Tired of Feeling the Burn? Low-Acid Diet May Help

“That may not be true,” says Dr. Kyle Staller, a gastroenterologist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. “The foods that trigger heartburn are different for everyone.” He suggests keeping a journal to determine which foods cause symptoms.

Call your health-care professional when symptoms of GERD occur frequently, disrupt your sleep, interfere with work or other activities, are associated with respiratory problems, or are not relieved by self-care measures alone. It may feel like it’s difficult to swallow or feel a tightness in the throat when you have heartburn, and it may feel as if food is stuck in your throat or esophagus. Normally, the diaphragm acts as an additional barrier, helping the lower esophageal sphincter keep acid from backing up into the esophagus. The esophagus lies just behind the heart, so the term “heartburn” was coined to describe the sensation of acid burning the esophagus near where the heart is located. The lining of the esophagus does not share these resistant features and stomach acid can damage it.

Changes in lifestyle, diet, and habits, nonprescription antacids, and prescription medications all must be tried before resorting to surgery. Only if all else fails is surgery recommended. Because lifestyle changes and medications work well in most people, surgery is done on only a small number of people. Acid reflux usually feels like a painful or burning sensation in your stomach, upper abdomen behind the breastbone, esophagus, and even up into your throat. You may have the feeling of a hot, acidic, or sour tasting fluid at the back of the throat or a sore throat.

Hard liquor is more likely to aggravate reflux conditions quickly, though a glass of wine with a large or acidic meal can cause discomfort, too. Although this is very uncommon, keep in mind that too much water can disrupt the mineral balance in your body, which would increase the likelihood of acid reflux. Carrageenan is a common additive in nondairy beverages and may contribute to digestive symptoms. Check your labels and avoid this additive if you have GERD.

People with GERD also may notice they have bad breath, coughing, abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting. Difficulty swallowing and erosion of your teeth also are signs, but this may happen after you have had GERD for a while. More than half of people who have frequent heartburn say a hectic lifestyle and work-related stress increases their heartburn.

Eating healthy and balanced amounts of different types of foods is good for your overall health. For more information about eating a balanced diet, visit Choose My Plate. Some are combined with a foaming agent. Foam in the stomach helps prevent acid from backing up into the esophagus.

CCertain diet and lifestyle choices can contribute to the condition. For example, certain foods increase acid production, and fatty foods increase the time food remains in the stomach. Chocolate, peppermint, coffee, alcoholic beverages, and especially nicotine in cigarette smoke weaken or relax the LES.

The LES tends to relax when you lie down, and a full stomach can cause stomach contents to press harder against the LES. Also, your digestive system slows down when you sleep. The food in your stomach stays there longer at the same time you are in a prime position for the food to be refluxed.

In terms of medications, it’s considered safe to take Tums, Gaviscon or Ranitidine (Zantac), but it’s a good idea to talk to your health care provider before taking any medication. Pregnant women are also prone to heartburn because their digestive system has slowed down, meaning stuff is sticking around in the stomach longer, explains Heather Martin, an Edmonton-based midwife. “This slowed movement of food means, on top of heartburn, you can get constipation and indigestion.” And unfortunately, as the uterus continues to grow and press against the stomach, this triple whammy can intensify.

possible) and mentioned that I should avoid acid triggers and overeating. Leaving the visit, I still felt that just taking medications couldn’t be the answer. There had to be a way to dramatically shift my acidity.

Acid reflux during pregnancy

Talk to your doctor about any prescriptions, over-the-counter products, and supplements you are taking. Your doctor may be able to change the schedule of your medications to help reduce the effects. Also, if you take a medication to prevent heartburn there may be a better time to take it if you have nighttime heartburn. Fatty foods slow digestion.

With GERD, however, the sphincter relaxes between swallows, allowing stomach contents (gastric reflux) and corrosive acid to well up and damage the lining of the esophagus. The prognosis for acid reflux (GERD) is good in mild to moderate cases. Chronic cases often respond to prescription drugs, and severe cases may require surgery to avoid serious complications. Treatment of acid reflux includes over-the-counter (OTC) medications including antacids and H2-blockers; prescription medications such as proton pump inhibitors, coating agents, and promotility agents; and in severe cases, surgery. Symptoms of acid reflux include heartburn, regurgitation of bitter acid into the throat, bitter taste in mouth, ches pain, dry cough, hoarseness, feeling of tightness in the throat, and wheezing.

So before using bananas as your go-to solution to acid reflux symptoms, you may want to test how your body reacts to them first. Dr. Nusbaum told INSIDER that a banana’s natural pH can help settle the stomach and he said he recommends them to those who suffer from acid reflux. Bananas and fennel can sometimes help one manage their symptoms of acid reflux. Tolerance to hot sauce is very individual.

Due to their high-fiber content, bananas also can help strengthen your digestive system – which can help ward off indigestion. One soluble fiber found in bananas is pectin, which helps move stomach contents through your digestive tract. And that’s a good thing – because food that sticks around will only continue to generate acid. No diet has been proven to prevent GERD.

This allows the stomach’s contents to enter the esophagus, causing heartburn. If you’re overweight or obese, talk with your doctor or a dietitian about dietary changes that can help you lose weight and decrease your GERD symptoms.

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