Looking for heartburn relief and the best diet strategies for GERD? Lucky for you, we have 13 tips that could improve your condition starting tonight

  • 2 Minutes Read

Even the best diet may still leave you with GERD, heartburn, or acid reflux. Whatever you call it, it's miserable. Learn 13 things to try to make it better. It could make a difference tonight!

Best diet for GERD

What is GERD, and what is the best diet for it?

GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a chronic and annoying condition resulting from the backflow of acidic stomach contents into the esophagus. Normally, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) prevents acidic stomach contents from entering the esophagus and causing irritation. The LES needs to effectively contract, not relax, to do its job properly. GERD can do more than cause discomfort-it can lead to damage to the esophagus over time.

There is no one-size-fits-all best diet for GERD, yet your food choices may indeed make a difference. Seek out potential culprits and choose foods that work best for you.

The 13 best tips to try in your daily diet for GERD

1. Weight loss

If you are overweight, shedding a few pounds may be your best defense against GERD. Weight loss often brings symptom relief due to less pressure on the stomach and decreased inflammation triggered by fat cells.

2. Low-fat meals

Fat takes longer to empty from your stomach than carbohydrates and protein. Try lower-fat meals, especially in the evening, to see if it brings you heartburn relief.

3. Small meals

Smaller meals keep your stomach from becoming too full and distended. Smaller meals may also help you lose weight. Try making your evening meal the lightest of the day.

4. Gum chewing

Try chewing gum after a meal, as long as it isn't mint-flavored (see below). Gum chewing increases saliva production, which can reduce acidity in the esophagus.

5. Higher fiber

The role of fiber and GERD is not yet well understood. A promising study reported that when GERD sufferers increased fiber in the form of psyllium, it significantly decreased their symptoms and improved function of the LES.

Possible food triggers

Not everyone has the same diet triggers, nor is there good evidence to support avoiding certain foods as part of the best diet for GERD. But different people react differently to some foods. You may try avoiding some of these foods as a test, noting how you respond after consuming them. Even if you notice that a food or beverage worsens your symptoms, you may not have to avoid them entirely if you determine your tolerance level.

6. Alcohol

You may turn to an evening cocktail to help unwind, yet alcohol can have the unwanted effect of relaxing the LES, leading to stress-inducing GERD symptoms.

7. Coffee and tea

Coffee can increase stomach acidity, and caffeine can relax the LES, though research has not found a clear link between coffee or tea and GERD. If you have a major coffee habit, see if scaling back helps your symptoms.

8. Carbonated beverages

Sodas, beer, and sparkling waters can put more pressure on your stomach. Plus, cutting out high-calorie beverages can help you meet your weight-loss goal.

9. Late-night eating

Eating shortly before lying down to sleep makes it challenging for your stomach to empty. Try to eat earlier, and avoid lying down for about three hours after a meal.

10. Citrus

Although acidic foods like orange juice won't necessarily worsen GERD, they can cause discomfort when the lining of the esophagus is already irritated.

11. Chocolate

Unfortunately, chocolate may worsen heartburn symptoms by relaxing the LES. Try enjoying your chocolate earlier in the day than at night.

12. Mint

Although some people turn to peppermint tea as a digestive soother, mint (including mint-flavored candies, breath mints, chewing gum, and tea) can relax the LES.

13. Other lifestyle factors

Quitting smoking, wearing loose clothing, raising the head of your bed, and sleeping on your left side are other lifestyle approaches for GERD management you can try.

Tracking with MyNetDiary can help

Do you suspect your food choices or eating patterns worsen your symptoms? Track with MyNetDiary, using our Daily Notes feature to observe any relationship between what you eat and drink and your GERD symptoms. If you do best with low-fat foods in your diet, consider MyNetDiary's Premium Low-Fat Diet Plan to support you with recipes and custom-tracking tools and see how that works with your GERD symptoms. If weight loss is your goal, MyNetDiary will help you develop a plan for success!

Please talk to your doctor if your GERD symptoms do not improve with changes in diet and lifestyle.

Still new to MyNetDiary? Learn more today by downloading the app for FREE.

Holidays / Parties->Winter Holiday Season Other Health Issues->Gastrointestinal (Gut)
Aug 25, 2021
Sue Heikkinen
Sue Heikkinen, MS, RDN, CDCES, BC-ADM, ACE-PT - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist Educator

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