Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that affects the ring of muscle between the oesophagus. In this condition, the liquid contents of the stomach move back into the oesophagus. During the day this refluxed liquid goes back into the stock. Thanks to gravity, swallowing and our saliva. However, if acid reflux occurs during the night, the acid stays in the oesophagus longer and causes damage to the oesophagus.
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Causes of GERD
We have all suffered from occasional acid refluxes during our life. The common reason for this is overeating or lying down soon after eating. However, recurrent acid reflux (GERD) can be quite damaging. The common causes of GERD include:
GERD is common in obese people due to increased pressure on the abdomen.
Pregnancy can also cause pressure on the abdomen which leads to GERD.
Certain medicines like asthma medicines, sedatives and anti-depressants can cause acid reflux.
Smoking can also lead to GERD.
A hiatal hernia
This condition causes the top of the stomach to move up into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm, which can cause GERD.
Symptoms of GERD – Reference
- Bad breath
- Respiratory problems
- Difficulty in swallowing
Foods that can trigger GERD
Avoid these foods as they can make the symptoms of acid reflux worse.
These foods stay in the stomach for a long time and are difficult to digest. They can cause the stomach to produce more acid.
Spicy food can make the burning sensation worse if you are suffering from GERD.
Chocolates contain caffeine, processed fats and sugar, all of which make the symptoms of acid reflux worse.
Mint products make the acid reflux symptoms worse because of these products lower pressure in the oesophageal sphincter, which leads to the rise in acid.
Tomatoes and tomato-based products can trigger the symptoms of GERD in many people.
Alcoholic drinks like beer and wine can worsen the symptoms of GERD. Avoid alcohol close to bedtime.
Caffeine-based drinks can irritate the inflames oesophagus.
Citrus fruits and juices
Citrus fruits and juices are high in acids and can make the symptoms worse.
Processed foods have a high percentage of sodium which can increase the symptoms of acid reflux.
Foods that can help reduce your symptoms
Incorporate these foods into your diet to reduce the symptoms of acid reflux.
Vegetables are low in fat and sugar and can help reduce acid in the stomach. Green leafy vegetables, beans, potatoes, cucumbers, broccoli are some of the vegetables that work will to reduce acid reflux.
The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger work well in reducing the symptoms of acid reflux. It helps in reducing the inflammation in the oesophagus. It also helps in reducing nausea.
The high fibre content in oatmeal is beneficial in absorbing stomach acids and reducing the symptoms of acid reflux. It is the best option for breakfast if you are suffering from GERD.
4. Aloe vera
Aloe vera is also an excellent remedy for acid reflux. Aloe vera juice is one of the most popular home remedies for acid reflux.
Bananas are good for the digestive system, and they help in managing the symptoms of acid reflex very well. This fruit secretes mucus which protects the intestinal walls from gastric acid.
Melons like honeydew, muskmelon and watermelon are suitable for treating symptoms of acid reflux. Melons help to reduce the stomach acids. Watermelon is an alkaline food. So it helps neutralise the acids in the stomach.
Fennel helps to improve the stomach function. Add this crunchy vegetable to salads or chicken to help your digestive system.
Yogurt helps to maintain the pH level in the stomach because of its alkaline nature. Yogurt also promotes the growth of good bacteria which inhibits the occurrence of acid reflux.
9. Lean meats
Chicken, fish and turkey are low in fats, and so they help control symptoms of acid reflux. Make sure you healthily cook them and don’t fry them.
10. Egg whites
Egg whites are high in protein and do not have fat. So, egg whites are an excellent source of nutrients for an acid reflux diet.
Lifestyle changes that help control GERD
You must change a few of your habits to control the symptoms of GERD.
- Eat more frequent, smaller meals. Avoid long gaps between meals.
- Wait for two to three hours before you lie down after a meal.
- Avoid late night snacks.
- Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco.
- Raise your bed head by at least six inches by adding a foam wedge under the mattress. Raising the height of your bed head will help you sleep better.
- Avoid wearing very tight clothes.
- Try and lose at least five to ten pounds of weight.