Acid reflux – what to eat and what to avoid

Acid reflux or heartburn occurs because of excess stomach acid that sometimes leaks back up the esophagus, instead of staying where it should in the stomach organ, and causes an uncomfortable sensation in the upper chest area. There are several ways to manage stomach acid and prevent heartburn.

How to manage heartburn with a better diet

1. Eat less acidic foods or foods that increase stomach acid, or cut them out entirely.

Tomatoes, citrus, coffee, alcohol, and fried foods are all known to contribute to and increase stomach acid. If you’re experiencing long term heartburn, avoids foods that increase stomach acid or aggravate your heartburn.

Each of our bodies will react to different foods in different ways. I would suggest keeping a food diary to make note of what you ate before you feel heartburn to help you determine which foods are consistently causing the sensation. You may find that tomatoes do not cause heartburn but french fries do. This will help you get a more accurate sense of which foods to eliminate to avoid heartburn.

2. Sit or stand up straight

Many of us have terrible posture that is affecting our bodies and health in negative ways. Heartburn can also be caused by a posture that is putting pressure on your abdomen. Are you slumping when you sit or stand? You may be squeezing your stomach and worsening your heartburn. Try to remember to sit and stand up straight. Bad posture becomes a comfortable habit over time, so set reminders on your phone over the course of the day or stick a post it note where you can see it to help you re set this habit and sit or stand up straight.

3. Eat more probiotic foods

Probiotic foods have benefit bacteria that can help keep your stomach acid in check. Eat yogurt, other fermented foods, or drink kefir, or kombucha daily to keep your gut in good health.

I would like to note that many of the popular yogurts available in supermarkets today do not have probiotics. These yogurts use corn starch, gelatin, and other thickeners to thicken milk and call it yogurt. Check the ingredients label for latin words that end – us like Lactobacillus bulgaricus or Streptococcus thermophilus or the words “contains active cultures” to find a yogurt with probiotic bacteria.

4. Eat less processed and more wholesome food

Eat fiber rich greens, fresh fruits, whole grains, and quality meats. Eat less or no processed foods. Many people can avoid heartburn by just eating healthier. A good well rounded diet will go miles farther to help you maintain normal levels of stomach acid and good gut health than eating fried and unprocessed foods and then attempting to treat heartburn after the fact.