What is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a valve at the opening of the stomach, doesn’t close all the way or opens too frequently.
Symptoms of acid reflux vary, but most people report a burning feeling in the chest, a bitter taste in the back of the mouth, burping, hiccups, and nausea. Luckily, there is an easy solution to combat the unpleasant effects of heartburn and acid reflux: a diet change.
Avoiding foods that are too fatty or spicy and replacing them with natural, healthy options is the best way to soothe acid reflux symptoms. However, if a food is too acidic, it is more likely to trigger reflux, so opting for foods with a lower pH or more alkaline foods is the best option.
Bananas are ideal for battling the symptoms of acid reflux because when they are eaten, they coat the esophageal lining, which soothes the stomach and helps to calm the acid and bile in the bottom of the stomach.
It’s important to pay close attention to the ripeness of bananas since their pH levels change as they ripen. Before they are fully ripe, they can aggravate acid reflux, so make sure to avoid green or hard fruit. You can even try them with oatmeal or honey to supercharge their acid-fighting properties!
Ginger has been used for hundreds of years to curb stomach discomfort. Since this root is packed with antioxidants that help ward off excessive stomach acid production, it’s a perfect food option for fighting off the symptoms of acid reflux.
Ginger is easy to incorporate into any diet. It can be sliced or grated to be added into recipes or steeped into tea or water. Ginger ale is another popular delivery method that is easy to ingest and tastes great.
Melons like watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe are known for their juiciness and are packed with antioxidants. In addition, the water content within these melons helps with hydration, which is a wonderful way to aid in digestion, which keeps acid reflux at bay. They are also a good source of magnesium, the main active ingredient in many over-the-counter acid reflux medications.
Melons can be eaten alone or with other acid-reducing fruits like apples or bananas. However, they should only be eaten in small amounts, since consuming too much at once can trigger the stomach to produce more acid, which can cause heartburn and acid reflux.
Protein is an essential part of a balanced diet, but fatty meats are an enemy of acid reflux. Fat makes it harder for the stomach to empty, making it more likely that stomach acid will escape and cause heartburn. To avoid this, opt for lean meats like chicken and fish.
When preparing lean meats, avoid spicy ingredients like black pepper or cayenne, which can irritate the stomach. Instead, try herbs such as ground cinnamon or basil to add flavor to a dish. Using too much oil during the cooking process can also have a negative impact, so meat should be baked, grilled, or poached for the best results.
Root vegetables like carrots and broccoli are great savory options for an acid reflux diet. They are naturally low in sugar and fat and pack an impressive punch against stomach acid. In addition, their complex carb and fiber content make them excellent food choices to battle acid reflux.
One of the best things about root vegetables is their versatility. Roast them together for a colorful, acid-reducing side dish, or enjoy them raw as a crunchy snack.
Beans and Lentils
Beans and lentils are packed full of protein, vitamins, and minerals that help build the immune system and banish acid reflux. Since they’re a great source of fiber, they help digestion, which helps reduce the chances of heartburn. They are also a very alkaline food, which means they help neutralize stomach acid.
Beans and lentils can be served alone or in salads, soups, and side dishes. Since they are also high in protein, they can also be used to replace fatty meats, which can exacerbate acid reflux symptoms.
While some dairy is ideal for those looking to combat their acid reflux, not all dairy is created equal. Full-fat dairy slows down the digestive system and relaxes the valve responsible for preventing acid reflux, making symptoms worse. Switching to low or no-fat dairy options helps reduce the likelihood of acid reflux triggers.
Low or no-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt are a few tried and true acid-busting dairy options.
Apples are a tasty, tangy option for reducing acid reflux. They contain pectin, a soluble fiber that is thought to be responsible for reducing acid reflux. Their high calcium, magnesium, and potassium contents, which are alkalizing minerals, also make them a great line of defense against heartburn and other symptoms.
Their tanginess is also responsible for stimulating the production of saliva, which helps digestion and further protects against acid. Apples can be served in a fruit medley with other acid-friendly fruits like bananas or eaten alone for a crisp and juicy snack.
Aloe vera is commonly known for its sunburn-fighting and anti-aging properties, but it can also be used to fight acid reflux when it’s decolorized and purified. Its powerful anti-inflammatory properties and alkalinity help calm stomach acid and soothe acid reflux.
Aloe chunks can be eaten raw, blanched, steamed, or poached. Acid reflux juice can also be consumed or added to drinks or smoothies.
Fighting Acid Reflux from the Inside Out
Replacing trigger foods with healthier, natural options helps to aid in digestion, which makes it easier for the body to operate against acid reflux.
When combined with eating more alkaline foods with a lower fat content, the result is the easiest, most natural way to say goodbye to acid reflux. Combine a change in diet with other healthy routines such as eating slowly, opting to consume smaller portions, and avoiding food too close to bedtime to better maximize your results.