How to Create a GERD Diet Plan
Category: Healthy Living
Posted on March 30, 2021
Vanessa is a health writer and blogging expert. Her specialities are medicine, health and wellness. She is proud to call Vancouver, BC her home where she enjoys the ocean and mountains with her dog Mr. ChowChow.
One particular study estimated that 18 to 28% of the North American population suffer from GERD.
While it is common to experience gastroesophageal reflux every once in a while, it can be very uncomfortable and painful to experience severe and frequent gastroesophageal issues. Not only is this condition quite unpleasant, it can also lead to complications down the line.
Are you living with GERD and trying to manage the symptoms as best you can?
Creating a GERD diet plan can help you manage and live with GERD. Let's take a look at what you need to know about how to create a meal plan that works for you.
What Is GERD?
GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease. This condition happens when your stomach acid flows back into your esophagus frequently. Your esophagus is the tube that connects your stomach in your mouth.
The backlash of stomach acid into your esophagus is known as acid reflux and can be irritable to your esophageal lining.
It is common to occasionally experience acid reflux. When an individual has mild acid reflux at least twice a week or moderate to severe acid reflux at least once a week, this is considered GERD.
Luckily, GERD can often be managed with lifestyle changes and sometimes use of over-the-counter medicines.
What Are the Symptoms of GERD?
There are a number of common symptoms of GERD. Some of these include:
- Chest pain
- Heartburn after eating
- Difficulty swallowing
- The feeling of having a lump in your throat
- Regurgitating sour liquid or food
Some people might experience nighttime acid reflux. The symptoms of this include:
- Disrupted sleep
- Chronic cough
- New or increasingly worse asthma
If you are experiencing chest pain, it is important that you seek immediate medical care. This is particularly true if you are also experiencing jaw or arm pain or shortness of breath. These are potential signs of a heart attack and require immediate medical attention.
Your Nutrition and Calorie Goals
Before creating a GERD diet plan, you want to get a sense of what your nutrition and calorie goals are. For the general population, it is said that individuals should be 2000 calories a day. How many calories you should be eating each day depend on a number of factors they might vary from this general population estimate.
Some of the factors that will have an impact on how many calories you should eat every day include:
- Biological sex
- Activity level
- Body composition
- Medical condition
While managing GERD does not require that you intake a certain number of calories every day, having a sense of your color goals can help you to create a meal plan that works for you.
How to Treat GERD with Diet Changes: Avoiding Trigger Foods
One of the ways for people to effectively manage GERD is to determine what their trigger foods are. Different foods will trigger acid reflux in different individuals. This means you can take a bit of trial and error to understand which foods are triggering your GERD.
There are a number of foods that are considered possible trigger foods for GERD. They include:
- Foods high in fat: since fat slows down the speed at which your stomach empties, it can put pressure on the esophageal sphincter
- Tomatoes and citrus juices/fruits: these foods contain a high acid content which can worsen the symptoms of GERD for some people
- Onion, garlic, and spicy foods: while the giant an issue for everyone with GERD, they can be trigger foods for some people
- Chocolate and mint: Acid reflux can be triggered by these foods because they can loosen the lower esophageal sphincter
- Coffee: some people with GERD may find that a lower acidity coffee works better for them than a higher acidity coffee
- Alcohol: this can be a contributing factor to GERD for some individuals, though it will affect each person differently
- Carbonated beverages: drinking sodas and other carbonated drinks can place extra strain on your lower esophageal sphincter because they cause the stomach to blow to understand
You want to pay attention, also, to how different foods interact with one another. You might find that it is okay to drink coffee alone but not at the same time as chocolate, for example. It can be a good idea to keep a food journal to help you understand which foods are triggering your GERD and which for combination and giving you issues.
Which Foods Are Safe For GERD?
While you might feel limited by the list of trigger foods listed above, it's important to understand that each person will react differently. You might not have any issues eating spicy foods but your GERD might be consistently triggered by fried foods. You will have to experiment and pay close attention to determine which foods are giving you trouble.
That being said, there are certain foods that tend to be safe and less likely to trigger GERD. These foods include:
- Brown rice
- Fresh vegetables including broccoli, salad green, and radishes
- Lean meats
- Oatmeal, quinoa, cereal, pasta, and bread
- Turkey and chicken breast
- Egg whites
- Boiled or baked potatoes
- Apples, bananas, watermelon, and pineapple
- Graham crackers and saltines
Making fresh produce one of the main aspects of your diet, excluding tomatoes, garlic, and onions, can help you to minimize your acid reflux symptoms. Staying away from ascetic, spicy, and fatty foods until you understand your specific trigger foods can help you.
There are a lot of ways to add flavor to your meals without incorporating trigger foods. Herbs like cilantro, basil, thyme, rosemary, and oregano likely won't upset your stomach and add quite a bit of flavor.
GERD Diet Plan: Utilizing Meal Planning For Managing GERD
Meal planning and meal prepping can be a good idea for anyone. They can save money, time, and effort each week. For people that are living with GERD, it can be a particularly good idea to meal plan and meal prep so that you always have foods that will not trigger your acid reflux on hand.
Coming up with a meal plan every week before you go to the grocery store will ensure that you get everything that you need. It will also help you to stay on track in terms of eating a diet that does not upset your acid reflux.
Without a meal plan, it can be easy to grab something quick at the store on your way home or pick up takeout. It can also lead you to end up snacking on things that you know will cause you acid reflux. With a plan ahead of time, you can ensure that you are always eating foods that do not cause a flareup in your GERD symptoms.
Meal planning and prepping can also be incredibly helpful if you are trying to lose weight as a part of managing your GERD. This is because when you prepare your meals ahead of time it can help you to manage your portion sizes.
Having a plan ahead of time can also help you to have less stress around your eating and diet. While researchers are still trying to understand the connection between GERD and anxiety, it does seem that there is a link.
How to Live With GERD: Tips and Tricks
While that is a big part of managing GERD, there are a number of other tips that can help you to live with this condition.
For one thing, you'll want to avoid lying down after eating for 2 to 3 hours. This is because can make it easier for your stomach acid to splash back up toward your esophagus. When you are sitting or standing, your stomach contents are more likely to stay at the bottom of the stomach with the help of gravity.
You'll also want to avoid eating large meals. This is because the more food you have in your stomach, the more likely they are to flashback up towards the esophagus. Instead of eating two or three large meals, you might consider using 4 to 5 small meals throughout the day.
If you are a frequent drinker and smoker, you want to try to avoid drinking and smoking before, during, or after meals that you have found tend to result in acid reflux. The reason that you will want to avoid drinking and smoking at this time is that both of these are known to weaken the lower esophageal sphincter muscle.
Another thing you will want to try is to wait after eating at least two hours before exercising. If you do not find that your heartburn gets worse after exercising, then you might not need to do this. However, if you find that your heartburn tends to flareup after exercise, waiting a few hours between eating and exercising can help.
It can also be helpful to chew a non-mint flavored gum after you eat your meals. This can help to stimulate saliva production and increased peristalsis, both of which will help to move the contents of your stomach towards the small intestine.
If you are overweight, you will want your GERD meal plan to encourage weight loss in a healthy and slow way. When you have extra weight around your midsection, they can increase the pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter and make acid reflux worse.
After you eat a meal, consider making a small glass of water. This can help to wash down stomach acid that has found its way back up into the esophagus.
As far as liquids go, you'll want to drink acid reflux family beverages. These include water, noncitrus juices, decaffeinated tea, mineral water, or low-fat or nonfat milk.
When you're planning on your diet, consider creating a high-fiber diet for yourself. There has been a study recently that found individuals were 20% less likely to have GERD symptoms when they followed a high-fiber diet.
Getting exercise regularly is also a good way to help manage your acid reflux. It can help with your digestion and it can help you lose weight. Take a look at our six signs that it's time for you to change up your workout routine.
You also might want to try some stress-reducing practices like meditation and yoga.
It's always a good idea to ensure that you are getting enough, high-quality sleep. Sleep is one of the most important things when it comes to our overall well-being. For people who experience nighttime acid reflux, it can be difficult to get a good night sleep, but practicing healthy sleep habits can make a big difference.
It seems like a bit of a paradox that having that acid reflux can keep you from getting a good night sleep while at the same time poor sleep quality can increase the chances that you have gut problems.
There are a number of things you can do to practice good sleep habits. These include setting a consistent sleep schedule, getting exercise, creating regular bedtime rituals, limiting caffeine, eating a healthy diet, and keeping your bedroom dark and cool.
Some people find that probiotic foods can help to reduce their symptoms. Probiotic foods include foods such as kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, fermented pickles, kombucha, and kimchi.
Are You Looking For Affordable Online Prescriptions?
While some people might be able to manage their symptoms with a GERD diet plan and lifestyle changes, others might find that medication is necessary.
Are you looking for an affordable way to find popular prescription drugs online? Take a look at how you can order medication online for a fraction of the price.