GERD diet:foods to eat and avoid

gastroesophageal reflux disease food to eat and avoid
gastroesophageal reflux disease food to eat and avoid

researchers have done studies with many foods,literally measuring the reaction of the LES with a tiny electronic instrument lowered into the esophagus,where it monitors how the muscle responds when individual substances are swallowed. many such studies have been conducted with a grocery list of foods,and while it may seem surprising,only a few substances actually cause the LES to relax.The list includes:
*Mint and anything containing mint oil
*saturated fat
*Processed meats,like bacon and bologna
*Deep-fried foods
*carbonated beverages
*coffee,whether caffeinated or not
*Nicotine(granted this is not a food,but it is a major  chemical trigger)   As you can see ,there are fewer than a dozen substances scientifically proven to trigger GERD. If you suffer from acid reflux,you definitely should not eat or drink (or smoke)anything on this short list.Scientific studies have proven that some of these foods,like chocolate,mint,and caffeine,chemically cause the LES to loosen,triggering acid reflux.
Other foods that are greasy or high in saturated fat lie heavy on the stomach and slow digestion ,delaying the passage of food through the GI tract,which precipitates a buildup of pressure on the LES,which can loosen it and initiate acid reflux.Meats high in saturated fat,especially processed meats.fatty cheeses,and fried foods are at the top of this list.So i urge you to eat red meat less often and in much smaller portions.Forget about those 8 to 12 ounce hunks of beef served up at tony restaurants.Those days are gone good bye.Remember the doggy bag-even if that dog is you the next day.At home upon occasion,a 3 or 4 ounce portion of lean red meat,such as loin of lamb or beef fillet,served with a salad and vegetables may do you good.....or not.
You will find out how much you can take.And definitely, take your dinner at lunchtime,or have supper early so your body has time to digest the meal before you lie down.

Deep-fried foods are extremely hard to digest and most likely to initiate reflux. Particularly for my readers who live in the South, where everything is fried and barbecue is king, I know this is a hardship. But believe me, it’s worth the effort to transform your preferences. It will just take a little time. Think about switching to leaner ways of cooking that call for less fat, butter, or oil. Grilling, broiling, baking, and poaching are fine alternatives. Marinating meat and chicken or dusting them with a dry rub are good ways to pick up extra flavor with less fat.

As a last thought, beware of processed foods. They are filled with chemicals designed to delay degradation and extend shelf life, and they may have hidden ingredients that do not agree with your GERD. Now, compared to what you’ve read elsewhere, that isn’t really such a long list, is it?

What You Can Eat:

Why aren’t tomatoes prohibited, you ask? What about citrus fruits? There’s an important distinction here. These are acidic foods, not trigger foods. You might also wonder about spices, which most other books say to avoid. These could be classified as stimulant foods. Let me explain. If you are in the middle of an acute inflammatory stage and you have esophagitis, a painfully irritated esophagus, it’s just common sense you’ll want to choose bland foods and avoid acids and spices. Not because they would cause reflux, but because they will acerbate your discomfort. This is the time you may need to consult your doctor and turn to medications to quell your symptoms for a few weeks until you feel better.

But most of the time, if you are not in pain or suffering from obvious symptoms of frequent reflux, except for specific trigger foods like chocolate and coffee and general foods like saturated fats and processed meats, your shopping list is wide open. Variety is an important part of a healthy diet. At the same time, the key to natural healing with the Acid Reflux Solution is to choose foods that will improve your digestion and reduce both the frequency and the strength of heartburn attacks. This means lean meats, chicken, and fish; as many natural unprocessed foods as possible; and plenty of fiber from an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains.

Portion Control Is Key:

The truth is, most of the time it’s not so much what you eat as how much that determines whether you’ll suffer from heartburn that night. Think about it. One excellent article I read noted that people often complain about the spicy food they eat giving them GERD, when it is really the quantity of the food they eat that sets off their reflux. When are you more likely to stuff yourself: at the Indian buffet or when you’re eating a tuna salad sandwich at your desk? When that Mexican combination plate is set in front of you, with enough food to feed three cowboys, or when you’re keeping your grandmother company and picking at salt-free chicken and potatoes.

Natural Foods Are the Best Foods:

How you cook as well as what you prepare also affects digestion. Instead of frying, try roasting, grilling, or poaching. As a rule, substitute extra virgin olive oil for butter or margarine. Look for reduced-fat sour cream, cream cheese, and yogurt. Or opt for goat’s milk dairy products, which contain less fat and many find easier to digest than cow’s milk dairy. I don’t like nonfat dairy products. If you read the label, you’ll see they sound more like chemistry experiments than food.
Buy organic whenever you can. While studies of the nutritional benefits of organic over conventional produce are controversial, they do show that you ingest less pesticide residues with organic. Likewise, so-called organic, free-range chicken and meats are leaner, and the fats they do contain are of a completely different complexion than those of feedlot animals. They have less saturated fat, and what they do contain is higher in anti-inflammatory omega-3s in relation to inflammatory omega-6s, producing a healthier ratio of these fatty acids. If you can afford it, go the extra mile and pamper your gut as much as you can.
In a similar vein, using organic flours, grains, and soy means you avoid GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. Much of our country’s wheat and corn crop contains genes you would not expect to find in a plant. Now, I’m not saying that’s what’s causing our epidemic of GERD. As I’ve said, I think the number one reason is the epidemic of obesity. But I am suspicious of what insecticides and fish genes inside plant genes do to our immune systems.
In Europe, there are very few genetically altered foods on the market, because the European Union has decided that the chemical manufacturers and growers must prove these crops are safe before they are sold for human consumption. Here in the United States, on the other hand, corporations are allowed to introduce genetically modified foods first—planting them in fields and delivering them to the consumer fresh or processed—and they are removed from the marketplace only if and when the USDA, FDA, or EPA can prove they are dangerous. Since it can take decades for cancer to develop and it is often difficult to pinpoint the etiology of autoimmune and chronic systemic diseases, it’s going to take a long time before we know whether these altered foods are totally benign. My feeling is that it only makes sense to play it safe and opt for fresh, organic fruits, vegetables, and meats wherever possible. 

How to Encourage Natural Healing:

It’s easy. The mantras I’d like you to adopt are:
Portion size, portion size, portion size
Fiber, fiber, fiber
These two elements are probably the most important aspects of an anti-reflux diet. Portion control will go a long way toward liberalizing your diet. You may not tolerate eating an orange, but you certainly can—and should—risk a teaspoon or two of lemon juice in your vinaigrette. You might even tolerate half a fresh orange. 

Less quantity overall relieves pressure on your stomach, reducing secretion of stomach acid.

At the same time, a higher proportion of fiber will keep what you do eat moving right along. However, you don’t want to overdo it, or you’ll produce gas, which can be uncomfortable. Start using the Acid Reflux Solution recipes, many of which include generous amounts of fiber, and you’ll get an idea of what a proper anti-GERD portion looks like.

Why Fiber Is Your Friend:

Fiber is the part of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that is hard—or impossible—to fully digest. Ironically, this same quality improves our digestion. Some fibers draw moisture into the gastrointestinal tract; others add bulk and move everything along. Certain fibers act as feed for the good microbes in our gut that actually nourish us and improve our health.
Fiber is an extremely important part of the Acid Reflux Solution. Why? To put it bluntly, chronic constipation is often associated with GERD, and fiber helps promote regularity. It keeps everything moving along regularly as it should. Let’s be real, there is no genteel way to discuss bathroom habits. But discuss them we must. Think of your GI tract as a train track. The lead train loads up, filling with passengers, and chugs out of the station, carrying them along to their destination. Each train departs at a certain interval. Maybe the schedule says one train every twenty minutes. Usually there are a number of trains on the same track, but in different places at any one time. As long as the lead train keeps moving, all runs smoothly and efficiently. But if one of the trains breaks down and can’t get to the final terminal, all the trains behind it back up on the track, causing congestion. Other cars get stuck in the tunnel, and passengers about to board start crowding around on the platform, spilling over onto the stairwells. If you think of it that way, it’s not surprising that GERD is often associated with chronic constipation. Plainly speaking, fiber keeps the trains running on time.
Partially digested food moves out of your stomach and journeys as briskly as is appropriate down the twenty-five to thirty feet of your intestinal tract. But when that system clogs, pressure and gasses build up closer to the stomach. Like the physical pressure of abdominal fat, this distension causes the LES to relax, making it more likely to allow a bout of reflux. Many reasons exist for constipation, but when doctors examine patients who complain of being irregular, certain common habits are prevalent. they find theses patients often do not:
  Drink enough water
  Walk enough
  Ingest enough fiber
Now I know I told you not to drink too much fluid with your meals. That’s because portion control and volume are critical. You don’t want to build up too much pressure in your stomach during meals. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t drink plenty of fluids in between. In fact, as we age, our need for water becomes greater while at the same time our thirst tends to diminish. This means we can begin to become dehydrated without feeling thirsty. If you’re an active person who exercises a lot, you’ll probably sweat enough to build up a thirst. Where have you seen an athlete without a water bottle? Whether thirsty or not, the average adult requires a minimum of 1½ to 2 quarts of fluid a day to remain properly hydrated. The key is to keep on sipping water slowly throughout the whole day.
Notice, I use the word water. Not diet cola, sugar-sweetened soda, beer, coffee, or juice. Remember, carbonated beverages, including beer, are major triggers of acid reflux. And for most people, so is coffee, whether caffeinated or not. Colas are high in phosphates, which create an acidic environment in your system. Aside from leaching calcium from your bones and contributing to osteoporosis, this acid may trigger heartburn beyond what you’ll get from the volume of the carbonation alone. Many juices, especially orange juice, are also highly acidic. Plain pure water and herbal tea are the best choices to quench your thirst and satisfy your body’s need for fluids.
My recommendation is to fill your water bottle or thermos in the morning and refill it in the middle of the day, if needed. If you don’t already own a water bottle, go to the store and pick one out you really love—one that’s a pretty color or smart looking or just plain cool. These days everyone drinks water in public. Take frequent small sips but slow down after meals, even if you feel a little thirsty. Drinking too much right after eating can put excessive pressure on the stomach and trigger an attack. If you enjoy a cup of hot tea after dinner, wait half an hour or so after eating to make room for it.
Keep in mind that digestion actually begins in your mouth, continues in your stomach, and delivers its biggest benefits in the intestines, mostly near the top. That’s why it’s so important to chew well before swallowing. Your body has been alerted dinner is coming down the pike, which causes the gallbladder and pancreas to  release digestive juices mixed with powerful hydrochloric acid made in the stomach. Your body secretes 1 to 1½ quarts of these juices everyday. Within a few minutes of hitting the stomach, whose powerful acid registers a pH of 1.5 on a scale of 10 (remember, the lower the number, the stronger the acid), all that food turns to mush, or as we professionals call it, chyme.
So now you’ve got a wet mass of highly acidic sludge sloshing around in your tummy. It wants to pass on to your small intestine, where the acid will be neutralized by other secretions rich in bicarbonate, otherwise known as baking soda—the same stuff you swill to get rid of the pain when you have heartburn. Soon a great deal of water from this sludge is reabsorbed into the body as most of the nutrients are absorbed. The kidneys also filter out water and either reabsorb it back into the body if it is needed or excrete it as urine. But if you are dehydrated or chronically low in fluid intake, that mass passing through your lower GI tract can dry out too much and get stuck. The train has left the station but has encountered a problem!
What do you do when you have something caught in a tube, like trying to get ketchup out of the neck of a jar? You shake it, of course. Gravity is your first line of attack against congestion—or constipation. Remaining upright and moving after a meal not only helps prevent stomach acid from spurting up into the esophagus, but it also keeps everything moving down. And when you walk, the motion helps shake the contents further along. Movement actually stimulates peristalsis, the involuntary waves of contractions you don’t feel, which is how the intestines pass their contents down the line. The custom of taking a leisurely stroll after dinner, which is particularly popular in Italy, has an excellent basis in healthy digestion, and I highly recommend it. It’s a great way to get at least some of the thirty to forty-five minutes of exercise we all need every day.
In addition to taking advantage of gravity, shaking everything down the system, walking also stimulates the movement of energy into your cells. This is especially helpful if you are overweight or obese and suffer from insulin resistance. Exercising your muscles as you walk opens up a back door for the energy to reach your cells, even if the front door is stuck. When your cells get what they need from the food you eat, the body has less of a tendency to hold on to excess or even to produce more energy of its own.

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