What Foods Should I Eat and Avoid If I Have GERD?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is one of today’s most common digestive disorders. Impacting a whopping 20% of the population, GERD triggers uncomfortable symptoms including heartburn, acid reflux, chest pain, and nausea. This condition can sometimes lead to lasting complications like a chronic cough.  

Since it involves the digestive system, your diet can highly influence GERD. With a few adjustments to the foods you eat (and avoid), it may ease your symptoms without medications or procedures. 

Understanding GERD

First, let’s clarify the details of GERD. This condition develops when stomach acid regularly flows from the stomach back into the esophagus. In addition to acid reflux and heartburn, people with GERD may experience: 

  • Nausea
  • Belching
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Laryngitis
  • Trouble swallowing

Foods to Avoid with GERD

If you have GERD, avoiding the following foods can help keep your symptoms at bay:

  • Fatty or fried foods, relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), making it more likely that stomach acid will move into the esophagus
  • Tomatoes and peppers, which are members of the nightshade family, and known to exacerbate GERD in some people
  • Spices like chili, cayenne, mustard, pepper, and cinnamon
  • Coffee, which is naturally acidic and relaxes the LES
  • Peppermint, which, like fatty foods, is thought to relax the LES
  • Chocolate, which relaxes the LES

Foods to Eat with GERD

While avoiding the foods listed above, add the following foods to your diet to reap their natural benefits for GERD:

  • Most fruits and vegetables (except for nightshades) contain high amounts of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support GI health
  • Ginger and turmeric offer natural anti-inflammatory benefits that can alleviate irritation in the stomach and esophagus
  • Oatmeal, which is fiber-rich and gentle on the stomach, making it a great breakfast option for people with GERD
  • Fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, pickled vegetables, and apple cider vinegar, contain high amounts of natural probiotics for the gut microbiome
  • Okra, which can protect the mucous lining of the GI tract

At Body Flow Wellness, we’re here to support your digestive health with supplements and colon hydrotherapy. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!