Let’s know what foods to avoid if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD or acid reflux, so first of all, we need to know,
What is GERD?
Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a condition involving lower esophageal sphincter (LES) weakness and inappropriate opening, leading to reflux of gastric contents into the esophagus.
Causes of GERD
There are a couple of reasons why this happens:
- Lower esophageal sphincter weakness
- Delayed gastric emptying where food sits in the stomach for a long time
This can increase the risk for food and gastric contents, leaving the stomach and entering into the esophagus.
Symptoms of Acid Reflux
So what is commonly found in this condition is burning chest pain so that’s the heartburn, oftentimes symptoms are worse with recumbence, which means that they are worse when lying down flat and then the symptoms improve with sitting up.
But the topic of this article is that certain dietary selections can worsen symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease.
They can worsen acid reflux because certain diets can increase, lower esophageal, sphincter relaxation, and or delay gastric emptying.
So they can cause these mechanisms, we talked about before to get worse and lead to worsening of symptoms.
What are some of these foods and beverages to avoid?
1. Acidic or citrus fruits – Foods to avoid in GERD
Acidic fruits can exacerbate symptoms of gerd and cause increased acid reflux.
what are some examples of citrus fruits?
Some of these include,
- limes and
An alternative to eating citrus fruits is eating non-Citrus fruits.
Consumption of non-citrus juice may be better for patients with GERD. So if you’re going to choose between a fruit to eat, it’s best to try to consume non-citrus fruits.
What are some examples?
Some of these include,
- Melons and
2. Caffeine – Foods to avoid in GERD
Caffeine can worsen symptoms of acid reflux by causing relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter. So we talked about, that is, one of the reasons why we see symptoms of GERD occurring because of relaxation or weakness of the lower esophageal sphincter.
Examples where we’re going to find caffeine include
- Caffeinated coffee, tea,
- Soft drinks and
- Energy drinks,
And you can see caffeine in other things as well.
One of those is chocolate, so both milk and dark chocolates both contain caffeine and Theobromine.
Cocoa also increases serotonin levels within the gastrointestinal system, so it causes the release of serotonin from gastrointestinal mucosal cells, and serotonin surge is also known to cause LES relaxation as well.
As cocoa contains tryptophan and serotonin, so it actually contains serotonin, but can also induce the release of serotonin from cells in your gastrointestinal system, which all lead to increased relaxation of the lower esophageal SPHINCTER
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3. Spicy foods – Foods to avoid in GERD
As, spicy foods contain capsaicin, that is what causes them to be spicy.
So a lot of times you’re, going to see capsaicin in things like red chili peppers and capsaicin slows gastric processing. It leads to delayed gastric emptying.
One of the mechanisms why we see acid reflux occurring is because of delayed gastric emptying, so capsaicin itself will lead to delayed gastric emptying.
- So some examples of foods that contain capsaicin, as we mentioned before, include,
- Red chili,
- Peppers and
- Hot sauces,
That are often based on red chili peppers and then some other peppers as well.
4. Fried Foods – Foods to avoid in GERD
So, fried foods increase symptoms of acid reflux due to delayed gastric emptying gastric contents are not released as quickly from the stomach when we eat fried foods like spicy foods.
This increases the risk of gastric contents entering into the esophagus.
5. High Fat Foods.
So again, the reason is the same. Fatty foods exacerbate symptoms of GERD by delaying gastric emptying, so these foods are more difficult to digest, so they are left in the stomach longer than other types of food.
Because of that delayed gastric emptying, they sit in the stomach and they increase the likelihood of those gastric contents entering into the esophagus causing acid reflux.
Examples of high-fat foods include,
- Fast food and
- Some cheeses,
6. Processed Snacks and Foods – Foods to avoid in GERD
So processed foods often have high fat content so same reason as why it’s best to avoid high fat foods.
This high fat content leads to delayed gastric emptying.
We can also see tomatoes being a cause of worsening gerd symptoms or worsening acid reflux as tomatoes are very acidic.
They contain both citric acid and malic acid, and because of this, it worsens acid reflux.
So consuming tomatoes themselves, but it’s also important to think about other things as well like tomato based, sauce and pizza.
Pizza contains both tomato-based, sauce and, cheese, which we have talked about before, both worsen symptoms of acid reflux. So pizza is best to avoid due to this reason.
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8. Onions -Foods to avoid in GERD
These are also another food that can worsen symptoms of GERD, especially raw onions, so consuming raw onions can induce heartburn through their ability to relax the lower esophageal sphincter.
So, onions again best to avoid consuming, especially raw onions.
Another reason why onions are best to avoid is that they contain fermentable fiber, which can cause belching that often worsens acid reflux.
As the belching leads to the opening of the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing gastric contents to enter into the esophagus as well.
Consumption of mint actually leads to worsened acid reflux symptoms because it actually itself irritates the esophagus.
So some examples include,
- Peppermint tea and even
- Toothpastes that contain mint as well.
So these can all increase acid reflux symptoms because they irritate the esophagus.
10. High consumption of salt, especially when you’re, adding salt to food.
When you add salt to food, this is associated with exacerbated GERD symptoms, although this could be more correlated with other types of foods like fried foods and high-fat foods.
So might not be the salt itself, but it could just be the association of eating or consuming high salt, because that is also associated with fried foods and other types of foods.
Now let’s talk about some beverages to avoid with gerd. We talked about caffeinated beverages, but what are some other beverages that can worsen acid reflux?
Beverages that can worsen acid reflux?
1. Alcoholic beverages
Consuming alcoholic beverages can worsen symptoms of gerd and can lead to damage of gastric and esophageal Mucosa.
- Cocktails and other beverages,
2.Carbonated beverages – Foods to avoid in GERD
These can worsen symptoms of gerd as well.
The reason is that carbonated beverages can cause the stomach to become distended, so it can lead to increased pressure within the stomach leading to pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, which can lead it to become open.
It can open inappropriately, and there can also be belching as well. This can also open the lower esophageal sphincter,
Some examples of carbonated beverages include,
- Soft drinks,
- Beer and
- Some wines.