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Acid reflux management

Filed Under: food, Mission Possible

tray of seafoodAcid reflux is a nasty health condition which many people suffer from. I personally don't have the affliction but I have friends who do. Acid reflux is the upward passage of digestive acids past the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) and back into the esophagus. The resulting symptoms can range from fairly mild burning to moderately severe pain. Over time, acid reflux will even damage the interior of the esophagus.

I have discovered a recurring theme when I talk to my friends about their acid reflux troubles. It seems that most of them have found significant relief with simple changes in diet and eating habits. I happened upon an article which reminded me about what my friends have said helps their acid reflux discomfort. The article by Joe Barton reaffirms that you can probably relieve some of those symptoms yourself.

First, there are some simple changes you can make before you actually change your food choices at all. Make sure that you're hungry before you eat, don't eat just because it's time to. Take reasonable portions, be relaxed about eating your food and always chew a bit more than you think you need to. It's also a good idea to drink some water along with your meals.

Consider the possibility of changing your eating style away from always having full meals at set times. Many people find that they function better overall by eating intermittently throughout the day. That doesn't mean that you have to give up sitting at the table at supper time, it just means that on most days your dinner plate will be a little lighter because you have satisfied your body throughout the day. This change will decrease the volume of food which your tired body must digest before you go to bed each night. Night time is often when acid reflux symptoms can become their worst.

There are definitely foods which you should probably avoid altogether if you suffer from acid reflux. For the purposes of this blog post I am sticking to generalities because actual specific diet changes should be discussed in detail with your doctor.

The three dietary constants which seem to be nearly universal in the causation of acid reflux complaints are dairy fat, heavy oils and acidic foods, most especially when you bring the three together. The acid in the mix actually seems to be the opportunist of the trio more than a factor of cause. It would seem that milk fat tends to rise in the digestive mix and while it fills the digestive tract, the heavier fats and greases tend to rise to the top. This combination then puts pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter and back up into the esophagus where the acid does its dirty work.

Here is a suggested list of some foods for acid reflux sufferers to potentially avoid while they work with their doctor to completely correct the problem.

  • Foods high in dairy fat such as sour cream, ice cream, cottage cheese and whole milk.
  • Drinks high in acid content such as most fruit juices, tomato juice and coffee.
  • Avoid all alcoholic beverages, especially wine.
  • Tomatoes, potatoes, lemons and onions.
  • Deep fried foods
  • Well marbled beef.
  • Most processed sausages.
Remember that adequate intake of water can greatly aid in digestion regardless of what types of food you are eating. Water is more important to overall health than some people give it credit for. Your body is 70 percent water and you lose some of that water every second of every day. Be sure to put enough of that water back in.

Take a tour of the health and medical section at our sister blog Slashfood. There you will find many more helpful ideas about making informed, delicious and healthful food choices! Take time to visit our friends at That's Fit, they have additional suggestions to ease your acid reflux discomforts.

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