Gerd is caused when acid and bile from the stomach reflux into the esophagus. This can cause irritation, erosion, ulcers, abnormal cells and Barrett’s Esophagus – a condition associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer.
Medications are usually prescribed to manage symptoms and prevent cancer from developing in the lining of the esophagus. However, surgery may also be an option for some individuals suffering from severe reflux.
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1. Eat smaller meals.
If you experience acid reflux, it could be due to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This condition affects up to 20% of people worldwide and causes various unpleasant symptoms like heartburn.
To cure GERD permanently, you need to make changes in your diet and lifestyle. By making these adjustments, you can permanently eliminate its symptoms.
One way to accomplish this is by eating smaller meals more frequently.
By doing this, you will reduce the pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter–the valve between your stomach and esophagus–and prevent reflux from occurring.
Avoid eating large meals just before bed, as lying down after eating can increase the amount of acid in your stomach and decrease its ability to stop it from flowing up into your esophagus.
2. Avoid fatty foods.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a serious condition that could result in permanent damage to your esophagus if not addressed. Signs include chest and stomach pain or burning after eating.
Heartburn can occur when the lower esophageal sphinter, which normally closes after food enters your stomach, relaxes or weakens and allows stomach acid to reflux back up into your esophagus.
To prevent GERD, it’s best to limit your consumption of fatty foods. Eating too many of them will increase the acid in your stomach.
A low-fat diet can aid weight loss and reduce your risks for obesity, diabetes, stroke and heart disease. It’s best to replace saturated and trans fats with healthier unsaturated ones like those found in nut butters, avocados, walnuts and flaxseed oil; they are also great sources of calcium, iron and vitamins B6 and D.
3. Avoid smoking.
Tobacco smoke can cause heartburn, the burning sensation caused when acid from your stomach leaks up into your esophagus. Nicotine, a key component in tobacco smoke, relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter (valve), which usually prevents food from moving up into your stomach and allows acid to come back up instead.
Smoking also reduces the amount of saliva your mouth produces, which neutralizes acids. This can irritate the lining of your esophagus and increase the likelihood that you’ll experience reflux symptoms.
If you suffer from GERD, it’s best to quit smoking altogether as smoking can exacerbate your symptoms and lead to more severe complications like Barrett’s esophagus and throat cancer. Furthermore, quitting before having a baby is especially important since babies born to mothers who smoke have an increased chance of birth defects and premature labor.
4. Avoid alcohol.
Alcohol has an adverse effect on your stomach and esophagus. In certain individuals, it may even exacerbate acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms.
Alcohol increases your risk for several health complications, such as cancer, liver damage, heart disease and accidents. Seeking help for anyone addicted to alcohol or who regularly drinks in an unhealthy way should be a top priority.
Moderation in alcohol consumption is key; no more than 14 units per week is recommended for men and women alike, though this may prove difficult if you’re used to binge-drinking frequently.
Even taking a temporary break from alcohol can have numerous advantages. Consider Dry January or introducing some alcohol-free days to reduce your risks for various illnesses and enhance your wellbeing.
5. Avoid caffeine.
Caffeine is a stimulant commonly found in coffee, teas, cocoa, chocolate, cola and energy drinks. While moderate doses of caffeine may be safe for most adults in small amounts, too much caffeine may have adverse effects on the body.
People’s reactions to caffeine depend on how sensitive they are and how quickly they metabolize (break down) it. This may differ depending on a person’s weight and any medications taken.
Medical professionals sometimes advise people with GERD to avoid caffeine, believing it exacerbates symptoms of reflux. However, there is limited scientific evidence to back this up.
6. Avoid spicy foods.
Spicy foods should be avoided if you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) as they can irritate your esophagus and increase the likelihood of reflux. Furthermore, spicy dishes may also cause heartburn so it’s best to steer clear of them.
Additionally, spicy food may cause hemorrhoids, IBS and colitis.
Spicy foods contain capsaicin, which is an irritating natural irritant to the stomach lining.
Dr. Chattoo, a gastroenterologist and author of “The Art of Digestive Health,” warns that capsaicin can cause pain and burning sensations in your esophagus, throat and chest.
If you experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, gas or bloating after eating spicy food, it may be time for a change of pace. Try drinking a glass of cold milk which will soothe the burn from capsaicin and reduce your symptoms.
7. Avoid fried foods.
GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a disorder in which acid from your stomach leaks back up into your esophagus, causing heartburn. Left untreated, this condition could progress to more serious issues like damage to the esophagus and other health complications.
For many people with gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), eliminating certain foods and making lifestyle modifications can help alleviate their symptoms. Keeping a food diary to identify which foods trigger reflux is an invaluable tool in deciding what to eliminate and when.
Fried foods such as french fries, chicken tenders and other deep-fried delectables can be especially detrimental to GERD due to their high fat content. Furthermore, these fried treats relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), allowing stomach acids to seep up into your esophagus.
8. Avoid chocolate.
Chocolate may irritate the lower esophageal sphincter for some people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Therefore, those suffering from this condition should avoid chocolate as well as other triggers like caffeine, alcohol and fatty foods.
Researchers have yet to prove a direct connection between carbonated beverages and acid reflux symptoms for some individuals, but research has not identified an immediate cause-and-effect between consuming these drinks and GERD symptoms.
The most effective way to cure GERD is by eliminating the foods that cause its symptoms. For some individuals, this may mean restricting certain foods or completely abstaining from them from their diet.
9. Avoid carbonated beverages.
One of the best ways to permanently cure GERD is by avoiding foods that trigger symptoms. While this may seem like a daunting task at first glance, once you get the hang of it, giving up certain foods or drinks becomes much easier.
Drinking carbonated beverages can exacerbate acid reflux symptoms. They cause your stomach to become distended, making it harder for the esophageal sphinter to prevent reflux from occurring.
If you suffer from GERD, it is best to abstain from drinking any carbonated beverages such as sodas and energy drinks. These often contain caffeine which can exacerbate symptoms.
10. Eat fruits.
Eating the right types of foods can make a significant difference in symptoms associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). According to the American College of Gastroenterology, avoiding trigger foods is one way to help manage this condition.
Fruits are packed with essential vitamins, fiber, minerals and healthy fats. Furthermore, they contain enzymes which can aid digestion.
However, it is best to steer clear of acid-producing citrus fruits and juices. Instead, opt for noncitrus fruits like bananas and pears instead.
Fatty foods, particularly those with excess fat like fried chicken and french fries, can relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and cause reflux of stomach acid. In addition, these meals delay stomach emptying and increase pressure in the LES.