19 Foods Which Alleviate and Prevent Acid Reflux (GERD)

Photo of Daisy Whitbread Written by Daisy Whitbread
BSc (Hons) MSc DipION
Photo of Dr. Nicolette Natale Medically Reviewed by
Dr. Nicolette Natale
Evidence Based. References sourced from PubMed.
19 Foods Which Alleviate and Prevent Acid Reflux (GERD)

Looking for a diet to help with acid reflux and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)? According to this study, the foods you eat can have a positive impact on acid reflux. (1)

It is a good idea to experiment with different foods to see which ones trigger your own reflux. For more see the article on foods to avoid for acid reflux (GERD).

In addition to eating these foods, avoiding spicy, fatty, and salty foods can help. Caffeine and alcohol consumption should also be minimized.

Why do you want to use food to control acid reflux?

Use of antacids and PPIs (Like Zantac etc..) lowers stomach acid. Low stomach acid can allow bacteria to grow in your stomach (bacterial overgrowth), disrupting the balance of protective mucous in the digestive system. (2) PPI’s can be helpful in the short term, but can put you at increased risk of gastrointestinal infections down the road. (3) This is why it is not recommended to take PPIs for an extended duration of time. H2 blockers such as famotidine, can be a better choice to help control acid reflux symptoms with a lower side effect profile. (4)

Further, using foods to control your reflux can prevent pain and damage to your body while preserving enough stomach acid to prevent bacterial growth.

Below are 19 foods to alleviate acid reflux naturally.

Other Factors Affecting Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease (GERD)

  • Overweight and Obesity - Being overweight or obese is strongly associated with GERD, possibly due to the stomach having less space. (22,23) Check your BMI to set a health weight target. Also, consume more high fiber low-calorie foods to help with weight loss (and acid-reflux).
  • Smoking - Smoking relaxes the reduces lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS) pressure, and is correlated with a higher incidence of acid reflux and GERD. (24,25)
  • Avoid Excessive Exercise - High-intensity exercise over a long period of time can cause GERD. Changes in blood flow to the stomach and possibly even hormone secretion are responsible. (26) Avoid eating before exercise. Moderate or exercise in short bursts is fine. (27)
  • High Fiber Diet - Foods high in fiber help foods move through your body, reducing the incidence of acid reflux. (28) Avoid high-fiber foods that are high in acid like oranges. (29)
  • Practice Good Eating Habits - Eating very hot foods, skipping breakfast, eating too fast, eating a midnight snack, and overeating are all associated with increased incidence of acid reflux. (30) Instead focus on eating slowly, eating moderate portion sizes, and avoid eating 3 hours before laying down or bedtime.

What Foods Make Acid Reflux Worse?

Foods that can trigger acid reflux include fatty fried foods, chocolate, coffee, tea, sodas, onions, and more. See the article on foods to avoid for acid reflux for more information.

Data Sources and References

  1. Lee YC, Lee JS, Kim SW, Kwon KH, Eun YG. Low-acid diet for recalcitrant laryngopharyngeal reflux: therapeutic benefits and their implications JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2013 Dec;139(12):1291-5. doi: 10.1001/jamaoto.2013.5556. 24201320
  2. Shindo K, Machida M, Fukumura M, Koide K, Yamazaki R. Suppression of gastric acid secretion in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease results in gastric bacterial overgrowth and deconjugation of bile acids Gut. 1998 Feb;42(2):266-71. doi: 10.1136/gut.42.2.266. 9536953
  3. Rohde AM, Gastmeier P. Proton Pump Inhibitor Use Is Associated With Extended-Spectrum ?-Lactamase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae Rectal Carriage at Hospital Admission: A Cross-Sectional Study Clin Infect Dis. 2017 May 15;64(10):1464-1465. doi: 10.1093/cid/cix109. 28329192
  4. Bardhan KD. Safety profile of long-term H2-antagonist therapy Yale J Biol Med. 1996 May-Jun;69(3):211-24. 9165690
  5. Haniadka R, Rajeev AG, Palatty PL, Arora R, Baliga MS. Ginger in gastrointestinal disorders: A systematic review of clinical trials J Altern Complement Med. 2012 May;18(5):440-4. doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0737. Epub 2012 Apr 27. 22540971
  6. Baliga MS, Haniadka R, Pereira MM, D'Souza JJ, Pallaty PL, Bhat HP, Popuri S. A review of the gastroprotective effects of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2011 Jul;51(6):499-523. doi: 10.1080/10408391003698669. 21929329
  7. Ghayur MN, Gilani AH. Pharmacological basis for the medicinal use of ginger in gastrointestinal disorders Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2006 Feb-Mar;57(1-2):65-73. doi: 10.1080/09637480600656074. 16849115
  8. MedlinePlus - Indigestion Also called: Dyspepsia, Upset stomach
  9. Tai Y, Hou X, Liu C, Sun J, Guo C, Su L, Jiang W, Ling C, Wang C, Wang H, Pan G, Si X, Yuan Y. Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future BMC Genomics. 2020 Feb 18;21(1):169. doi: 10.1186/s12864-020-6579-z. 32070270
  10. Amsterdam JD, Shults J, Soeller I, Mao JJ, Rockwell K, Newberg AB. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral Matricaria recutita (chamomile) extract therapy for generalized anxiety disorder Altern Ther Health Med. 2012 Sep-Oct;18(5):44-9. 22894890
  11. Pehl C, Pfeiffer A, Waizenhoefer A, Wendl B, Schepp W. Walking and chewing reduce postprandial acid reflux Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2001 Feb;15(2):233-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2036.2001.00919.x. 11148443
  12. Tabibian SR, Hajhashemy Z, Shaabani P, Saneei P, Keshteli AH, Esmaillzadeh A, Adibi P. The relationship between fruit and vegetable intake with gastroesophageal reflux disease in Iranian adults Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2021 Sep;33(9):e14129. doi: 10.1111/nmo.14129. Epub 2021 Apr 2. 33797127
  13. de Bortoli N, Nacci A, Savarino E, Martinucci I, Bellini M, Fattori B, Ceccarelli L, Costa F, Mumolo MG, Ricchiuti A, Savarino V, Berrettini S, Marchi S. Vegetal and Animal Food Proteins Have a Different Impact in the First Postprandial Hour of Impedance-pH Analysis in Patients with Heartburn World J Gastroenterol. 2012 Aug 28;18(32):4363-70. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i32.4363. 22969200
  14. Salvatore S, Agosti M, Baldassarre ME, D'Auria E, Pensabene L, Nosetti L, Vandenplas Y. Cow's milk challenge increases weakly acidic reflux in children with cow's milk allergy and gastroesophageal reflux disease Nutrients. 2021 Jan 21;13(2):297. doi: 10.3390/nu13020297. 33494153
  15. Pastorino G, Cornara L, Soares S, Rodrigues F, Oliveira MBPP. Review - Glycyrrhiza glabra L. (Liquorice) Phytother Res. 2018 Dec;32(12):2323-2339. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6178. Epub 2018 Aug 17. 30117204
  16. Isbrucker RA, Burdock GA. Toxicological Effects of Glycyrrhiza glabra (Licorice): A Review Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2006 Dec;46(3):167-92. doi: 10.1016/j.yrtph.2006.06.002. Epub 2006 Aug 1. 16884839
  17. Pachi VK, Mikropoulou EV, Gkiouvetidis P, Siafakas K, Argyropoulou A, Angelis A, Mitakou S, Halabalaki M. Is Chios mastic gum effective in the treatment of functional dyspepsia? A prospective randomised double-blind placebo controlled trial J Ethnopharmacol. 2020 May 23;254:112485. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2019.112485. Epub 2020 Feb 22. 32092498
  18. Singh P, Singh N, Sengupta S, Palit G. Honey--a nutrient with medicinal property in reflux Indian J Med Res. 2013 Dec;138(6):1021. 24672833
  19. Dubtsova EA. Honey, Propolis, and Royal Jelly: A Comprehensive Review of Their Biological Actions and Health Benefits Eksp Klin Gastroenterol. 2009;(3):36-41. 19928000
  20. El-Serag HB, Satia JA, Rabeneck L. Dietary intake and risk for reflux esophagitis: a case-control study Gut. 2005 Jan;54(1):11-7. doi: 10.1136/gut.2004.040337. 15591498
  21. Morimoto-Kobayashi Y, Ohara K, Ashigai H, Kanaya T, Koizumi K, Manabe F, Kaneko Y, Taniguchi Y, Katayama M, Kowatari Y, Kondo S. Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects Nutr J. 2016 Mar 9;15:25. doi: 10.1186/s12937-016-0144-2. 26960416
  22. Friedenberg FK, Xanthopoulos M, Foster GD, Richter JE. Gastroesophageal reflux disease and obesity Am J Gastroenterol. 2008 Aug;103(8):2111-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.2008.01946.x. 18796104
  23. Kostikas K, Papaioannou AI, Gourgoulianis KI. Body-mass index and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux in women N Engl J Med. 2006 Aug 24;355(8):848; author reply 849-50. doi: 10.1056/NEJMc061773. 16929003
  24. Dent J. Smoking and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease Baillieres Clin Gastroenterol. 1987 Oct;1(4):727-45. doi: 10.1016/0950-3528(87)90016-9. 3329541
  25. Kahrilas PJ. Mechanisms of acid reflux associated with cigarette smoking Dig Dis. 1992;10(2):61-71. doi: 10.1159/000171345. 1591872
  26. Azzam RS. Gastroesophageal reflux disease and physical activity Arq Gastroenterol. 2018 Nov;55Suppl 1(Suppl 1):85-91. doi: 10.1590/S0004-2803.201800000-48. Epub 2018 Oct 4. 30304291
  27. Morozov S, Isakov V, Konovalova M. Influence of exercise testing in gastroesophageal reflux in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease World J Gastroenterol. 2018 Jun 7;24(21):2291-2299. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v24.i21.2291. 29881238
  28. Semeniuk J, Kaczmarski M, U?cinowicz M. Fiber-enriched diet helps to control symptoms and improves esophageal motility in patients with non-erosive gastroesophageal reflux disease Adv Med Sci. 2008;53(2):283-92. doi: 10.2478/v10039-008-0034-8. 18842562
  29. Osborne SR, Alston LV, Bolton KA, Whelan J, Reeve E, Wong Shee A, Browne J, Walker T, Versace VL, Allender S, Nichols M, Backholer K, Goodwin N, Lewis S, Dalton H, Prael G, Curtin M, Brooks R, Verdon S, Crockett J, Hodgins G, Walsh S, Lyle DM, Thompson SC, Browne LJ, Knight S, Pit SW, Jones M, Gillam MH, Leach MJ, Gonzalez-Chica DA, Muyambi K, Eshetie T, Tran K, May E, Lieschke G, Parker V, Smith A, Hayes C, Dunlop AJ, Rajappa H, White R, Oakley P, Holliday S. Dietary Intake in Relation to the Risk of Reflux Disease: A Systematic Review Med J Aust. 2020 Dec;213 Suppl 11:S3-S32.e1. doi: 10.5694/mja2.50881. 33314144
  30. Yuan LZ, Yi P, Wang GS, Tan SY, Huang GM, Qi LZ, Jia Y, Wang F. Dietary and Lifestyle Factors Related to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: A Systematic Review Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2019 Sep 25;12:1756284819877788. doi: 10.1177/1756284819877788. eCollection 2019. 31598134
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