Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also called GERD or acid reflux, is a common problem affecting up to one-third of the U.S. population. An estimated one out of five people with GERD experience heartburn or acid regurgitation every week and two out of five experience heartburn or acid regurgitation at least once a month. The foods we eat can exacerbate GERD symptoms. Acidic and fatty foods can trigger symptoms either by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter (valve) or by slowing the stomach from emptying and causing increased backflow of stomach contents into the esophagus. Managing your diet and weight is the first line treatment for GERD.

Foods That Cause Acid Reflux

Foods that can cause acid reflux include:

  • Processed foods
  • Fatty meats (e.g., bacon and sausage)
  • Cheese
  • Chill powder and peppers (e.g., white, black, cayenne)
  • Tomato-based sauces
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruit
  • Peppermint
  • Carbonated beverages

Foods That Prevent Acid Reflux

The following foods can help prevent acid reflux:

  • High-fiber foods: whole grains, root veggies, green veggies, etc.
  • Alkaline foods: bananas, melons, cauliflower, etc.
  • Watery foods: celery, cucumber, lettuce

Home Remedies

The following are some home remedies for acid reflux:

  • Non-fat milk and low-fat yogurt act as a temporary buffer between the stomach lining and stomach acid. Low-fat yogurt also provides probiotics, which help keep a healthy balance between good and harmful bacteria. Although probiotics don’t directly treat acid reflux, their ability to balance good and harmful bacteria prevents an underlying issue that can cause acid reflux. If the gut lacks healthy bacteria, it takes longer to break down. Thus, the undigested food in the gut can start to ferment and cause gas which pushes stomach acid into the esophagus.
  • Ginger has alkaline and anti-inflammation properties that also ease the digestive tract
  • Apple cider vinegar provides relief when a small amount is put in warm water
  • Lemon water provides relief when a small amount is put in warm water with honey

Additional Dietary and Lifestyle Changes

There are other dietary and lifestyle changes you can make to treat GERD symptoms:

  • Stop smoking and chewing tobacco
  • Lose weight if overweight
  • Don’t overeat
  • Do not chew gum or suck on hard candy because swallowing air causes acid production

Make an Appointment With a GERD Expert

Make an appointment with a Cooper specialist if you have GERD and are still experiencing acid reflux more than twice a week after making dietary changes,

To make an appointment with one of our experts in treating gastroesophageal reflux disease, please call 800.8.COOPER (800.826.6737).