of indigestion and acidity it should be pointed out that you would be considered to be suffering from GERD if these symptoms are not the rare occurrence but show up at least once or twice a week. When drawing up a comprehensive list of foods to reduce acid levels in the stomach, make sure that you do not neglect fruits and raw vegetables as these foods will help to prevent acid reflux, heartburn, and other related digestive problems. Consuming certain high fiber fruits to reduce acidity has been proven to be very effective in treating this problem.

Home remedies are often an effective measure against various health conditions and when dealing with digestive disorder, home remedies in the realm of diet are often extremely effective. There are plenty of good foods for GERD, but in addition to consuming healthy foods it is equally important to avoid foods that could aggravate the problem. The term “Foods that reduce acid” refers to foods that reduce stomach acidity or acid levels and these foods help to prevent acid reflux. Foods that reduce acidity will also help to control and prevent heartburn. It should be pointed out however that many people tend to focus on just one aspect of treatment while neglecting others. While your diet may the single biggest influencing factor it is not the only one and it would be advisable to also make modifications to your lifestyle. Physical activity is important, and simply spending 15 to 20 minutes of your day, walking, swimming or cycling can make a huge difference.

The first step towards effectively treating GERD is understanding the causes and risk factors so that you can take steps to eliminate them or at least reduce them.

Causes of GERD:

GERD is caused by a variety of conditions, the most common being obesity and faulty eating habits, with diets largely comprising of fats and deficient in fiber. Certain physical or health conditions can also contribute to the problem such as pregnancy or menopause, as well as lifestyle habits like alcohol intake and smoking. The lower esophageal sphincter is a band of muscle situated towards the bottom of the esophagus. This band works like a one way valve that allows for the intake of foods, while preventing the regurgitation or reflux of food and digestive juices. The muscle relaxes to allow for the passage of food into the stomach, while remaining contracted at other times. A weakening or abnormal relaxation of this muscle however would cause GERD to develop as it then allows stomach acids to flow in the opposite direction causing heartburn, acidity and other symptoms of GERD. In GERD these symptoms are recurrent which means that the frequent irritation to the esophageal lining can cause it to get inflamed, a condition referred to as esophagitis. This could further result in problems such as bleeding or respiratory problems. Such complications of course usually tend to arise only if the condition is neglected.

Gastroesophaegal Reflux Disease is caused by various factors, the most common of which are obesity, uncontrolled eating habits, pregnancy, menopause and habits related to diet and smoking. There are a number of recommendations that will help in bringing GERD under control, but the most important advice is a change of lifestyle. Any meal should be taken at least three hours before resting. Meals in the evening should be early and contain light, easy to digest foods. Keeping a control over your weight is also helpful in treating GERD. Clothing should be comfortable, disallowing any constriction of the abdomen. Deep breathing and proper exercises for inhaling and exhaling are also beneficial. For smokers, giving up the habit is one of the most difficult things to do, but once you do give it up, you will realize the benefits of not having to deal with GERD.

Changing your lifestyle is also accompanied by changes in eating habits. Foods which contain a large content of acids, spice, oil and fat should be avoided. Chewing gum, chocolate, confectioneries and alcohol make GERD worse. Drinking a lot of water or cool milk reduces acidity. Yogurt also provides relief. Chewing fennel seeds after a meal stimulates digestion. A spoon of apple cider vinegar mixed in drinking water also helps digest food better. A mixture of ginger and honey is also known to ease heartburn. Cumin or mint leaves added to warm water stops the formation of gas. Apples, bananas, pineapples, figs and papaya are fruits that help in treating GERD. Herbs that help ease the digestive process are cardamom, cinnamon, mace and nutmeg. Lemon grass and chamomile are also known to provide relief.

answered by G M

GERD diet

A diet planned in a manner which would forbid or shorten acid reflux is easy to adopt. The staple food categories of cereals, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and meats can be eaten with only minor restrictions. Vitamin C supplements would need to be increased if your tolerance towards citrus is low.

Fried or fatty foods, spicy, pungent and hot foods, mints including spearmint and peppermint, gum of any kind whether in candy, sweets or desserts, oils, confections, creamed milk, all kinds of caffeinated and carbonated drinks must be kept off completely. These foods not only cause the buildup of acid but also irritate an already aggravated lower esophagus. The above foods need to be controlled even after the condition has improved as these food groups have the tendency to cause a recurrence. Meals during lunch and dinner must be eaten slowly and in small portions to reduce the pressure on the digestive system. Any and all kinds of meals must be eaten at least 4 hours bedtime or retiring for the day.

Simple deep breathing exercises such deep inhaling and exhaling before bedtime is a good habit as this promotes the flow of oxygen and stimulates the nervous system and most importantly aids in quicker digestion and elimination.

answered by C B

Nnatural remedies for GERD

  • Avoid smoking or using tobacco in any form. Tea and coffee are harmful as they flag the lower esophageal muscles. Smoking is in fact known to be one of the worst things you can do if suffering from any of the symptoms of GERD. This is because smoking causes further damage and a weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter.
  • Do not chew gums or any kind of candies as the increase amount of swallowed air might cause belching. Eat some almonds to get relief.
  • Avoid eating late in the nights and do not lie down immediately after having your meals. This is one of the most important rules for anyone suffering from GERD or any other digestive problem. Going to bed soon after consuming a meal is likely to aggravate and trigger symptoms like heartburn and acid reflux as your digestive system does not get a chance to function before you recline, and the reclined position means that it is easier for digestive fluids to flow back up. This therefore increases the incidence of GERD symptoms, causing severe discomfort and disturbed sleep.
  • Eat smaller and frequent meals and take healthy snacks like nuts, fruits or light vegetable soups. Eating large puts great stress on your digestive system, and while this may not cause discomfort in all people it is sure to aggravate the symptoms for anyone suffering from a digestive problem. When you consume large meals it puts great stress on your digestive system and there is also a buildup of digestive juices, which means an increased likelihood of acid reflux. Smaller meals that are spread out over the day do not put such stress on the digestive system and thereby significantly reduce the symptoms of GERD.
  • Exercise regularly; lose extra weight if you are obese or overweight. Concentrate on deep breathing exercises and try to remain calm. obesity is known to be one of the most common causes of GERD, so it would be advisable to make every effort to get rid of any excess weight. Adopt a light but healthy diet that is low in fat, particularly processed, refined, and fatty junk foods, while including plenty of fiber rich foods like fruits and vegetables. Whole grains and whole meal foods would also make a healthy addition to your diet.
  • Sleep on a bed whose head has been elevated by around 7 inches to avert reflux. A reclined position enables for an easier flow of digestive juices back up the esophagus as it does not have to work against the forces of gravity. Sleeping at an incline will use gravity to your advantage.
  • Junk foods, spicy foods, processed foods, carbonated drinks, fats, desserts, beef, tomatoes fried foods, oils, chocolate and citrus fruits should be avoided at all times. Apart from the fact that many of these foods are hard to digest and will put severe stress on your digestive system, some of them also cause irritation to your already sensitive digestive system and esophagus.
  • Skim or low fat milk, low fat yoghurt, vegetables, raw vegetable salads, fruits like apples, bananas, peaches, pears and berries, fish, lean meat, fruit juices and herbal tea are highly recommended diet for GERD. Dairy products, although often thought to be the best foods for an acidic stomach, are not a good option for all people and it would depend on your constitution. While milk is said to help reduce symptoms of GERD in some people, it can aggravate the symptoms in others.
  • Drink coconut water, buttermilk or cumin water for keeping your stomach cool. You can sip these fluids along with your meals or drink them throughout the day.

answered by D D


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