Acid reflux is a common issue. When it is aggravated, it can lead to severe discomfort, resulting in GERD. Here, stomach acid or bile irritates the inner lining of the food pipe. Concerning acid reflux treatment, acid reflux diet modifications, changing food timings, reducing alcohol and caffeine intake while cutting down on smoking and caffeine, and, of course, not over-indulging in chocolates are key strategies in healing the condition.
One should consider an acid reflux diet to start one’s journey to a healthier lifestyle. Some dieticians approve of it wholeheartedly. However, one should also remember that the acid reflux diet focuses on reducing or eliminating the symptoms of acid reflux like heartburn, burping, bloating, or sore throat. Therefore, this is not a diet committing to weight loss. Still, one might lose some kilos as a blessing because it highlights the importance of wholesome foods with many necessary nutrients.
As per research, following a strict diet plan is the best way to cure acid reflux. As per USDA dietary guidelines, a long-term healthy dietary pattern should consider the food items’ variety, quantity, and nutrient density. Make sure you limit your calories and decrease your sodium intake. Always switch to healthier beverages and food items. All of these guidelines fit perfectly with the acid reflux diet. The intake of soda and coffee should be less. Also, we will discuss the aid reflux diet vs other diets.
Acid Reflux Diet: An Overview
The Acid Reflux Diet is a diet that aids in treating gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a chronic acid reflux disorder. The diet also aids in the treatment of associated symptoms such as burning sensation, bloating, and burping. The oesophagal sphincter, a muscular tube that allows food to travel into the stomach and then cinches shut to prevent it from returning, normally shields the oesophagus from stomach acid.
If the sphincter relaxes, food can push upward through the loosened entrance, resulting in acid reflux. Foods that trigger heartburn relax the oesophagal sphincter and delay digestion, allowing food to remain in the stomach for longer. The Acid Reflux diet eliminates foods like these to make it suitable for persons with GERD and acid reflux.
Acid Reflux Diet: What Does it Look Like?
It comprises vegetables in various colours like green, red, and orange alongside beans and peas. Say yes to:
- Fruits – whole
- Grains – whole grains.
- Low-fat dairy products – milk, yoghurt, cheese, soy beverages
- Proteins: Seafood, lean meat, legumes, poultry, nuts, seeds.
Say no to saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars and sodium. The acid reflux diet aligns well with the recommendations, but some differences exist. The diet does not require anyone to follow any calorie-specific guidelines. Instead, calorie requirements must be as per age, height, weight, activity level or other factors. E.g., a person who does not exercise at all will have a lower calorie requirement than someone who lifts weights daily or hits the gym regularly.
Bring colourful, healthy green salads to work as a dinner compliment, a stand-alone snack to integrate more alkaline foods into your diet, or have a small container of seeds at your desk to eat in tiny doses. In the summer, replace your fried, fatty dessert with a nutritious cup of frozen yoghurt and fruit. Include a pulse or legume dish in your meal, such as traditional daal or modern sprout salad.
Replace fried foods like puri, Shakarpara, Gujia, and samosa with baked or air-fried alternatives. You can continue to consume pickles, but instead of the conventional oily pickles, go for fresh or fermented pickles with a vinegar base. Also, avoid foods that have a lot of spices added to them. When making your dishes, use fewer spices and avoid street food items likely made from refined ingredients and/or with a lot of spice!
Acid Reflux Diet vs Other Diets
One can always compare the acid reflux diet to other diets to decide which one suits the best. So let us look at a few diets which can be out on a scale of comparison with the acid reflux diet.
There are two types of Mediterranean diets. The green one is healthier than the traditional one. As per studies, people who ate more plant-based proteins with lesser meat and poultry products had better cardiovascular and metabolic-based health outcomes.
One research included 294 people with moderate obesity and a BMI of 31. They were part of three dietary groups. The first group followed basic guidelines for a healthy diet and increased physical activity. The second group followed yet another calorie-restricted traditional diet. (Mediterranean). (Also, the menu comprises simple carbohydrates, a vegetable-rich diet, and minimal poultry and fish items.) Red meat was strictly prohibited. The third group received the exact instructions as the other two groups but added 3-4 cups of green tea + walnuts (28 grams). They also included a high protein form of the aquatic plant duckweed in their daily diet. (Frozen cubes (100gms) of cultivated Mankai strain). This duckweed was their plant-based substitute for animal protein.
As a result of lesser meat intake and increased plant-based protein-rich foods, patients experienced an improved cardio-metabolic state.
Both diets are sustainable because they follow the simple rule of switching to healthier eating habits that will soon help them become a fitter person. In addition, both diets are such that they satisfy individual cravings while keeping you satiated. The acid reflux diet can be disheartening as you eliminate many food items from your diet. Still, you will start enjoying it as soon as you find a group of foods that perfectly work for you.
You will never feel dissatisfied with the Mediterranean diet as you will munch on tons of delicious foods. For example, a sauteed chicken with tomatoes, zucchini, and mushrooms served with spring-baked pasta and asparagus.
The Mediterranean diet is more sustainable because it pays attention to your lifestyle apart from eating. For example, how much physical activity do you include in your entire routine?
The Mediterranean diet can cost some extra bucks, especially if one chooses organic food. In addition, olive oil and fish are expensive inclusions in one’s diet. Smart shopping techniques are the key to keeping costs low. The acid reflux diet is more inclined towards freshness of products and lean protein, but you should know how, when and where to shop. Moreover, the Mediterranean diet has been found to aid weight loss, even with high-calorie foods like olive oil and nuts.
DASH here stands for Dietary Approaches for Stopping Hypertension. This diet is followed by those who want to maintain their heart health by reducing or maintaining their blood pressure. The DASH diet plan may come close to a Mediterranean diet. Still, in this particular diet, the ultimate goal is to reduce the sodium intake to only about 1500 grams per day. A balanced diet alongside is also crucial.
When one follows the footsteps of a DASH diet, one must keep in mind the reduction of saturated trans fat intake and sodium content. Moreover, your intake of nutrients and minerals increases when the food is flavoured with herbs, spices, and the least amount of salt. As per research, the DASH diet grabs the third spot in the U.S News and World Report “Best Diet’s List”.
In the case of the DASH diet, we need to make small changes over time. For example, you can add a single serving of veggies to the plate and replace the bag of potato chips with mixed nuts. In the case of an acid reflux diet, making changes is so sudden that it does not usually last for more than a few weeks. Thus, the pressure to sustain it is more. The acid reflux symptoms might subside, but certain food groups might trigger it again. Making a list of foods that cause discomfort is a smart way to avoid a recurrence of acid reflux, which will also help you cleverly design an Anti-GERD menu plan.
This diet is relatively low cost. It comprises inexpensive whole grains and fresh fruits and veggies. However, if you opt for multiple varieties of fish in the DASH diet, you might spend more money than usual. Like the acid reflux diet, it pinpoints plants produce more than animal protein. The cost is more in the case of organic produce. As per a 2016 study, the DASH diet has been a good weight loss advocate. When calories get controlled, a diet as great as DASH gives an excellent outcome.
The word flexitarian comprises two words, i.e. vegetarian and flexible. People who follow this diet primarily consume plants with a sprinkle of fish, poultry and meat. It becomes difficult for people to follow this diet as it’s completely vegetarian. But the health benefits are more in number with added benefits of meat protein. As per studies, Flexitarian Diet aids in weight loss, enhances metabolic health, and prevents diabetes.
This diet is a favourite among many people as it is sustainable for extended periods while allowing people to indulge in various cravings. So, one can eat plant-based diets for the entire week and then eat a burger while out with friends. It helps people suffering from disordered eating, and hence this diet makes it instrumental in assisting people in feeling less guilty about eating out once in a while.
In the case of the acid-reflux diet, none of the foods is restricted as long as they do not trigger your symptoms. You can do well with both diets when followed with the right frame of mind.
Even this diet does not burn a hole in your pocket. Fresh produce and grains are comparatively cheaper than meat. Therefore, one could spend less money if one sticks to consuming less meat. However, the flexitarian and acid reflux diets keep expensive exotic food items off their list.
This diet was designed to make people more aware of the advantages of vegetarianism, which brings with it a reduced risk of heart attacks and diabetes. So naturally, one’s blood pressure is also kept in check, along with a slimmer body when it comes to this diet.
If we talk about the MIND diet, it comes in between the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet. It aids in cognitive decline and degrades the development of Alzheimer’s. One will observe that the diet involves various food groups for the brain. It consists of green veggies, fatty fish, nuts and olive oil. It is a sustainable and likeable diet. Furthermore, it comprises plenty of antioxidants that do not let oxidative stress stand a chance.
The Mediterranean Diet is usually thought of as a diet with higher fat content due to the high olive oil and nuts consumption as part of the diet plan. But the keto diet comprises around 75% fat while restricting carbohydrates like whole grains, legumes, and fruits. So naturally, this starts to affect the nutritional needs of a normal person.
The best thing about keto diets is that it is well-equipped to deal with issues like epilepsy. But people with Type 1 diabetes or those who are pregnant – should think twice before starting a keto diet. As per studies, it could sometimes lead to adverse health issues or cause vascular disease.
It is quite a task to stick to the keto diet in the long run as it is pretty restrictive, unlike the easy-going Mediterranean diet.
If we discuss a ketogenic diet, it has always contributed to weight loss. According to research, people on a keto diet lost four extra pounds compared to those on a low-fat diet.
One should be conscious about what they eat but never overthink their meals. One can regularly enhance the level of plant-based proteins and polyphenols in your diet. It is whole grains like wheat and rye plus seasonings, fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds, which positively impact one’s cardiovascular and metabolic health. One can also prefer non-toxic blue-green algae, nutritional yeast, spirulina, beans and lentils in one’s diet. It is crucial to maintain the building blocks of all the cells and aid in muscle maintenance – while acting as a source of energy.
One can imagine what their meal is supposed to look like in the case of such diets consisting of hummus, pita, and falafel plus roasted veggies with quinoa. People are the best judges of themselves as to which diet will suit them and which diet they should go for. The Acid Reflux diet may work for one, while the Mediterranean diet may work wonders for another. Be safe and healthy while figuring out whatever works for you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is there a special diet for people with acid reflux?
A. There is no special diet, but certain diets can reduce discomfort. Besides, using healthier preparation methods like poaching, boiling, and grilling instead of deep frying can help get relief from acid reflux.
Q. Is acid reflux caused by a poor diet?
A. Acid reflux can happen due to various reasons like intra-abdominal pressure, overeating, obesity, heavy lifting or chronic cough. It also occurs when you lie down instantly after heavy meals.
Q. Can a change in your diet stop acid reflux?
A. For people suffering from mild symptoms, simple dietary and lifestyle changes will bring about relief from acid reflux. But there is not much research that proves the same. However, you must follow a diet plan based on a healthy variety of foods. It must contain fruits and vegetables, lean protein sources, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats to try and avoid acid reflux.
Q. Is the Mediterranean diet good for acid reflux?
A. Mediterranean diet is good for acid reflux because it eliminates the requirement for acid reflux medications. In addition, the benefits the diet provides are the same. Adults who follow a Mediterranean diet are also less affected by gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) than those who follow a more Western-type diet.
Q. Does bread help acid reflux?
A. Whole grain bread is a good source of fibre and helps absorb stomach acid. Thus, stopping the symptoms of acid reflux. A 2018 study also proves that the fibre content present in whole-grain bread has an inverse relationship to acid reflux symptoms
Q. What is a good breakfast for acid reflux?
A. Try whole grains of fibre as it will keep you feeling full, like oatmeal, which can help avoid acid reflux. Also, hard or soft-boiled eggs and a cup of ginger tea for breakfast can be good for acid reflux.
Q. Why did I suddenly develop acid reflux?
A. A few reasons could be because you have eaten a very large meal or had a very spicy one. Also, lying down immediately after a meal can aggravate acid reflux.
Q. Why am I getting acid reflux every day?
A. It could be due to regular stress, anxiety, poor lifestyle choices, or an unhealthy diet. Being overweight and obese also contribute to daily acid reflux. However, suppose you are someone who regularly snacks close to bedtime and eats certain foods, such as citrus, tomato, chocolate, mint, garlic, onions, or spicy or fatty foods daily. You will experience acid reflux more regularly.
Q. Why did I get GERD all of a sudden?
A. It could suddenly occur due to chronic heavy lifting, coughing, weight issues and other lifestyle-related problems. You can also suddenly get acid reflux after having a heavy meal and then lying on your back or bending over at the waist.
Q. Is Intermittent Fasting good if you have GERD?
A. Intermittent fasting can help reduce GERD symptoms as it indirectly leads to weight loss. Being overweight and obese is one of the key reasons that cause GERD in people, and treating them by fasting may result in reduced acid reflux.