According to the Mayo Clinic, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a chronic condition that occurs when acid backs up into the food pipe. The most common symptom of this condition is a burning sensation in the chest, behind the breastbone. People suffering from GERD can make diet changes to reduce symptoms by eliminating trigger foods and eating plenty of GERD friendly foods.
GERD Trigger Foods
While medications are helpful in reducing GERD symptoms, simple dietary changes can also be effective. Avoid fatty, fried, spicy and acidic foods (such as citrus and tomatoes) to keep from triggering GERD symptoms. Also, eat at least three hours before lying down and eat small meals throughout the day, instead of large meals.
Avoid meats such as beef, chicken nuggets and sirloin as well as high fat dairy such as milk shakes and ice cream. Spaghetti with tomato sauce, macaroni-and-cheese, creamy salad dressings, chocolate and coffee can also trigger GERD symptoms.
GERD Safe Foods
With so many foods on the "don't eat" list, many people wonder which foods are safe. Those who suffer from GERD should eat fruits and vegetables like apples, bananas, cabbage, green beans and peas. When choosing meats, choose lean cuts, such as chicken breast and extra lean beef.
Low fat dairy products such as low fat cream cheese, sour cream and cheese are also safe. If you have a sweet tooth, toss the doughnuts and ice cream, and choose low-fat cookies or fat-free licorice.
When to Call a Doctor
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, it's time to call a doctor when it's painful to swallow, you're vomiting blood, stools are bloody or dark black or you have shortness of breath. Also, call your doctor if you sweat heavily during heart pain or have GERD symptoms more than three times a week for two consecutive weeks.