heartburn-inducing foods

September 16, 2011

GERD Foods to Avoid

If you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), you might notice that certain foods and beverages aggravate your symptoms. Some heartburn-inducing foods are well-known, while others aren’t as obvious.

Citrus fruits and juices can certainly cause heartburn. In particular, avoid orange, grapefruit and cranberry juices, as well as lemons and lemonade. Tomatoes, tomato-based sauces, garlic and onions will spark symptoms in many GERD sufferers.

Spicy and fatty or fried foods are also common heartburn culprits. Full-fat dairy products (particularly milk shakes, sour cream, ice cream and cottage cheese) and chocolate are lesser-known foods to avoid, along with peppermint and spearmint, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Avoid fatty meats, such as ground beef (chuck), marbled sirloin, chicken nuggets and buffalo wings. Creamy or oil-and-vinegar salad dressings may bring on acid reflux, along with fatty desserts and sweets like brownies, doughnuts, potato or corn chips and butter cookies.

As for beverages, avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks and carbonated beverages. This includes liquor, wine and beer. Coffee and tea can instigate acid reflux, even if they’re decaffeinated.

Additionally, everyone has their own particular heartburn triggers, so pay attention to what you eat or drink and how it affects your GERD symptoms. Keep a food diary if necessary to document what you’ve consumed, and at the same time add notes to your diary about the severity of your heartburn and other GERD symptoms.

In many cases, however, it’s not what you eat but how much you eat that can trigger heartburn. If you have GERD, eat smaller meals to ease your symptoms. Overeating is a common cause of heartburn, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Also, what you do after you eat can affect your post-meal heartburn. For instance, you should wait at least three hours after a meal before lying down. Because some GERD sufferers experience their most intense symptoms at night when they go to bed, try elevating the head of your bed about 6 inches to help your digestive tract using gravity. Simply raising your head using pillows, however, isn’t very effective, the Mayo Clinic states.

Avoid exercising or bending over right after eating meals as well. These movements will only disrupt your digestion and aggravate your GERD symptoms.

Eager for that after-meal cigarette? Skip it. Smoking reduces the lower esophageal sphincter’s proper functioning, which is the main cause of GERD to begin with. Losing weight if you’re obese or overweight and reducing your stress can also help prevent heartburn.

While you’re studying the potentially GERD-aggravating foods in your diet, also consider the medications you take. Certain drugs can worsen or trigger heartburn. These include tricyclic antidepressants, dopamine, anticholinergics for treating sea sickness, sedatives, some bronchodilators for treating asthma and progestin used as birth control or for treating abnormal menstrual bleeding.

Calcium channel blockers and beta blockers for treating hypertension or heart disease also commonly worsen heartburn. If you have GERD and take any of these types of medications, talk with your doctor about whether you can switch to a different but equally-effective medication that won’t trigger heartburn.

For more information on what to the foods to avoid in order to not suffer from GERD visit Reflux Remedy at refluxremedy.com today!

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