We’re sure you’re familiar with the feeling of bitter stomach acid slowly creeping up your throat, causing heartburn and leaving gassy bloat in your stomach. Acid reflux is no joke and the foods you eat are usually to blame. In this blog post, you will learn what food to avoid with acid reflux as well as what foods can help you feel better.

What is acid reflux?

Acid reflux is a condition where stomach acid travels up to your oesophagus causing an unpleasant feeling in your chest, neck, and throat.

Stomach acid helps to break down the food you eat. It’s meant to stay in the stomach with help from a muscle called the lower oesophagus sphincter (LES). The LES tightens once food passes into the stomach, but unfortunately, some people don’t have a strong LES muscle causing them to suffer from acid reflux regularly.

Other causes of acid reflux include:

  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Being overweight
  • Late-night snacking
  • Weather
  • Certain medications

What are the common symptoms of acid reflux?

Common symptoms of acid reflux include:

  • Heartburn
  • Regurgitation
  • Dysphagia
  • Hiccups

In severe cases of acid reflux, you may experience:

  • Asthma
  • Enamel damage

Foods to avoid with acid reflux

Although still debatable, many experts believe that certain types of food can aggravate acid reflux. So, if you suffer from acid reflux regularly, it’s best to avoid these foods as much as you can:

Spicy foods

Chilli powders and peppers contain capsaicin, a compound that makes these ingredients taste spicy. According to researchers, foods containing capsaicin can cause abdominal pain and heartburn if you have a gastrointestinal disorder or acid reflux.

Certain beverages

Some of these are probably your favourite. Consume these drinks in moderation if you are suffering from acid reflux. If you can, eliminate these from your diet completely.

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Soda and other carbonated beverages
  • Alcohol
  • Tomato juice
  • Citrus juice

Some people with acid reflux can tolerate these beverages. Pay attention to your body and see if you have the same tolerance or not.

Certain fruits and vegetables

While fruits and vegetables are healthy and good for you, certain types of fruits and veggies can make your acid reflux symptoms worse. The common culprits include:

  • Tomato and tomato-based products
  • Pineapple
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Citrus fruits like lime, grapefruit, orange, and lemon

Foods high in fat

Fatty foods are responsible for lowering the pressure on your LES. They also delay stomach emptying — increasing your risks of developing acid reflux symptoms. Some foods that are rich in fat include:

  • Butter
  • Whole milk
  • French fries and onion rings
  • Cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Salad dressings that have high-fat content
  • Red meat especially ribs and sirloin
  • Potato chips
  • Chocolate
  • Mint

Foods that are good for acid reflux

According to doctors, a balanced diet rich in protein, fruits, and vegetables is good for acid reflux. Below are some of your options:

Chicken breast - chicken breast has a lot of protein. To take the most out of it, remove the fatty skin and cook the meat in the oven or over the grill. Don’t fry it.

Brown rice - rich in carbohydrates, brown rice can make you feel full fast! Just cook it the regular way and as usual, avoid frying.

Oatmeal - Oatmeal is rich in fibres that help aid digestion. It’s also good for the heart.

Melons - melons and its cousins (cantaloupe, watermelon, and honeydew) contain low acid levels — making them perfect for those with acid reflux.

Vegetables - especially fennel, celery, sweet peppers, and lettuce. These veggies are not only healthy, but they are also very easy on the stomach.

Ginger - if you are looking for something to curb your cravings without triggering your acid reflux, try chewing on dried ginger!

Preventing acid reflux

Aside from watching the food you eat, certain lifestyle changes can also help against acid reflux. Some of the things you can do include:

  • Avoid late snacking
  • Avoid eating large meals
  • Change your sleeping position (make sure that your head is above the level of your waist. This is to prevent stomach acid from moving up)

There are also many tablets for acid reflux available to purchase from Express Pharmacy. These tablets alleviate symptoms of acid reflux and help to prevent it from coming back.