Acid reflux, or GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease) as its commonly called these days, is a common digestive disorder.
In this article we outline a cooking and lifestyle plan you can rely on to manage and cure GERD symptoms. It also warns against food items which will cause flare-ups. If you think living with Acid Reflux means depriving yourself of all your favorite food items, you are in for a surprise.
Do you have the Acid Reflux blues?
Acid Reflux associated symptoms While the symptoms vary from person to person, if you answer “yes” to one or more of the following, you may be experiencing symptoms of acid reflux. Sure, the severity level may be different, but please do not ignore any symptoms, even if you think they are not important.
1. Do you frequently experience heartburn, a burning sensation in your chest and/or throat? Do you have a sour or acidic taste in your mouth?
2. Do you have difficulty swallowing? Is swallowing painful? This may be due to damage caused to the lining of your esophagus by exposure to stomach acids. When the damage heals it forms scar tissue. As a result, the esophagus becomes narrow, and you find it hard to swallow.
3. Do you have a dry cough? Sometimes, dry cough and asthma-like symptoms are often mistaken for allergies. If you have a persistent dry cough, it is a good idea to have it checked by a medical professional.
4. Do you have sore throat that makes you sound hoarse? Acid Reflux affects the throat and larynx. An inflammation in this area results in a sore throat and/or hoarse voice.
5. Do you often notice any swallowed food or sour-tasting contents of your stomach coming back into your mouth?
6. Do you feel like you have a lump in your throat?
7. Have you experienced bleeding? An esophageal ulcer caused by the erosion of the walls of the esophagus by stomach acid can cause an open sore, which can occasionally bleed.
8. Do you have chest pains?
Getting started with the Acid Reflux Diet
It’s about wanting to feel better and becoming healthier. It’s about transforming how food influences you. It’s about reducing the intake of food items that produce the most acid. It’s about avoiding food items that relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). It’s about planning on when and how much you eat in order to minimize heartburn.
Create an action plan. You could either work on creating an action plan alone or seek your medical practitioner’s assistance. Get to know which food items could cause your heartburn to flare up. Maintain a diet journal. List all the food items you eat during the entire week and mark the symptoms you have experienced after consumption of these food items. Here is an example of what your 7-day food chart would look like.
Compare the food items in the chart with the following list:
Food items you eat often.
Food you crave.
Food items you eat for relief from heartburn.
Food items you find hard to resist. Below is a list of food and beverages that may increase your heartburn symptoms.
The avoiding phase During the second and third week, you eliminate the food items that cause you heartburn symptoms entirely from your diet.
Take care you don’t consume these food items at all. Avoid them even in small portions. For instance, if you are avoiding eggs, you need to check the labels on processed or packaged food items for ingredients like albumin, flavoprotein, globulin, livetin or ovalbuman so you can avoid any food that has traces of eggs in it. Sauces like béarnaise sauce, mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce and meringue also contain eggs, so it’s best to stay away from foods containing
The challenging phase
If you find no improvement in your heartburn symptoms after 2 continuous weeks of the diet, it’s time to consult your medical practitioner. Perhaps he or she may suggest alternative options. If your symptoms are showing signs of improvement, it’s time for a challenge. Introduce your body to the food items that you have eliminated one at a time. Start with a small portion in the morning. If you don’t experience any heartburn, heartburn, eat a larger amount at lunch and then again in the evening. Add a new food group once every three days, so you can be sure the symptoms do not come back. Make a note of the symptoms. If the food does not produce Acid Reflux symptoms during the three-day challenge, it is unlikely that it is a food offender. You can add this item back to your diet once you have tested all the other food items on your challenge list.
The reassessment phase
Now you have your elimination results in hand. The next step is to come up with an Acid Reflux diet that will help you to stay healthy and pain free. You must always remember that there are several other factors that can interfere with the effectiveness of this diet. Be open to any new developments. And always pay attention to nutrition. Even if you need to give up one type of food, such as dairy— try to find other sources of calcium like almonds or leafy greens. You want to make sure that you are getting all the nutrients your body needs. Always remember that patience and time are your two greatest allies when you are doing the elimination diet. You may need to try and try again, until you are able to identify the foods that may be causing problems. Continue reassessing your diet until all your symptoms have disappeared.
Natural remedies to support your Acid Reflux Diet
The best way to deal with your Acid Reflux is to restore your natural gastric balance and function. In addition to making positive changes in your day-to-day diet and lifestyle, there are a number of strategies involving natural remedies which may help you get a grip on your GERD symptoms, sans medication.
It can also absorb stomach acid and calm your nerves. Ginger is a spice, a food, and has been used as a natural remedy with medicinal qualities for millennia. Scientists have performed numerous studies on its health benefits, and it has been evaluated for its usefulness in treating over 100 health conditions and diseases. It is truly one of the world’s most versatile, evidence-based remedies. Include fresh ginger to your Acid Reflux diet food, or enjoy it candied, pickled or dried. You can make yourself a cup of ginger tea.
Refreshing Ginger Tea
2-3 slices fresh ginger
2 cups hot water
Juice the lemon.
Boil 2 cups of water. Add fresh ginger root slices into the hot water. Allow it to steep for about half an hour. Add in the lemon juice and drink about 20 minutes or so before your meal.
Fennel is known to calm the process of digestion by suppressing stomach spasms and also hastening the movement of the food from the stomach to the intestine. Fennel works wonders for stomach bloating and digestion. Add it in your food while cooking or chew on some fennel after your meal. Fennel works as a great mouth freshener as well.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains enzymes that can prevent acid reflux. Add 3 teaspoons of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar into 6 to 8 ounces of drinking water and drink it before your meals.
Baking Soda is known to ease the burn of acid reflux since it neutralizes the stomach acids. For quick relief, add one-half teaspoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) in an 8-ounce glass of water. However, overconsumption of baking soda can be detrimental to your health because it contains sodium which can raise your blood pressure and make your blood too alkaline. So, do not consume too much of it.
An imbalance of the bacteria in your gut or too little “good” bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract can compromise your ability to fight illness and disease. By taking probiotic supplements in the context of your Acid Reflux diet, you will be able to get back this balance.
Almonds are known to neutralize your stomach acids and thus help to prevent or relieve your heartburn. Snack on 3 to 4 almonds as soon as you have eaten or use them in any of your Acid Reflux diet recipes. Here is a great breakfast idea using almonds. This delicious Acid Reflux diet-friendly breakfast recipe is filling, and will keep those mid-morning hunger pangs at bay.
Berry, nutty oatmeal
2 cups low-fat milk
¼ cup melted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup old fashioned oats
½ cup chopped roasted almonds
½ cup dates
½ tsp baking powder
1 cup blueberries
1 cup chopped strawberries
Preheat oven to 375° F.
Whisk the low-fat milk, melted butter and vanilla together. Spread a dab of butter evenly on the baking dish and place oats, roasted almonds, dates, and baking powder into it. Pour the milk, butter and vanilla mixture over the ingredients and top with berries. Bake for about 45 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.