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(Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease Diet; Heartburn Diet)
What Is a GERD Diet?
- Burning feeling that starts in the lower chest and moves up the throat
- Sour or bitter taste in the throat
- Pain that increases with bending over or lying down
- Feeling that food is coming back up
Why Should I Follow a GERD Diet?
Eating Guide for a GERD Diet
How You Eat
- Avoid large meals. Eating a large amount of food at one time puts more pressure on the muscle between your esophagus and stomach.
- Stay upright during and after meals. Avoid slouching or lying down during meals. Sitting upright at a table rather than slouching on the couch can keep stomach acid down.
- Avoid eating within three hours of bedtime. Lying down with a full stomach can make it easier for stomach acid to flow into your esophagus.
- Pace yourself during meals. Eating too quickly can make GERD symptoms worse. Eating in a relaxed environment may also be helpful.
What You Eat
- High-fat foods and fried foods —These foods cause your stomach to empty more slowly, so there is more time for stomach acid to flow into the esophagus.
- Spicy foods, peppers —The chemical that gives peppers their heat (capsicum) increases stomach acid production.
- Chocolate —Chocolate has a chemical that can cause the muscle between your esophagus and stomach to relax, allowing stomach acid into your esophagus.
- Citrus fruits and juices —These acidic fruits are common triggers for GERD.
- Tomatoes (and tomato-based foods, like pasta sauce and chili)
- Alcohol —Alcohol stimulates stomach acid production, which can make GERD symptoms worse.
- Coffee (with or without caffeine)
- Carbonated drinks
Apple Juice (1/2 cup [118 milliliters (ml)])
Whole-grain cereal (3/4 cup [177 ml])
Whole-wheat toast (2 slices)
Jelly or jam (2 tablespoons [29 g])
Skim milk (1 cup [237 ml])
Vegetable soup (1 cup
Lean beef patty (3 ounces [86 g])
Reduced-calorie mayonnaise (1 tablespoon [14 g])
Mustard (1 tablespoon [14 g])
Fresh fruit salad (no citrus) (1/2 cup [114 g])
Graham crackers (4)
Skim milk (1 cup [237 ml])
Green salad (4 ounces [114 g])
Vinegar and oil dressing (1 tablespoon [15 ml] )
Broiled skinless chicken breast (3 ounces [85 g])
Herbed brown rice (1/2 cup [114 g])
Steamed broccoli (1/2 cup [114 g])
Low-fat frozen yogurt (1/2 cup [114 g])
|Tip: Skipping coffee at breakfast can decrease stomach acid. You may want to try tea instead.||Tip: Skip the tomatoes and onions on your burger to decrease stomach acid.||Tip: Stick to low-fat dairy products.||Tip: Choose low-fat meats, like skinless chicken breasts.|
Other Ways to Control GERD
- If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can make GERD symptoms worse.
- Avoid clothing that is tight in the abdominal area.
- Sleep with your head elevated.
- Chew non-mint gum. Chewing gum will increase saliva production and cut down on stomach acid.
American Gastroenterological Association http://www.gastro.org
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases http://www.niddk.nih.gov
Canadian Institute for Health Information http://www.cihi.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/. Updated October 14, 2013. Accessed February 21, 2014.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Nemours' KidsHealth.org website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/system/surgical/gerd%5Freflux.html. Updated June 2011. Accessed February 21, 2014.
The GERD diet (gastroesophageal reflux disease). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: McKinley Health Center website. Available at: http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu/handouts/gerd%5Fdiet.html. Updated April 16, 2008. Accessed February 21, 2014.
Kahrilas PJ. Clinical practice. Gastroesophageal reflux disease. N Engl J Med. 2008 Oct 16;359(16):1700-1707.
Oliver K, et al. Diet and lifestyle as trigger factors for the onset of heartburn. Nurs Stand. 2011 May 11-17; 25(36): 44-48.
Treatment of GERD. International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders website. Available at: http://www.aboutgerd.org/site/about-gerd/treatment/. Updated February 5, 2014. Accessed February 21, 2014.
- Reviewer: Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN
- Review Date: 03/2014
- Update Date: 05/08/2014