Managing Acid Reflux With Food

Acid reflux or GERD, one of the most common health problems in Singapore, happens when the acid in the stomach goes back up the esophagus of food pipe, causing a burning or tightening feeling in the chest (called heartburn).

As acid reflux is largely caused by the food we eat, those who experience it should pay close attention to their diet to resolve the condition and avoid further episodes in the future.

Foods That Trigger Acid Reflux
The following food items should be avoided by people who frequently have acid reflux:

• Deep-fried food. The fat contained in these foods causes the lower esophageal sphincter to narrow, leading the stomach acids to back up.
• High-fat meats. Meats like pork, beef and lamb stay longer in the stomach, increasing the chance of acid reflux.
• Caffeine. One cup per day should be no problem, but those who drink coffee throughout the day will very likely increase the acidity in their stomach.
• Tomatoes and citrus fruits. Tomatoes, as well as oranges, lemons, and even pineapple naturally contain high levels of acids.
• Carbonated drinks. The bubbles in soda cause the stomach to expand, which puts pressure on the stomach, thus prompting acid reflux.
Other common trigger food are high-fat dairy products, mint, onions, garlic, alcohol, and chocolate.

Foods That Can Help Acid Reflux
Adding more of the following foods may help you avoid experiencing acid reflux or heartburn:

• Lean meats. Low-fat meats include fish, chicken, turkey and seafood. Don’t fry; instead, bake, poach, broil or grill them.
• Vegetables. With naturally low fat-content, vegetables help decrease acidity in the stomach. The best kinds are cauliflower, asparagus, potatoes, cucumbers and green beans.
• Whole-grain food. Oatmeal contain lots of fiber that absorb the acids in the stomach; whole grain rice and breads are also good options.
• Ginger. The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger helps prevent the onset of heartburn as well as other gastric problems.
• Fruits. Any non-acidic fruit is a great addition to your diet, but the best are probably apples, bananas, melons and pears.
• Unsaturated fats. These can be found in foods like walnuts, sunflower oil, olive oil, sesame oil, avocadoes, and flaxseed.

Making Important Lifestyle Changes
Aside from heartburn, other symptoms of acid reflux are bloating, regurgitation, burping and a dry cough. If you’re frequently bother by acid reflux, remember the last foods you ate and minimize or avoid them in the future. You can also reduce episodes of acid reflux by avoiding the following:

• Overeating,
• Lying down immediately after a meal,
• Eating close to bedtime, and
• Smoking.

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