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Acid Reflux (GERD) Foods

Updated on May 4, 2011

What Is Acid Reflux and What Causes It?

It is caused by strong acids secreted by the stomach, the lining of which is naturally protected by a specific protein layer. It occurs when these acids regurgitate, reflux or flow back to come in contact with the delicate lining of the esophagus ( the tube-like structure that connects the mouth to the stomach ) and irritates it.

Acid reflux sufferers may describe one or more of the following symptoms:
* a burning chest pain that begins at the breastbone and moves up toward the throat
* a feeling that food is coming back into the mouth
* an acid or bitter taste at the back of the throat
* an increase in severity of pain when lying down or bending over
In other words, what we know as heartburn that is characterized by one or more of these symptoms.

It is caused by malfunction of the Lower Eosophageal Sphincter (LES). It normally opens like a door that allows food into the stomach but not back up the same way, which is tightly closed and once relaxed, it allows acid to come in contact with the esophagus causing heartburn. Relaxation of LES may be caused by lifestyle, dietary factors and medications.

In this hub, we will discuss the relation between food and heartburn or acid reflux.

Lower Eosophageal Sphincter (LES)

Can Diet Cause Acid Reflux?

Unless 1- The muscle of LES is weak like in GERD disease or Hiatal Hernia,
2- The position of the stomach is altered like in pregnancy, overweight, wearing tight clothes, and practising certain types of exercise
3- You smoke or take some medications that affect the LES like heart and asthma medications that lower pressure of LES or Antibiotics
Foods and beverages are mostly the primary cause of the disease, and in all cases it will aggravate the case.

How Can Food Affect Acid Reflux?

Although the response to different foods varies with individuals, nevertheless, there are some observations that proved to have an effect on the disease, these include:

* Eating large portion causes the stomach to secrete larger amounts of acid at the same time
* Fatty meal stays longer in the stomach,i.e. The acid stays longer in the stomach
* Some foods like peppermint, spearmint, and chocolate relax the LES which opens to allow acid to go back into the esophagus ( I personally feel it strongly with peppermint)
* Eating before going to bed allows acid which is secreted after meals not to be counteracted by gravity, as the body is laid horizontal for about 8 hours
* Drinking beverages like coffee, cola and alcoholics increases the strength of the acidity
of the stomach, so when it touches the esophagus it is more irritating
* Citrus juices, spicy foods and tomatoes directly irritates the esophagus

Can We Reduce Acid Reflux by Making Food Choices?

Not all individuals are created equal, the good portion size of one individual may be bad for another, and it is meant that you find the right mix of food and beverages. You are asked to scrutinize your portion size for all foods, so that you know your suitable personal portion size of any food or drink, even more you can avoid that food when needed.

Foods with High potential to Aggravate Acid Reflux (Reconsider eating)

- Sour cream
- Milk shake
- Ice cream
- Cottage cheese,regular

- Ground beef, chuck
- Marbled sirloin
- Chicken, nugget-style
- Chicken, buffalo wings

- Chocolate
- Corn chips
- Potato chips, regular
- Butter cookie, high-fat
- Brownie
- Doughnut
- Salad dressing, creamy
- Salad dressing, oil & vinegar

- Liquor
- Wine
- Coffee
- Tea

Sour Cream

Marbled Sirloin



Foods with Medium Potential to Cause Acid Reflux (Eat with Discretion)

* Dairy
- Yogurt
- Milk, 2 percent
- Milk, skim
- Frozen yogurt
- Cottage cheese,low-fat
- Cheddar cheese
- Mozzarella cheese

* Meat & Beans
- Ground beef, lean
- Chicken salad
- Scrambled eggs, in butter
- Eggs, fried
- Fish, fried
- Tuna salad
- Hot dog, beef or pork
- Ham
- Nuts or peanut butter
- Baked beans

* Fats, Oils & Sweets

- Cookie, low-fat
- Ketchup

* Beverages

- Non-alcoholic wine
- Beer
- Non-alcoholic beer
- Cola
- Root beer

Cottage Cheese, low fat

Scrambled Eggs



Foods with Low Potential to Cause Acid Reflux (GO)

* Dairy
- Cream cheese,fat-free
- Feta cheese
- Goat cheese
- Sour cream, fat-free
- Soy cheese, low-fat

* Meat & Beans
- Ground beef, extra-lean
- Steak, London Broil
- Chicken breast, without skin
- Egg whites/egg substitute
- Fish, fresh, prepared without added fat

* Fats, Oils Sweets
- Potato chips, baked
- Cookie, fat-free
- Jelly beans
- Red licorice
- Salad dressing, low-fat

* Beverages
- Mineral water

Cream Cheese, Fat Free

Steak, London Broil

Baked Potato Chips

Mineral Water


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      hello sam

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I like to talk to you over the phone I don't know much English 7138995313

    • dinkan53 profile image


      7 years ago from India

      well presented hub filled with useful information and surely will be a helpful stuff for millions of people suffering from acid reflux. Rating it ^^ and bookmarking for further reference.

    • profile image

      heartburn home remedies 

      8 years ago

      Good info. Acid reflux can be a terrible issue that can really disrupt your life. I'm a chiropractor and I see a lot of patients that suffer with GERD. Pillow wedges can help a ton. Several of my patients have had great success with them.

    • elqalatawy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Egypt

      Dear Shari,

      There is a continuous progress in diagnostic tools nowadays

      and I am afraid that you may miss something recent if we just researched the known tools, your specialist doctor is the best one who gives you an advice.


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have a question. What test would show for LP if flap is working correctly and the acid doesn't go back up to the larynx? Is that a modified barrium test? Endoscopy? Thanks!!

    • profile image


      8 years ago


    • elqalatawy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Egypt

      This is what your Doctor will tel you, wish you good luck and wellness!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks! Okay I wlll seek a Gastro Dr once I finish up my tests with my ENT. Do you if LPR is curable?

    • elqalatawy profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Egypt

      Hi shari, Thanks for stopping by.

      I think it is a good idea that you see a Gastro Dr, because the origin of the problem is there in the gut.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I was just diagnosed with LPR which is acid reflux in my larynx. The dr I went to is an ENT. He did all sorts of tests, esophogram. scope etc.. He put me on Aciphex 2x daily with an additional valium. Is this a condition I will always have. Will I ever be able to get off the medication. Also do you think I should also seek a Gastro Dr since teh acid is from my stomach?


    • profile image

      acid reflux treatments 

      8 years ago

      Ill follow this. The Do and Dont's. Thanks for sharing.

    • elqalatawy profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Egypt

      If you can't stop them completely, at least avoid them when feeling the symptoms of GERD.

      Good luck.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Some helpful tips here, thanks for that. I have a question though: the high trigger foods, are they bad for you even in small doses? In other words, do I have to avoid them completely?

    • elqalatawy profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Egypt

      Hey Julia,

      Thank you for stopping!

      I wish you the best of health and luck.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hey Waheed

      This is really good information. I suffer from GERD. I know my main triggers are coffee (and I drink far too much of it) and tomato is really bad too. I also suffer from IBS which is apparently quite common for GERD sufferers... guess that makes sense because too much stomach acid results in too much acid in the intestine causing issues there aswell.

      It got diagnosed about 4 years ago after I burned my oesophagus while eating lasagne, it was too hot and blistered my oesophagus. Several days later when I still couldn't eat without being in pain my doctor sent me for a gastroscopy where they found evidence of GERD, thankfully no Hiatus Hernia or the bacteria caused by stomach ulcers.

      Still, it's not a pleasant thing to live with. I now take 20mg of Nexium on a daily basis to keep it under control.


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