Acid reflux, or heartburn, is characterized by a considerable burning sensation in the stomach and esophagus region. Extremely bothersome, there is a direct correlation between the foods we put in the body and the experience of acid reflux.
When we eat alot of highly acidic foods, our body starts to become accustomed to this diet. In turn, our stomaches cannot sufficiently process the acid, and this burning liquid moves back up into the throat.
While there are many home remedies for acid reflux, knowing which foods cause acid reflux is your best bet from experiencing it in the first place.
If you frequently get acid reflux, I would recommend you follow a healthy, alkalizing diet. This will help you take great strides in bettering digestive function and reducing the overall symptoms of acid reflux , and prevent the uncomfortable feeling from ever starting.
Foods to Avoid if you get Acid Reflux
Below is a list of foods that cause acid reflux. While it may not always be easy, try to avoid these foods when possible.
1. Fried Food
More challenging to digest, fried foods, and foods high in trans-fats, wreak havoc on the digestive tract. These foods are heavy and slow down the overall digestive process, leaving excess acids that can eventually move upward into the esophagus. Fried fats also remain stuck in the digestive process for longer periods of time, and can create increased pressure in the stomach.
2. Processed Baked Goods
Sweets like brownies and cookies create an acidic environment, especially if they are processed baked goods that are full of artificial colors and preservatives. In general, avoid all forms of refined white sugar and enriched flour, as they rank highest on the “acidic” charts.
While coffee acts as a laxative, more often than not, the high levels of caffeine in coffee lead to an increased secretion of gastric acid in the stomach which may cause acid reflux.
4. Carbonated Drinks
Drinks like soda pop, tonic water and Perrier increase pressure levels in the stomach, which in turn increases the acidic response. As an alternative, try drinking more purified water that’s not too cold. Stay away from acidic fruit juices, like orange juice, especially before going to bed.
5. Hot and Spicy Foods
It may seem obvious, but spicy foods do not help acid reflux. Avoid chili peppers and hot/spicy sauces. When dining out in restaurants that offer Indian or Thai food, ask your waiter for “no-spice.” For many people, the Indian version of “mild” can still wreak havoc on heartburn.
Alcohol not only increases gastric acid in your body, but it also dehydrates you and may cause you to wake up in the crucial part of the night when our body detoxes from the previous day. In this sense, drinking alcohol today can set you up for poor digestion or acid reflux tomorrow.
Plain and simple, meat is one of the hardest things for the stomach to digest. In general, meat that is lower in fat (fish, lean chicken, turkey) creates less acid, whereas a thick juicy steak requires more acid in the stomach. Limit meat intake to 2-3x weekly and chew well before swallowing. Better yet, eliminate as much meat from your diet, and eat plenty of raw fruits and veggies.
While a cup of cold, creamy milk may provide some temporary relieve to acid reflux symptoms, you may be better off reaching for a glass of water. Milk creates excessive secretion of acid, especially if we drink it when the stomach is full, which will only make matters worse.
Other Ways to Prevent Acid Reflux Symptoms
In general, it is a good idea to eat until you are about 3/4ths full. Chew food thoroughly and eat smaller meals throughout the day, instead of two or three heavy meals. Focus on being present with your food. This will help you avoid over-eating.
I’d also recommend that you chew your food for at least twenty bites and do not lie down immediately after eating. Daily exercise (even just a nice brisk walk), can do wonders for digestion and circulation. With these simple changes, you can avoid acid reflux easily and without medications.
Taking a beet derived Betaine HCL supplement before meals can help aid digestion, and prevent most of the symptoms of acid reflux. However, before taking a supplement, change your diet and avoid the foods that cause acid reflux. You’ll be amazed at how much this will help put the fire out.
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM