Acid reflux is one of the most common gastrointestinal health issues. It can be mild and only happen occasionally, especially after eating certain types of food, but it can also be a chronic condition, called GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease.
What is acid reflux
When the food is swallowed and it passes the esophagus, a muscle called LES or lower esophageal sphincter is relaxed to allow the passage of food into the stomach. After this, the sphincter closes, preventing the food from coming back up. In addition, it prevents stomach acid from entering the esophagus, which is important as esophagus is not equipped to sustain the acid.
If the lower esophageal sphincter is too relaxed or does not work well for any other reason, it opens and allows the acid up, which causes irritation and inflammation. This leads to the symptoms of acid reflux or heartburn, which include burning and pain in the chest, where the esophagus is located.
Acid reflux is not only unpleasant, but it can also be dangerous. Chronic acid reflux in people over 60 years of age significantly increases the risk of esophageal cancer, and it can also lead to ulcers and bleeding.
Doctors prescribe specific medications to relieve acid reflux, and in some cases surgery is also an option. However, choosing the right foods and following acid reflux diet can be just as important in the treatment of this disease.
Foods and acid reflux
Foods high in fiber are highly recommended for people who suffer from acid reflux. Fruit, vegetables, whole grains and other sources of dietary fiber can relieve the burning, prevent bleeding and ulcers and generally improve the condition of the esophagus.
Fish, fish oil and other natural sources of Omega fatty acids are also recommended, because they reduce the inflammation and other symptoms of acid reflux.
It is also recommended to divide the food into several smaller meals. This greatly reduces the chance of stomach acid coming up the esophagus.
As for the foods that should be avoided, they generally include greasy, deep fried, spicy foods and foods high in calories. Sometimes sweets can also aggravate the condition.
Coffee, chocolate and alcohol are known for weakening the esophageal sphincter and they too should be avoided as much as possible, if not excluded completely. Another food item that is well-known for triggering acid reflux is tomato and all the foods derived from it, like tomato juice, ketchup, marinara sauce and others.
People who suffer from acid reflux know which foods aggravate their problem and tend to avoid them, but the ones mentioned above are universal and should be eliminated from the diet until the problem is solved.