Acid Reflux Diet: Myths and Natural Food Solutions
Many people complain of stomach ache, mostly in the evening or after meals. They are most likely suffering from an episode of acid reflux, also known as heartburn. Over-the-counter antacids, like Tums, may offer quick relief from pain. But for most people, a proper diet is the best solution.
Acid Reflux: Some Diet Myths You May Have Heard
Myth Number 1: Drink Milk
You may have tried drinking milk to ease acid reflux before sleep. Often, however, milk actually ends up causing more reflux during sleep. To understand the whole situation, we have to realize that nighttime acid reflux begins with eating too much at dinner. Eating a big meal at dinner causes excess stomach acid production. Milk may be a quick fix for the symptoms, but it has a rebound effect and eventually encourages more stomach acid secretion, which causes acid to reflux. To solve the problem, try adjusting your diet by eating a small meal at dinner and having a small snack such as crackers before sleep, or try some of the other natural food solutions below.
Myth Number 2: Avoid Coffee, Citrus Fruits, and Spicy Food
We have been told for years that coffee, acidic fruit, and spicy foods can aggravate acid reflux. Therefore, folks with acid reflux were told to avoid these foods. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in May 2006 showed that none of these myths hold true. Researchers from Stanford University found that only two behavioral changes can reduce symptoms of acid reflux: eating less and elevating your head while sleeping.
5 Natural Foods That Curb Acid Reflux
1. Complex Carbs (Best Choice: Oatmeal)
High-fat meals or deep-fried foods remain in the stomach longer, thus causing the need for more stomach acid in order to digest them. Complex carbohydrates, like oatmeal, can soothe your stomach and provide necessary fiber and nutrients.
2. Low-Fat Protein (Best Choice: Tofu; Second Choice: Lentils)
Meat, often higher in fat and taking longer to digest, is a culprit of acid reflux. Replace it with low-fat, high-protein foods to manage the symptoms. I recommend lentils and non-GMO tofu for their high-quality plant-based protein!
I've written about ginger many times. The Chinese use it to heal GI ailments. Some people find ginger too "spicy" to eat directly; in this case, I recommend drinking ginger tea after dinner. For cooking ideas, try grating some ginger on soup, or slice a few pieces when making stir-fry. If you can at least chew the ginger piece and suck out the juice, it will surely help ease acid reflux.
Banana simply is a great snack for folks with acid reflux. Its carb content can soothe the stomach, and it can be eaten on its own without much preparation.
Like ginger, this herb has been used to treat digestive conditions for thousands of years. It works to neutralize acids in the stomach and hence prevent heartburn. Try using fresh parsley if possible.
Don't overeat: Big meals stress your stomach with a larger workload, and hence require more acid to digest. Eat small, frequent meals if possible.
Avoid alcohol: Don't think that drinks just quickly flow through your stomach without affecting acid production. Surprisingly, a lot of beverages stimulate acid secretion, including beer, wine, and soda. The worst of all is beer: It can double your stomach acid within an hour!
Take a walk: Try taking a walk after a major meal. Maintain an upright position during and at least 45 minutes after eating.
- Pop an extra pillow: Try elevating the head of your bed six to eight inches when lying down.