GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is an unfortunate and often painful condition of the lower part of the esophagus. If you're suffering from GERD, the good news is that a carefully monitored diet can greatly improve your symptoms.
The lower part of the esophagus has a special muscle that allows food to pass through it into the stomach. When functioning properly, this muscle keeps stomach acid out of the esophagus. However, a weakened esophageal muscle can allow stomach acid to enter the esophagus and cause a variety of symptoms to occur. Symptoms may include heartburn, reflux and chest pain. This condition is known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD and can be treated with a special diet.
There is certain dietary changes that you can make in order to prevent or treat GERD. Specific foods can irritate a person's acid reflux and bring on an attack. Also, eating smaller and more frequent meals throughout the day can help reduce a person's GERD symptoms. Stay away from foods with a high fat content, peppermint, spearmint, whole milk, chocolate, citrus fruits and juices, caffeinated beverages and alcohol. These foods aggravate acid reflux and should be avoided or enjoyed in limited quantities. You will also likely find specific trigger foods that bring on an attack, like spicy foods. Instead, patients should eat lower fat entrees and reduced fat dairy products in order to treat acid reflux. Decaffeinated and non-alcoholic beverages can also be consumed by the dieter.
Remember if you cut out foods due to a special GERD diet, you may need to take a dietary supplement in order to meet the standards set forth by the National Research Council. For instance, acidic fruits and juices contain vitamin C. Therefore, patients that avoid these items will want to take a vitamin C supplement.
Patients that follow a GERD diet will immediately notice a reduction in their acid reflux symptoms. Avoiding trigger foods, like alcoholic beverages and spicy foods will decrease the number of heartburn episodes experienced by the patient. They will also be eating a healthier diet that has less fat calories.
In some cases, dietary adjustments may not be enough to successfully treat GERD. In conjunction with a special diet, your doctor may recommend taking acid reflux medications, like antacids and proton pump inhibitors. In some rare cases, surgery may be required in order to treat GERD. Also, remember to speak to your doctor about any changes you plan to make to your diet.