Acid Reflux - There’s a Volcano in Me and I Do Not Appreciate It

Acid Reflux (Medically called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD if you want to sound “in the know”) occurs because the acids that normally stay in your stomach don’t do that.  These acids (which are supposed to break down food) instead splash upward into your esophagus (your eating pipe).  Your esophagus is a tube with a bunch of muscles that are meant to just push food to the stomach, and they don’t have all the protective coatings that the stomach muscles do to prevent issues when touched by the acid.  So, if the stomach acid touches the esophagus, you are going to know it. 


The Academy of Dietetics and Nutrition has multiple recommendations on ways to manage these symptoms.  The most helpful I can offer in addition to the below mentioned is this, become a grazer; the less big meals/more often snacking you do, the less “big pressure” opportunities your stomach will have to give those big force moments of essentially “geysering” stomach acid into your esophagus.  


If you are a creature a habit, however, and live and die by your meals, then may I suggest cutting out drinking liquids at meals 30 minutes before/after your meals?  The liquids (water/tea/etc.) also contribute to stomach acid “pushing” into the esophagus and creating more acid reflux symptoms after you eat.  By holding off on liquids with meals, it can significantly reduce symptoms. 



Additional Tips:


-Physical activity 3-4 times every week

-Wearing loose-fitting clothes

-Not smoking

-Raising the head of your bed 6-9 inches (using a foam wedge/wood blocks if you need to as pillows alone are not effective)

-Wait 3 hours after eating before lying down

-Eat in a calm, relaxed place and sit down while you eat



Recommended Foods:


Milk-Based Products


-Evaporated skim milk

-Fat-free/Skim or Low-fat (1%) Milk

-Soy Milk

-Nonfat/Low-fat Milk

-Powdered Milk

-Nonfat or Low-fat Cheeses

-Low-fat ice cream



Meat/Protein Foods

-Tender, well-cooked lean meat, poultry, fish,eggs, or soy prepared without added fat

-Dried beans and peas



-Any prepared without added fat; choose whole grains for at least half of your grain servings



-Any prepared without added fat

-Eat a variety of vegetables, especially green and orange ones



-Any prepared without added fat

-Eat a variety of fruits



-Limit to less than 8 teaspoons per day

-Heart-healthy vegetable oils such as olive or canola oils



-Caffeine-free herbal teas except those make with peppermint or spearmint



-All condiments except pepper



Foods Not Recommended


It is recommended that a trial of limits/eliminating the following may reduce symptoms:


-Peppermint and spearmint



-Caffeinated beverages (regular tea, coffee, colas, energy drinks, other caffeinated soft drinks)

-Decaffeinated coffee and decaffeinated regular tea

-Peppermint and spearmint tea


-High-fat foods, including:

-Reduced-fat (2%) Milk, Whole Milk, Cream, High-Fat Cheese, High-Fat Yogurt, Chocolate Milk, Cocoa

-Fried Meats, Bacon, Sausage, Pepperoni, Salami, Bologna, Frankfurters/Hot Dogs

-Other Fried Foods (Doughnuts, French Toast, French Fries, Deep-Fried Vegetables)

-Nuts and Nut Butters

-Pastries and Other High-Fat Desserts

-More than 8 tsp of Oil, Butter, or Shortening per Day

-Any Fruits or Vegetables that Cause Symptoms (there will vary from person to person)



Sample 1-Day Menu


Breakfast:                   2 packets cooked oatmeal

                                     2 tbsp raisins

                                     1 cup low-fat/soy milk

                                     Caffeine-free herbal tea (not made with peppermint/spearmint)


Lunch:                         2 oz. cooked chicken, for salad

                                     1 cup lettuce

                                     Low-fat dressing

                                     1 small corn muffin

                                     ½ cup bananas, sliced

                                     ½ cup blueberries

                                      1 cup nonfat milk


Afternoon Snack:       6 oz. apple juice

                                      1 oz. low-fat cheddar cheese

                                     4 whole-wheat crackers


Evening Meal:            Pasta Primavera: 1 cup pasta

                                                              ¼ cup tomato

                                                              ¼ cup zucchini

                                                              ¼ cup broccoli

                                      1 plain bread stick

                                      1 baked apple, peeled with cinnamon

                                      1 cup nonfat milk







Mary Ball RDN Care Manager

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