What to eat and avoid if you have GORD

In April 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested that all forms of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) ranitidine (Zantac) be removed from the U.S. market. They made this recommendation because unacceptable levels of NDMA, a probable carcinogen (or cancer-causing chemical), were present in some ranitidine products. People taking prescription ranitidine should talk with their doctor about safe alternative options before stopping the drug. People taking OTC ranitidine should stop taking the drug and talk with their healthcare provider about alternative options. Instead of taking unused ranitidine products to a drug take-back site, a person should dispose of them according to the product’s instructions or by following the FDA’s guidance.

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease is a condition in which the stomach contents regularly move back up the food pipe.

This regurgitation is usually long-term, and can result in uncomfortable symptoms, including heartburn and pain in the upper abdomen. The severity of the condition often relates to diet and lifestyle.

Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) affects about 20 percent of the American population.

Avoiding trigger foods and following other dietary tips may relieve the symptoms of GERD. In this article, we discuss the foods that people with GERD may wish to exclude from their diet and those that they might benefit from consuming.

Foods to avoid

Certain foods can trigger GORD symptoms.

GORD is a digestive disorder, so diet can often affect the symptoms of the condition. Making dietary and lifestyle changes can go a long way toward treating many instances of GORD.

An article published in the Gastroenterology Research and Practice Journal found a connection between reflux Oesophagitis, which is inflammation that is usually due to GORD, and a high intake of specific foods.

Foods that might make GERD or reflux esophagitis symptoms worse include:

  • meat, as it tends to be high in cholesterol and fatty acids
  • oils and high-fat foods, which may cause the sphincter in the stomach to relax
  • high quantities of salt
  • calcium-rich foods, such as milk and cheese, which are sources of saturated fats

Milk

study published in Gut and Liver examined the relationship between cow’s milk allergy (CMA) and GERD symptoms in children.

The researchers found that children with CMA often experienced symptoms of GORD after consuming cow’s milk. Ongoing research is looking into whether this also applies to adults.

People who regularly experience discomfort or bloating after eating dairy products containing cow’s milk may find that eliminating them from the diet reduces these symptoms.

Cholesterol

study published in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics explored the relationship between cholesterol and GORD.

The results indicated that people who consumed more cholesterol and saturated fatty acids and a higher percentage of calories from fat were more likely to experience GORD symptoms.

Other food flare-ups

There are additional foods that typically cause GERD flare-ups, which doctors often recommend people with this condition to avoid. These include:

  • chocolate
  • mint
  • carbonated beverages
  • acidic drinks, such as orange juice and coffee
  • caffeine
  • acidic foods, including tomato sauce

There is little clinical evidence linking these foods to GORD symptoms, but the anecdotal experiences of some people with the condition suggest that these foods may worsen symptoms.

However, trigger foods can vary from person to person. People with GORD should try eliminating each food type from their diet to see if their symptoms improve. If they do not, they can incorporate the food back into their diet.

Foods to eat

Some foods might actively improve GORD symptoms.

Until recently, researchers did not fully understand GORD, and there was a lack of scientific evidence to suggest that changing the diet could improve symptoms.

However, a 2013 study of more than 500 people found that some foods do appear to reduce the frequency of GORD symptoms.

These include:

  • protein from low-cholesterol sources, such as salmon, trout, almonds, lean poultry, beans, and lentils
  • certain carbohydrates that occur in fruits, vegetables, potatoes, and some whole grains
  • vitamin C-rich foods like fruits and vegetables
  • fruits high in fiber, magnesium, and potassium, especially berries, apples, pears, avocados, melons, peaches, and bananas
  • eggs, in spite of their cholesterol content
  • green vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, kale, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts

Research also suggests that foods high in fiber, particularly soluble fiber, can help reduce the symptoms of GERD.

The trigger-food diet

The trigger-food diet involves eliminating common trigger foods, such as coffee and chocolate, to alleviate symptoms. These methods have little clinical backing and results vary between individuals.

In a set of guidelines on diagnosing and managing GORD, the American College of Gastroenterology state that they do not recommend eliminating trigger foods because the dietary connection is not straightforward.

Instead, they believe that the primary aim of treatment should be to heal the digestive system.

This article is from Medical News Today - GERD diet: Foods to eat and avoid (medicalnewstoday.com)

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