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Best Foods to Alleviate GERD

Published by Cheryl Mussatto, MS, RD, LD on Apr 21, 2022

Don’t let GERD disrupt your life

 

According to the NIDDK’s report on gastrointestinal conditions, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) affects up to 20% of the population. Described as a chronic disease in a guide to GERD by SymptomFind, this condition comes from persistent acid reflux. Its symptoms include heartburn, nausea, cough, dental erosion, and pain in the chest and behind the sternum. Unfortunately, GERD can only be managed and not reversed. A 2019 Cedar-Sinai study found that up to one-third of American adults have been found to experience GERD symptoms weekly.

Fortunately, GERD is treatable and can be alleviated. With a few simple but crucial dietary additions and tweaks, you can keep living your best life while alleviating any pesky GERD. Here are some of the best foods to add to your diet and keep GERD at bay:

Yogurt

Yogurt is an excellent addition to the GERD diet because it hits two birds with one stone. First, because it’s packed with probiotics, it helps improve overall gut health. Probiotics help good bacteria thrive, keeping your gut running well with live microorganisms they require. Second, yogurt has protein creating a calm and soothing sensation, perfect for alleviating heartburn or painful reflux episodes. This is why yogurt is included in my “8 Tips to Improve Your Digestive Health”. Just be sure to opt for low-fat yogurt that’s not too sour to avoid triggering an attack.

Ginger

Ginger is known for being a highly beneficial ingredient. Used medicinally for over 2,000 years, ginger can provide almost instant relief during GERD attacks. In addition, as noted in medicinal reports, this food can help relieve nausea and vomiting, both of which are common manifestations of GERD. To use ginger for your GERD, you may chew a little peeled knob or steep it in hot water. If the ginger you’re using is already dried or pre-prepared, ensure that it doesn’t have added caffeine or sugar. Otherwise, these additives may only worsen your acid reflux.

Olive Oil

Fatty foods are to be avoided with GERD since they can aggravate symptoms. However, the body needs some fat to work and prevent flare-ups. Consequently, next time you need to add oil to cook or season with, reach for a healthy fat like olive oil. Aside from having fantastic flavor, Self Magazine’s article on high-fat foods reveals that olive oil is a great way to satisfy your daily nutritional fat intake. A single teaspoon of olive oil has up to 14 grams of healthy fat. On top of this, olive oil can also lubricate the intestinal tract, which helps reduce excess production of gastric acid.

Bananas

While high-fructose fruits should be avoided with GERD, bananas should be a dietary staple. Fresh bananas, specifically, are preferable because of their very low acidity and fiber-rich consistency. Thanks to this, bananas can coat the esophageal tract’s mucous lining, providing a layer of protection against acid damage. Aside from this, the fiber in bananas helps food move through the gut faster. As a result, this means less chance of food lingering in the stomach and potentially triggering acid production.

Water

In the CDC’s drinking water breakdown, plain water helps with many health concerns. Aside from GERD, these include weight management, dehydration, brain fog, moodiness, kidney stones, and constipation. For GERD specifically, plain water can lubricate the gut and help food breakdown to move along quicker. Across the board, though, most people don’t drink enough water as it is. A study of 2,000 adults even found that only 22% consumed the daily recommended water intake. To prevent falling behind on your water, try bringing a refillable water bottle.

GERD can be a frustrating and painful condition to live with. However, a GERD diagnosis doesn’t have to impact your life negatively. With a few clever tweaks, the proper medication, and an adequately curated diet, you can still enjoy your life with GERD.

 

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Cheryl Mussatto, MS, RD, LD

Cheryl Mussatto MS, RD, LD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics and Institutional Management from Kansas State University. She is a clinical dietitian for Cotton O’Neil Clinics in Topeka and Osage City; an adjunct professor for Allen Community College, Burlingame, KS where she teaches Basic Nutrition; and is a freelance writer and blog contributor for Dr. David Samadi, Urologic Oncologist Expert and World Renowned Robotic Surgeon in New York City. Cheryl is also the author of The Nourished Brain, The Latest Science on Food’s Power for Protecting the Brain from Alzheimers and Dementia and The Prediabetes Action Plan and Cookbook, both available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback editions.

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