As we age, many people experience some of the signs and symptoms of acid reflux disease or GERD. Acid reflux is caused when acid from the stomach is regurgitated into the small intestine and into the esophagus. Acid reflux causes symptoms such as heartburn, and the pain can be so severe that it's occasionally mistaken for a heart attack. Doctors can prescribe medicine to treat GERD and acid reflux, but there are also a number of foods you can incorporate into your diet to reduce acid and decrease inflammation.
What Is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux is an uncomfortable condition that occurs when a back flow of stomach acid makes its way into the esophagus. Stomach acid is useful to break down foods that go into the small intestine during their digestive journey. However, stomach acid can also cause problems when it leaves the intestine and comes in contact with other organs in the digestive system.
Acid reflux can cause painful symptoms like heartburn or acid indigestion. Typically the LES, or lower esophageal sphincter, closes after eating, but sometimes when the LES is weakened, it can open back up. This is when the back flow of acid occurs. Sometimes the acid is so severe that it comes up into the throat.
Some cases of acid reflux progress to gastrointestinal reflux disease, known as GERD. This is a more severe form of acid reflux that can cause wheezing, coughing, chest pain, and sometimes even regurgitation of acid or food during sleep. This is uncomfortable and unpleasant, but not usually a cause for serious concern. However, if left untreated, acid reflux can result in more serious conditions that cause long-term discomfort.
What Helps With Acid Reflux?
Foods to avoid are any with a high acid concentration. Coffee, alcohol, nicotine, citrus, vinegar, tomato and other similar foods may be particular triggers for acid reflux. The same goes for hot sauce, onions and spicy foods that can cause internal inflammation.
On the flip side are a number of antacid fruits that are good for treating acid reflux. These fruits are alkalizing to the body and can prevent a buildup of acid. They also contain high amounts of fiber, which is healing and healthy for the digestive tract. Fiber also curbs a tendency to overeat since it keeps you fuller for longer periods of time.
Antacid Fruits for Acid Reflux
If you are suffering from acid reflux, incorporating fruits to lessen acidity into your diet is an excellent idea. Some of the best fruits that are antacid are bananas, melons, apples, pears and mangoes. Other foods that you should consider incorporating into your diet are oatmeal, leafy green vegetables and egg whites. Outside of antacid fruits and oatmeal, consider eating lean proteins. Poultry and seafood, in particular, are very low in acid.
The same goes for nuts, and spices like ginger and turmeric, which can reduce inflammation, and vegetables like fennel which are highly alkaline. Having a salad every day is an excellent choice for someone suffering from symptoms related to acid reflux.
All of these foods and food groups are excellent additions to the diet of those who deal with acid reflux. As with any medical or health-related situation or diet change, talk to your doctor about the symptoms you are experiencing.
Ashley Friedman is a freelance writer with experience writing about education for a variety of organizations and educational institutions as well as online media sites.