19 Foods Which Alleviate and Prevent Acid Reflux (GERD)

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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 could help with acid reflux: whole grains, beans, vegetables (except onions, and tomatoes), lean fish, lean chicken, and more. (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?

According to Chris Kresser use of antacids and PPIs (Like Zantac etc..) lowers stomach acid, and 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

1 Bananas
Known for being high in potassium, bananas also have a low pH (acidity) and are typically advised for an acid reflux diet.
2 Beans
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.
3 Chamomile Tea (No black or green tea)
Chamomile Tea
Since black and green teas are caffeinated and generally considered foods to avoid for acid reflux, you can try Chamomile tea as a substitute. Chamomile tea has soothing properties, helping to lower stress levels which can further alleviate reflux.
4 Chewing Gum
Chewing Gum
Chewing gum immediately after a meal, and for up to one hour afterward, may help to reduce acid reflux, especially when combined with walking after meals. (2) When buying chewing gum, look for brands with no artificial ingredients or sweeteners.
5 Egg Whites
An Egg
Egg whites are a great, low-fat source of protein which may be useful for people with GERD trying to reduce their fat intake. The majority of the vitamins, minerals, beneficial fats, and other nutrients are found in the egg yolk though, so include these in your diet as well from time to time.
6 Ginger
Ginger is a demulcent herb, traditionally used as a natural remedy for indigestion and heartburn. Demulcents are thought to work by forming a physical barrier against the stomach acid, as well as reducing inflammation. Try adding ginger to various dishes (such as steamed fish) and try ginger tea before or after meals to see if it helps ease your symptoms.
7 Herbs (Except for pepper, citrus, garlic, and mustard)
Parsley Leaves
Herbs are a healthy way to add flavor to your food without needing to use excessive amounts of oil, salt, or sugar. They are also a concentrated source of many nutrients. Try a variety of fresh herbs in your diet and see how it affects your acid reflux.
8 Honey and Agave
A spoon of honey
Honey, especially Manuka Honey, is reported by some people to be helpful for reflux. Manuka honey contains enzymes that can aid digestion. Natural sweeteners like honey can make a great addition to oatmeal in an acid reflux diet.
9 Lean Chicken and Turkey
Sliced Turkey Breast
Lean poultry is a great and affordable source of protein. Be sure to choose cuts without skin and bake, grill or sauté, avoid deep-fried chicken.
10 Lean Fish
Fish Fillet
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 grill, sauté, or steam it, avoid deep-frying.
11 Melon
Cantaloupe Melon
Honeydew, cantaloupe, and watermelon can be helpful for acid reflux. It is, however, easy to overeat melon, which can trigger reflux, so watch your portion sizes.
12 Natural Licorice
Natural Licorice
Licorice is used as an ailment for digestive diseases (3) and may be effective in alleviating symptoms of GERD. Be sure to consume only natural licorice avoiding most major candies which often use anise seed to mimic the taste of licorice. Licorice supplements may also be a good choice.
13 Plain Popcorn (Unbuttered, Unsalted)
Popcorn is made from a whole grain, and can make a great snack. Be sure to only eat plain popcorn with nothing added.
14 Soups
A blow of soup
Homemade soups, especially with whole wheat noodles and the approved vegetables above can make a great meal to prevent reflux. Soup also has the advantage of aiding in weight loss, which is likely to help with acid reflux.
15 Soy Milk
A glass of soy milk
Cow’s milk can trigger reflux, so trying alternatives such as soy milk can be helpful.
16 Tofu
A block of tofu
Tofu is a healthy, low-fat, vegetarian source of protein. It is often served fried or deep-fried though, which is not great for reflux so look out for steamed or sautéed tofu recipes.
17 Vegetables (No Onions, Tomatoes, or Peppers)
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.
18 Vinegar
Since acid reflux is often caused by low stomach acid after too many PPIs, drinking apple cider vinegar before meals can help reduce 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, helping to reduce harmful bacteria which thrive in a low-acid stomach.
19 Whole Grains (Especially Oatmeal)
A bowl of oatmeal with blueberries
Whole grains like whole wheat bread (especially rye), brown rice, and oatmeal can help ease reflux. Oatmeal is even thought to absorb stomach acid, and acid from other foods. Please note, that this does not include granola, due to its high oil and sugar content. Also, if you consume oatmeal with milk, be sure to use skim, or preferably soy milk.

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

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
  3. The NIH on Licorice

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