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19 Foods Which Alleviate and Prevent Acid Reflux (GERD)

Written by Daisy Whitbread, MScN
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19 Foods Which Alleviate and Prevent Acid Reflux (GERD)

Looking for a diet to help with acid reflux and Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease (GERD)? According to this study, which measured the effect of diet changes on GERD, the following foods should help with acid reflux: whole grains, beans, vegetables (except onions, and tomatoes), lean fish, lean chicken, and more. (1)

Even given these foods, you should 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).

The general rule is to eat these foods and avoid spicy, fatty, and salty foods. Caffeine and alcohol consumption should also be minimized.

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

According to Chris Kresser use of antacids and PPIs (Like Zantac etc..) lower stomach acid, however, low stomach acid is actually a cause of reflux. Low stomach acid allows bacteria to grow in your stomach, which can cause reflux. 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.


List of Foods to Alleviate Acid Reflux

1Bananas
Bananas
Known for being high in potassium, bananas also have a low pH (acidity) and are typically advised for an acid reflux diet.
2Beans
Kidney Beans
Beans are a heart-healthy food, and are also a good source of fiber. Try including beans into your acid reflux diet to see how they help.
3Chamomile Tea (No black or green tea)
Chamomile Tea
Since black and green teas are caffeinated and generally are foods to avoid for acid reflux, you can try Chamomile tea as a substitute. Chamomile tea has long been a soothing tea, helping to lower stress levels which can further alleviate reflux.
4Chewing Gum
Chewing Gum
Chewing gum immediately after a meal, and for up to one hour, helps to reduce the amount of acid felt in the esophagus. Acid reflux is further reduced when chewing gum, and is combined with walking after meals. (2) When buying chewing gum, look for brands with no artificial ingredients or sweeteners.
5Egg Whites
An Egg
Egg whites are typically a staple food for body-builders and provide all of the protein in eggs, with none of the fat found in the yolks. Since people with GERD should avoid fats, egg whites present a good way to get some of the nutrition from eggs without the bad effects.
6Ginger
Ginger
Ginger is renowned as being anti-inflammatory and is often prescribed as a natural remedy to a variety of stomach ailments. Try adding ginger to various dishes (such as steamed fish), and also try to drink ginger tea before or after meals to see how it helps with reflux.
7Herbs (Except for pepper, citrus, garlic, and mustard)
Parsley Leaves
Herbs are a healthy way to add flavor to your food without needed to use excessive amounts of oil, salt, or sugar. Try a variety of herbs in your diet to see how it affects your acid reflux.
8Honey and Agave
A spoon of honey
Honey, especially Manuka Honey, is reportedly helpful for reflux. Manuka honey, in particular, is reported to contain enzymes to help in digestion. Sweeteners like honey and agave can make a great addition to oatmeal in an acid reflux diet.
9Lean Chicken and Turkey
Sliced Turkey Breast
Lean chicken and turkey is a great affordable source of protein. Be sure to choose cuts without skin, and always grill or sautee the chicken. Never pan fry or deep fry it.
10Lean Fish
Fish Fillet
Fish is one of the healthiest foods around. A great source of protein and most vitamins, and minerals, fish is a great addition to any diet. When preparing fish for a GERD diet, be sure to choose less fatty fish, and only grill, sautee, or steam it. Never consume it fried, or deep fried.
11Melon
Cantaloupe Melon
Honeydew, cantaloupe, and watermelon should also be helpful for acid reflux. It is, however, easy to overeat melon, which can trigger reflux. Watch your portion sizes with melon.
12Olive Oil (Max 2 Tablespoons per Day)
Green olives
Since fat is a necessary part of a diet, but generally bad for reflux, the study allowed participants to consume 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Other high-fat fruits include coconut and avocado.
13Plain Popcorn (Unbuttered, Unsalted)
Popcorn
Popcorn is considered a whole grain, and can make a great snack. Be sure to only eat plain popcorn with nothing added. Like soup, popcorn tends to be a great low calorie snack for weight loss.
14Soups
A blow of soup
Homemade soups, especially with whole wheat noodles and the approved vegetables above can make a great meal to prevent reflux. As with melon, watch portion size so not to overeat. Soup also has the advantage of being low in calories, aiding in weight loss, which is likely to help with acid reflux.
15Soy Milk
A glass of soy milk
Full fat, and even skim milk, can often trigger reflux. Soy Milk can present a great alternative, as well as lactose-free milk.
16Tofu
A block of tofu
Tofu is a low-fat source of protein. Tofu, however, is typically served fried or deep fried, which you should avoid when on a reflux diet. Look for steamed or sauteed tofu recipes.
17Vegetables (No Onions, Tomatoes, or Peppers)
Mushrooms
Raw or cooked, vegetables are generally good for an acid reflux diet. Be sure to avoid onions, tomatoes, or peppers. Recommended vegetables include all root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, and carrots. Other great vegetables include mushrooms, fennel, and celery.
18Vinegar
Vinegar
Since acid reflux is often caused by low stomach acid after too many PPIs, drinking some vinegar before meals can actually help prevent reflux. For best results mix the vinegar with water or manuka honey. Drinking the yeast, mother, or bacteria which made the vinegar can also give your stomach a pro-biotic boost, eliminating the harmful bacteria which thrive in a low-acid stomach.
19Whole Grains (Especially Oatmeal)
A bowl of oatmeal with blueberries
Whole grains like whole wheat bread (especially rye), brown rice, and oatmeal should all prevent reflux. Oatmeal is even thought to absorb stomach acid, and acid from other foods. Please note that this not include granola which tends to be high in oil which triggers reflux. Also, if you consume oatmeal with milk, be sure to use skim, or preferably soy milk.
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What other lifestyle factors can help alleviate reflux?

  • Walking for 1 hour after meals
  • Eating slowly
  • Eating small or responsible portion sizes
  • Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and cigarettes
  • Reducing sources of stress
  • Losing weight

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Data Sources and References

  1. Low-acid diet for recalcitrant laryngopharyngeal reflux: therapeutic benefits and their implications.
  2. Walking and chewing reduce postprandial acid reflux
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