Got G.E.R.D.? Here is what you can do about it.

Got G.E.R.D.? Here is what you can do about it.

June 15, 2022

Around 20% of US adults have been formally diagnosed with GERD, and some studies estimate the true number of those who suffer from the disease to be 30-40%. The way the American diet has changed can perhaps in part be to blame; there are many common foods that tend to cause many people issues. In some cases it may not be an immediate reaction, therefore making it a little more difficult to pinpoint the offending food. Some foods simply relax our LES, or lower esophageal sphincter. This is the muscle that is the doorway from our esophagus to our stomach. When this muscle becomes relaxed, it is much easier for stomach acid and contents to reflux back up into our throat. This list below includes some common foods that can relax our LES.

  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Peppermint and spearmint
  • Caffeinated beverages
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic
  • Onions

Besides foods that can cause our LES to relax, those with GERD also need to be careful with foods that take longer to digest and therefore sit in our stomach longer and become more likely to cause reflux issues. These foods include high fat meals such as fried food, full fat dairy, fatty cuts of meat, processed meats, desserts, nuts and nut butters, and anything with added or excess fats.

There are also many lifestyle changes that can be made to improve symptoms of GERD. These include wearing loose fitting clothing, waiting several hours to lay down after eating, sleeping with the head of your bed elevated, slowing down while eating and not rushing through the meal, eating several smaller meals throughout the day rather than 3 large meals, exercise, and if you are overweight working towards losing an appropriate amount of weight.

While the above foods and techniques hold true for many who suffer from GERD, these are still just generalizations. We recommend talking with your primary care provider if you have concerns about reflux and if you are wondering if maybe you have GERD. Here at Movement First Health & Wellness we specialize in disorders of the GI tract and if you would like personalized recommendations and to work with an expert in food and nutrition one on one, contact us today to find out more about how we can help.

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