GERD: Do you have Reflux?

By July 22, 2019Helpful Articles

GERD

Q: Do you have hoarseness, chronic cough, choking episodes, trouble swallowing, lump in throat, chronic throat clearing, postnasal drip, heartburn, or asthma?

A: If your answer is yes, you may have GERD. GERD doesn’t always present with heartburn.  It may show up as any of the above symptoms.  
 

Q: What causes GERD?

A: It’s not actually the stomach acid itself that causes GERD. It is the pepsin (the enzyme in the stomach that helps digest protein). Pepsin is activated by acid, but it isn’t the acid that causes the symptoms. When pepsin leaks up past the gastroesophageal spincter and is activated by acid, you get heart burn. It doesn’t have to be stomach acid. It can be acid from the food you eat.
 

Q: Is it more harmful in other ways or just painful?

A: It can be.  Doctors are starting to connect the dots and seeing that it may be one of the main contributors to esophageal cancer.
 

Q: How can you treat GERD with diet?

A: Choose foods low in acid to eliminate the acid from activating the pepsin.
Low in acid means consuming nothing with a pH below 4.  Remember, a neutral pH is 7.  Anything above 7 is basic.

The BEST foods

Fats

Oil

Avocado

Grains

Oatmeal
All whole grain cereals
Whole Grain Bread
Rice
Pasta

Sweeteners

Agave
Honey

Fruits

Banana
Apple, only red
Melon
Pears

Vegetables

Beans
Celery
Green Vegetables except green pepper
Herbs, not spicy
Parsley
Ginger
Fennel
Mushrooms
Potatoes
Turnip

Protein

Chicken, no skin
Fish
Turkey, no skin
Tofu

Dairy

All dairy is OK

Spices

Small amounts of pepper is OK, but go easy and add after cooking.

Salt is OK, but keep it in mind if you have a history of high blood pressure.

The WORST Foods

Chocolate

Soda and all carbonated beverages

Alcohol

Deep Fried Foods

Bacon, sausage, ribs, high fat meats

Butter, lard, margarine, shortening

Coffee, tea or other caffeinated beverages

Mint

High fat nuts and nut butters

Hot sauces

Citrus fruit and juice

Tips:

  1. Cook with lower fats, but not NO fats!
  2. Remember not all foods are going to be bad forever.  You can probably have very small amounts of some of the “worst foods” after you start to heal your esophagus.
  3. As with any healthy eating plan, work to incorporate lots of vegetables to help your body heal itself.
  4. You can use orange and lemon zest, just not the juice to flavor foods.
  5. Make sure to use plenty of herbs instead of salt and spices.
  6. Remember to eat lot of fiber.  It will help feed the good bacteria in your gut, which will help with healing.
  7. A small dose of Melatonin at night can help with reflux symptoms.
  8. Remember to eat smaller meals especially at dinner.  It can help to make lunch your largest meal of the day.
  9. Don’t eat within 3 hours of going to bed.
  10. Remember to pay attention to how your body feels after you eat something!  If a food bothers you, make a note of it.  It helps to keep a journal!

Some of this information was taken from “Dropping Acid The Reflux Diet Cookbook and Cure” By Jamie Koufman, MD, Jordan Stren, MD, and Marc Bauer, chef.  You can find some great recipes to help you get started in his cookbook:

https://www.amazon.com/Dropping-Acid-Reflux-Diet-Cookbook/dp/0982708319

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