Acid reflux occurs when part of the esophagus relaxes at the wrong time, pushing stomach acid up through the esophagus, where it is not necessary.
In other words, this common disorder occurs when stomach acid moves from the correct place.
A major part of the esophagus that is affected is the lower sphincter muscle, located at the lower end of the esophagus. Acid reflux, also known as a gastroesophageal disease (GERD), is common across the globe.
GERD is when acid reflux happens frequently or constantly. GERD affects nearly 20 million people worldwide, as one example. Acid reflux can be a damper on anyone’s life, as it often results in many unpleasant symptoms that can become a deterrent to a healthy daily routine.
When you get acid reflux, other downstream issues can occur because of it. These often include heartburn, nausea, bad breath, and more. (1)
Many foods can affect and even exacerbate acid reflux, so it is important to be aware of those too. Foods high in unhealthy saturated fats, processed foods, added sugars, or highly refined carbohydrates can irritate those with acid reflux or trigger it.
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Foods that Help with Acid Reflux
But other healthy foods can help you manage or relieve symptoms of acid reflux. Check out the food list below to see what might be helpful to start adding to your diet today.
1. Dark Leafy Greens
Many dark leafy greens can help with managing and even preventing acid reflux because they are highly alkaline foods. Alkaline foods are excellent for the digestive tract and stomach in general. (2)
Since they are also naturally low in sugar and fat, they help to make sure acid in the body stays in the right place, without allowing unnecessary buildup.
There are many leafy greens to choose from, too. Dark leafy greens that can help manage or prevent acid reflux include spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, dandelion greens, arugula, cilantro, parsley, watercress, beet greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, Swiss chard, curly endive, collard greens, and more.
It is normal to think of merely spinach, kale, and broccoli when thinking of green vegetables, but there is never a shortage of green vegetables to try. Try to switch up the type you eat every week to get the most health benefits.
Apples are a highly alkaline fruit as well. They are also high in alkalizing minerals like magnesium, potassium, and calcium, which can help to relieve acid reflux further. (3)
This popular fruit is also an excellent source of dietary fiber. Acid reflux is often the cause of many underlying issues that food alone will not solve. But that does not mean you cannot enjoy some of your favorite healthy foods with better ease on your journey to better health.
Other less acidic fruits are also ideal to add to your daily routine, especially if you experience acid reflux regularly. Read on to find out what other fruits may be helpful to relieve acid reflux as well. Try to add more apples to your diet to help reduce any symptoms of acid reflux, and see if you see a difference.
You can add apple slices to oatmeal, mix it into a fresh and sweet salad with your choice of greens, or even mix it into your favorite smoothie for a sweet touch of flavor.
Bananas are another great fruit choice if you tend to experience acid reflux or GERD. Bananas have the ability to gently coat the esophageal lining, helping to soothe any irritation that can And often does result from acid reflux. (4)
The popular fruit is even high in fiber, which can help to strengthen the digestive system as well. Indigestion is a typical symptom of acid reflux, so eating foods that help to soothe it is always a good idea.
Bananas also have soluble fiber, which can further help digestion run smoothly. They contain a soluble fiber called pectin, which can help push food through the digestive tract with more ease, too.
If too much food builds up in the gastrointestinal tract, especially problematic foods, more acid will produce. That will eventually leave room for more movement of acid through the esophagus, causing acid reflux. Try to slice up some bananas in your next meal, or keep them on hand for a snack to relieve symptoms of acid reflux.
4. Fatty Fish
Many different fatty fish are full of heart-healthy digestive-friendly omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for everyone to consume, whether you suffer from acid reflux or not.
Eating enough omega 3 fatty acids ensures you are lowering any chronic inflammation in the body that can arise from stress, environmental concerns, and even a sedentary lifestyle. The protein in fatty fish help assists digestion, making it a great choice to better avoid acid reflux.
While fatty fish may help to reduce acid reflux in rats, there is little concrete evidence that it can fully prevent acid reflux in humans. (5) Also, fatty fish from foods can help, but fish oil supplements are not a part of that group. Fish oil supplements can be helpful in reducing the risk of heart disease and inflammation, but there is no proof that they can relieve symptoms of acid reflux.
When you pick fatty fish, be sure to pick the healthiest kinds, which include sardines, mackerel, cod, anchovies, salmon, and herring. These have the lowest amount of mercury and the highest amount of omega 3 fatty acids available.
Fiber and clean protein are a great idea to help ward off and relieve symptoms of acid reflux. Oatmeal is full of clean protein and tons of fiber.
This popular breakfast staple is also an excellent source of gluten-free whole grains. Some who experience acid reflux may also have a sensitivity to gluten, so it can be helpful to add more gluten-free and/or grain-free options to your diet as well.
Gluten is a highly inflammatory grain, so there is more of a chance it can irritate the gut lining, leading to intestinal permeability or leaky gut.
The great thing about oatmeal is you can enjoy it hot, cold, with toppings, or without. Plus, you can switch up the toppings often to make life more interesting. Enjoy oatmeal as an overnight treatment with your favorite low-acid fruits and other toppings such as chia seeds and cacao nibs.
You will get a healthy dose of fiber, gluten-free whole grains, protein, and help to avoid and symptoms that arise should acid reflux flare up for you.
The melon family of fruits can be another great choice for those who suffer from acid reflux frequently. Melons are not only high in potassium and other alkalizing minerals, but they can also be an excellent cold and soothing fruit for the throat and esophagus.
Melons like cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew, and muskmelon are great fruits to add to your daily routine in general. But if you suffer from acid reflux, these melons may be your new go-to fruit.
That is because melons are another type of alkaline fruit, rich in magnesium, with a low PH level of only 6.1. That PH level shows that melons are only slightly acidic, so they are a great choice for those with acid reflux or GERD.
The best melons to choose to prevent or lessen symptoms of acid reflux or GERD are cantaloupe and honeydew because they are the least acidic and highest in magnesium.
Magnesium is a necessary mineral that takes place in over 300 enzyme reactions in the body. It can help to relax muscles in the digestive tract, blood vessels, and much more. It is even present in much acid reflux medication. There’s no better way to get your magnesium fill than to eat it.
7. Probiotic Foods
Probiotic foods can be great to prevent or relieve symptoms of acid reflux, because they directly promote healthy bacteria in the gut, and help to promote better digestion as well. (6)
The gut microbiome is full of tens of trillions of bacteria, and healthy bacterial flora from probiotics and probiotics is necessary to maintain balance.
There are tons of probiotic foods you can add to your diet, too. From yogurt and kefir to pickles, sauerkraut, and miso, there are many to choose from. However, be cautious with certain yogurts, as dairy can be irritating to some with acid reflux. But there are many dairy-free yogurt alternatives high in probiotics as well.
Probiotic foods can also help you lose weight, improve digestion overall, boost immunity, and even enhance skin health. Balancing the gut bacteria is essential for overall health.
Acid reflux can be a complex disorder with many different underlying causes. There are many foods that can help improve and even prevent symptoms, but be sure to speak to a healthcare professional to get to the root cause of your acid reflux.
Choose foods that are low in acid, high in alkalizing minerals, fiber, and try to understand what works best for you.
While some of these may work well for someone with acid reflux, another person can have a different experience. Understanding what foods work well for you will help you stay healthier for the long haul.