Acid reflux is that feeling of burning sensation in your chest (Heartburn). Acid reflux or heartburn may cause utter discomfort and chest pain in some cases. Acid reflux should not be ignored because it may lead to several other fatal consequences. Acid reflux is mainly caused due to indigestion; the foods that are hard to digest can cause acid reflux or heartburn. If you observe frequent acid reflux, then most likely your diet is not right. And today we are going to discuss about acid reflux diet and we will also discuss about foods to eat and avoid for relief in heartburn. We also find some quick and simple home remedies that may offer instant relief from heartburn.
Acid reflux is not a good sign, it may be painful and may cause severe health issues including heart attack. Excessive gas may form tremendous pressure on your heart and hence it may cause heart attack. And we all know that our diet is the primary reason of acid reflux. If you are eating right and following healthy living habits, you should be able to deal with acid reflux and heartburn much effectively. And today in this post, we are going to discuss about acid reflux diet and remedies.
Cause of acid reflux: why does acid reflux occur?
When you eat your foods, your liver produces certain bile juices and acids for breaking down the foods into smaller particles. During acid reflux, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is weakened, and there is acid backflow from your stomach to esophagus. The work of LES is to stop the foods from moving up the esophagus. But due to the damaged LES, the foods and the acids shoot up the esophagus, causing a burning sensation in your heart, chest and throat.
You can literally feel that the foods are coming up your throat instead of going down in the stomach. This kind of situation happens when you eat certain foods that cannot be digested easily.
There can be many reasons for acid reflux, including eating unhealthy foods, untimely eating and change in Body mass index. Prolonged symptom of acid reflux can seriously affect your lifestyle and what you can eat.
There are various foods which help in acid reflux and there are other foods which are bad for acid reflux. Hence, rightly balanced acid reflux diet is essential to get rid of acid reflux and heartburn.
List of good foods for relief in acid reflux
There are certain foods that can fight against the symptoms of severe heartburn and acid reflux. The foods that you can have are those that are rich in fiber, so that the LES is restored and the acids remain in the stomach and do not rise up the esophagus. The foods will help you to reduce the symptoms of the heart burn, and your digestive system will be normal again. The foods that have low acids in them can be consumed during heartburn, like green vegetables, rice, whole grain, egg whites, potatoes, poultry chicken or lean meat, oatmeal etc.
Oatmeal can give you a boost of fiber in your body. Oatmeal is a whole grain which your liver can digest easily. Oatmeal is made from whole grains, and the liver can produce sufficient bile juice and digestive acids to break down the food particles. If you do not like oatmeal, or it is not available to you, then you can also have whole grain bread and whole grain wheat.
Ginger is rich in anti-inflammatory properties which help in restoring the proper LSE balance. Ginger can soothe the heartburn by curing the acid reflux. Ginger helps the liver to create more bile juices for easier digestion of the food. You can eat slices of raw ginger with lukewarm water, or you can add ginger in your foods. Boil ginger slices in water, and then drink the water. Ginger extracts or raw slices of ginger can give you instant relief in acid reflux.
The aloe vera is the primary herb in Ayurveda due to its innumerable benefits and not a single side effect. Aloe vera has anti-oxidizing and anti-inflammatory properties which help in fighting against the symptoms of acid reflux. The aloe extract can cause instant relief as it will help in better digestion of the food. Drink aloe juice daily in the morning before breakfast. Cut the aloe leaf and store the aloe gel in a bottle. Mix it in lukewarm water and drink it.
Rice is rich in carbohydrates and very low in acids. They are rich in fiber, and starch which make it a good food to cure acid reflux. For more fiber boost, prefer brown rice over white rice. You can eat rice with some green vegetables, or some light chicken stew. Green vegetables, poultry chicken are very beneficial for giving you relief in acid reflux.
Spinach, parsley, broccoli, asparagus, are rich in fiber and have anti-inflammatory properties. These foods can be digested easily and broken down by the liver. The vegetables will reduce the inflammation that was causing the heartburn, and thus give you instant relief.
Acid reflux foods to avoid
The foods that are high in acid content must be avoided during acid reflux. Foods like citrus fruits like lemons and oranges, spicy foods, tomatoes, onions, garlic have very high acid content. Hence these foods must be avoided. Some of the foods that can worsen the condition during acid reflux are as follows.
Tomatoes are highly acidic in nature, and if you are prone to acid reflux and heartburn, then it is better to avoid this vegetable at all costs. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, but the sad part is you cannot have it if you are having acid reflux. Tomatoes having high acidic factor, and it can make the condition even the worse. Do not add tomatoes in salads or any dishes. You must also avoid tomato sauces and tomato puree, and tomato in all form.
The oily and spicy foods are difficult to be digested. The liver has to produce enough bile juices to break them down, and this can lead to weak LSE. The foods may not be digested properly leading to acid reflux and heartburn. Fast foods like burgers, pizza, etc are detrimental for your health and must be avoided at all cost.
Alcohol and soda can make you feel more uncomfortable during acid reflux. Alcohol, beer, whiskey, soda are all bad for your heartburn. They can block the esophagus and can worsen the condition. If you want to get some relief, then drink some water. Water can give instant relief in the heartburn. Alcohol and other alcoholic beverages and hard drinks cannot be digested easily due to the damaged LSE, and so it is better to avoid them.
According to the Oklahoma Foundation of Digestive Research, patient who are more prone to acid reflux must avoid onions. Onions decrease the pH level of the liver, the lower the pH level the higher is the acidic factor. Onions can harm the pH level of the liver and reduce it to below 4. It is better to avoid onions, be it cooked or raw during acid reflux and heartburn.
Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges can harm your health in case you are having an acid reflux and heartburn. Lemon juice can lower the pH level below 2, thus making it highly acidic. Having lemon juice during heartburn can be equivalent to having plain gastric acid. If you have acidity or any infection in the GI tract, you must avoid the citrus. If you want to opt for some juicy fruit to start the mornings, then go for some pineapple.
Home remedies for relief in acid reflux
Acid reflux can seriously affect the health. It may cause discomfort, sleeplessness and what not. But you can get instant relief by following some quick and simple remedies.
Here are the home remedies for relief in acid reflux.
- Bananas and apples contain antacids which can help you to get immense relief in acid reflux. Eat one apple or banana as a whole fruit, after meal.
- Take one teaspoon of baking soda and a glass of normal plain water. Mix it well and drink it at one go. This remedy can be used for a couple of days for instant relief.
- Take two cups of water and three quarterly sliced gingers. Simmer the water along with ginger and drink the water. The ginger extract is very useful in curing acid reflux and heartburn.
- Chewing 3-5 almonds after meal can also help reduce the acid reflux. The almonds help in increasing the pH level of the stomach, thus beneficial.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Water helps in increasing the pH level, and also flushes out the toxins from your body.
- Apple cider vinegar can also help reduce acid reflux. Mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in two cups of water and drink the mix.
- Drink a glass of aloe juice or aloe extract 30 minutes before eating your next meal. Aloe vera can improve the digestion and give you long term relief from acid reflux.
- Post meal, if you are heading to bed; make sure to keep your head 4-6 inch high while lying down. It helps keep the foods in your stomach.
- Do not lie down when you have heartburn. Chin up and walk around, it helps avoid worse conditions.
Over to you
Heartburn or acid reflux can happen to you any time after taking a heavy meal. The best solution is to drink enough water to strengthen the weak LSE. The water is a great detoxifying agent and can remove the toxins from the body.
Besides water, you can also take the other foods that I have mentioned like oatmeal, ginger, aloe vera, rice etc. Foods like fast foods, hard drinks, citrus fruits can be avoided during such conditions.
Eliana the chief editor at bodyandbeans is a professional yoga instructor and a fitness freak. She has done her master’s in history from Kolkata University. She is passionate about healthy eating and living practices.