Acid Reflux Diet

If you experience heartburn on a regular basis, learn to make simple, consistent changes to your diet to alleviate your acid reflux symptoms.  

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The best way to treat your acid reflux is to reduce stomach acid, neutralize it, or to strengthen the muscles around your stomach and esophagus.  Your food choices can help with all three topics!

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Everyone experiences heartburn from time to time. But if you deal with heartburn multiple times per week, or if normal foods trigger your acid reflux symptoms, then maybe it's time to make a lasting change.   

We teach you the keys to a diet to treat your acid reflux symptoms: what to eat, how much to eat, and even when to eat - all with a meal plan customized to your individual needs.

Although acid reflux impacts each person differently, we help you pair traditional medicine with the recommendations from our Registered Dietitians to help you establish eating habits and meal patterns to better manage your heartburn or eliminate your symptoms entirely.

Our Registered Dietitians help you determine:

 


The Basics: Food to Eat and Foods to Avoid with Acid Reflux

We encourage our clients to get back to the basics.  Our acid reflux dietitians help you simplify your eating patterns and focus on foods that you enjoy eating and that your body digests without causing heartburn.

We focus on incorporating:

  • Low pH Fruits such as bananas and melons
  • High fiber vegetables- root vegetables are great
  • Complex Carbohydrates, which also tend to be high in fiber
  • Lean meats help regulate normal stomach acid production
  • Saturated fats rather than unsaturated fats
  • Proper Hydration (and the water-based teas to drink)

Our dietitians also guide you through the foods to avoid if you experience frequent heartburn.  This includes:

  • High fat foods such as fried foods, creamy sauces, and full fat dairy products
  • Acidic fruits and vegetables such as citrus fruits and tomatoes
  • Garlic and Onoins
  • Alcohol, Caffeine, and carbonated drinks
  • A variety of other specific foods that can trigger your heartburn

Our summary of what to eat and what to avoid is below.  You can also find more information here:

  Best Foods for Acid Reflux Worst Foods for Acid Reflux

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Bananas
  • Melons
  • Foods with relatively higher water content
  • Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit
  • High acid tropical fruits such as pineapple and kiwi
  • Tomatoes and other acidic vegetables0

Carbohydrates and Starches

  • Complex carbohydrates such as whole grain bread
  • Brown Rice
  • Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes
  • Oatmeal
  • Chips cookies and processed snack foods
  • Fried carbohydrate foods such as french fries
  • Seasoned carbohydrates that cause you heartburn

Other Foods

  • Lean meats: meats which are 90-95% lean such as chicken, turkey and fish
  • Eggs and egg whites
  • Beans and tofu
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Unsaturated fats such as olive oils, avocado oil
  • Water and other water-based drinks to keep you hydrated
  • Fried and fatty meats such as bacon, sausage, and high-fat beef and pork
  • Foods with tomato sauces such as pizza or some pastas
  • Garlic and onions
  • Ethnic foods that may pack an especially spicy punch
  • Saturated fats such as butter and lard
  • Alcohol, carbonated beverages, and caffeinated beverages 

 


Take the first step toward eliminating heartburn — today!

Take your reading on the go and download the PDF, included with your downloadable guide is a 7-day meal plan complete with easy-to-follow recipes.

Download the Guide

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Can High Fiber Foods help control my Acid Reflux?

Fiber helps regulate normal digestion.  Fiber also helps you:

  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Reduce the risk for diabetes, heart disease, and cancers
  • Control cholesterol and blood sugar
  • Relieve constipation

Dietary fiber is an indigestible component found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

Fiber passes through your body relatively intact, unlike all other nutrients that your body breaks down and absorbs during digestion.  Fiber comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber does not absorb water. Instead, it promotes movement through the digestive tract and adds bulk to your stool.

A high-fiber diet helps optimize overall digestion, whereas a low-fiber diet is associated with slower stomach emptying and poor movement of food through your digestive tract. The typical American diet is lower in fiber and higher in fat dietitians and doctors recommend. As discussed above, fat can trigger reflux by slowing overall digestion.  Studies have also shown that fiber may also improve esophageal function. If you experience acid reflux regularly, your esophagus may become damaged over time. Healing, protecting, and strengthening your esophagus will help improve overall digestive health. A high-fiber diet improves the muscle tone of the digestive tract around your lower esophageal sphincter, which connects your esophagus to your stomach.

Certain dietary fibers have also been shown to neutralize acid within your stomach. Neutralizing stomach acid helps reduce both acid reflux frequency and severity. Specifically, whole grains such as brown rice and oatmeal absorb some acid within the stomach to reduce overall acidity.

Below we list foods across food groups that are good sources of dietary fiber for acid reflux:

Food Type Fiber Example

Fruits

  • Raspberries
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Oranges 
  • Strawberries

Vegetables

  • Broccoli
  • Turnips
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrots

Whole Grains

  • Pasta
  • Barley
  • Bran Flakes
  • Quinoa
  • Oatmeal
  • Popcorn
  • Brown Rice
  • Whole Wheat Bread and Rye Bread

Legumes

  • Split peas
  • Lentils
  • Black beans

Nuts and Seeds

  • Chia seeds
  • Almonds
  • Pistachios
  • Sunflower seeds

What Alkaline Foods can help control my acid reflux?

Among common dietary recommendations for acid reflux is to include more alkaline foods in your diet, which help neutralize stomach acid and provide relief.

There are a variety of alkaline foods that can help you manage your acid reflux, including:

Bananas: Bananas also help coat the esophageal lining, which can soothe an esophagus that has been irritated by stomach acid

Apples: Try adding diced apples to your morning oatmeal for another high-fiber, low-acid breakfast idea

Melon: Melons (cantaloupe and honeydew, typically) are alkaline, and high in water content, which helps neutralize and dilute the acid in your stomach

Alkaline Vegetables: Asparagus, spinach, kale, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and fennel are great choices!

Starches: Potatoes, oatmeal and brown rice are all alkaline on the pH scale and can help control acid levels in your stomach

Protein: Skinless chicken is another low acid food and great staple in your acid reflux diet. Fish is also a great way to get healthy fats in a low-acid meal. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish are beneficial for many systems within your body. As with chicken, prepare fish in a way that does not add additional fat.

Read more about how eating alkaline foods can improve your digestion and help you better manage your acid reflux.

 

Are there Natural Cures for Acid Reflux?

In addition to avoiding trigger foods and eating a balanced diet rich in alkaline foods, there are a few supplemental remedies that may help alleviate your acid reflux symptoms.  Read below for additional natural cures for acid reflux.

Try Ginger

Ginger is a naturally alkaline and anti-inflammatory food, which makes it a great treatment for acid reflux.  Sip ginger tea or add sliced ginger root soups, salads, stir-fries, or smoothies.  Current research suggests limiting daily ginger to a maximum of 1500 milligrams.

Drink Herbal Teas

Herbal teas may help relieve acid reflux symptoms. Decaffeinated, herbal teas also help improve digestion.  Remember, herbal teas are very different than alcoholic, caffeinated, and carbonated beverages.  These drinks may actually trigger your acid reflux.

Licorice and chamomile teas are often used to relieve acid reflux symptoms. Additionally, green tea, fennel tea, and fruit teas may also help. However, some herbal remedies may interfere with medications prescribed by your doctor, so consult your medical team before starting any supplements.

Adjust Mealtimes

Our dietitians also recommend eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.  Specifically, stop eating within two to three hours of laying down to go to bed. When your body is horizontal, it is easier for your stomach acid to flow back into your esophagus and cause reflux symptoms. Allow your body time to fully digest your last meal or snack before you lay down for bed, a nap, or to watch a show.

Manage Stress

Stress and anxiety worsen acid reflux. Stress increases muscle tension within your body, which places pressure on your stomach and pushes its contents backward into your esophagus. Anxiety both increases stomach acid production and decreases the pressure on your LES, which allows excess acid to leak into your esophagus.

To better manage your stress, try activities such as:

  • Breathing exercises
  • Mindfulness practices
  • Meditation, and/or yoga

Keep a Food Log

To better understand your own trigger(s) better, keep a log of the foods you eat and the symptoms you experience. After you have logged your food for a few weeks, look for patterns across what you are eating and how you are feeling. Logging your food provides insight into your personal triggers, and helps you identify which foods make you feel better or worse. You can also review this with your doctor or dietitian for more insight.

Quit Smoking

  • Among other negative health effects, smoking triggers acid reflux. Smoking decreases the pressure on your LES, which makes acid more likely to travel backward into your esophagus.  As you can imagine, quitting smoking
Learn more about natural cures for acid reflux in our full write-up.

Take the first step toward eliminating heartburn — today!

Take your reading on the go and download the PDF, included with your downloadable guide is a 7-day meal plan complete with easy-to-follow recipes.

Download the Guide

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Treatments for Acid Reflux

The best way to treat your acid reflux is through incorporating our Best Foods for Acid Reflux into your daily routine, and steering clear of the worst foods.

There are also a variety of oral medications that may provide short- and medium-term relief.

Over the Counter Treatments

There are a number of over the counter medications that you can buy at the pharmacy or supermarket that work well together with dietary improvements

Antacids provide quick relief by neutralizing stomach acid. However, antacids do not heal the damage that your stomach acid causes to your esophagus. Antacids are a good treatment option if you have infrequent heartburn. However, if you find yourself taking antacids daily, you likely need a stronger medication. Common antacids include Tums, Rolaids, and Mylanta. Please note that overuse of antacids may cause diarrhea or kidney problems.

H-2-receptor blockers function to reduce stomach acid production. H-2-receptor blockers provide longer relief than antacids by decreasing acid production within your stomach for up to 12 hours. However, these medications do not work as quickly as antacids. H-2-receptor blockers successfully heal damage to the esophagus in about half of patients who use them them. Common H-2-receptor blockers are Pepcid AC, Axid AR, and Tagamet HB. Stronger versions of this class of medications are available by doctor prescription.

Proton pump inhibitors block stomach acid production from the three major acid production pathways. The reduction in stomach acid allows your esophagus to heal. These medications are stronger than H-2-receptor blockers, which makes them more effective at decreasing acid production. Additionally, these treatments give the esophagus more time to heal. Common proton pump inhibitors include Prevacid 24 HR, Prilosec OTC, and Zegerid OTC. Prescription strength options are also available if necessary.

Prescription Medications

Prescription strength H-2 receptor blockers and proton pump inhibitors work in the same way as over-the-counter remedies but at a higher strength.  If you find that your body tolerates a particular OTC treatment well, ask your doctor if the prescription strength might be beneficial to managing your acid reflux

Read more about Acid Reflux treatments on our dedicated write up.

Can Digestive Enzymes Help Treat My Acid Reflux?

Digestive enzymes exist naturally within your digestive system and help your body break down the food you eat. During the digestive process, these enzymes extract the nutrients from what you eat in order for your body to utilize them properly. These digestive enzymes are produced in the pancreas, stomach, small intestine, and even your mouth.

The three main types of digestive enzymes are:

  • Amylase: found in bananas, mangoes, and honey
  • Lipase: found in avocados
  • Protease: found in figs, ginger, kiwi, papaya, and pineapple
  • Additionally, fermented foods, including kimchi, miso, kefir, and sauerkraut all contain digestive enzymes. However, more research is needed to determine if there are health benefits to consuming the enzymes from these foods to improve digestion.

All three digestive enzyme types are essential for optimal health. Without these enzymes, your body is unable to derive the nutrients you need from your food.  Digestive enzymes are most effective within a narrow pH range, which means that the pH in your stomach and intestines matters a lot. If an enzyme is in an environment that is too acidic or too basic, its function will suffer.

It may seem that taking extra enzymes will help speed digestion to clear food from your stomach more quickly to alleviate reflux symptoms. However, if your body is producing the normal level of digestive enzymes, adding extra enzymes will not decrease the time it takes to digest your food.

For a comprehensive discussion of digestive enzymes, read our full write up on the topic.

How to Reduce Your Risk of Acid Reflux

There are a number of dietary and lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of experiencing acid reflux in the future:

  • Living at a healthy weight
  • Increasing physical activity such as walking, outdoor sports, yoga, or other exercise
  • Avoiding your trigger foods and the worst foods for Acid Reflux
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals
  • Remain vertical after eating; elevate your bed
  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce alcoholic and caffeinated beverages

Read the science behind why making these changes can reduce your long-term risk of experiencing chronic acid reflux on our dedicated page.

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Our Team Listens

Your symptoms are unique to you. Your nutritionist tracks your food with you and makes specific recommendations to help you manage your acid reflux symptoms.

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A plan built just for you

Based upon your daily routine, we will build a custom plan to help you eat reflux friendly foods throughout the day.

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“My team and I would be honored to be part of your health journey! Our priority is your health and happiness; no goal is too big or too small. We look forward to working with you soon!”
Britney Kennedy Founder
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