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Special and Modified Diets Series: GERD


Do you suffer from GERD? Even if you aren’t familiar with that term, you may experience the symptoms consistent with the condition. GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) is a health condition that occurs when the digestive fluids and acids in the stomach rise up into the esophagus and leads to heartburn and/or indigestion, as well as other (sometimes painful) symptoms. Many of these symptoms can be tamed with dietary changes. If you or someone you love is living with GERD, consider making these adjustments.

GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) is a health condition that occurs when the digestive fluids and acids in the stomach rise up into the esophagus and leads to heartburn and/or indigestion. It can strike anyone at any time, but in young people under the age of 12 and among some adults, the heartburn may be replaced by other symptoms, such as difficulty swallowing and a persistent, painful cough.

Many of the symptoms of GERD can be tamed with dietary changes. If you or someone you love is living with GERD, consider making the following adjustments:

Lose weight. Obesity is a major risk factor for GERD, so check your Body Mass Index (BMI) and consult with your doctor to determine if, and how much, weight you may want to lose. You may also want to consult with a dietician to help you make healthy food choices and ensure that you’re eating a proper amount of calories and nutrients on a regular basis.

Reduce or eliminate citrus fruits. The natural acids contained in oranges, grapefruits, and other citrus fruits and their juices have been known to aggravate the symptoms of GERD, and are best avoided.

Avoid fatty foods. Anything with a high-fat content—marbled meats, heavy creams, baked goods made with a large quantity of butter—can intensify symptoms of acid reflux.

Drink caffeine-free beverages. Caffeine is another GERD trigger, so choose decaffeinated coffee and caffeine-free sodas instead.

Hold the spice. Seasonings that add heat or intensity to a dish, such as red pepper, curry, and garlic powders, are known to lead to heartburn. Bland foods are more friendly to sensitive esophageal systems.

Avoid tomato-based products. Pasta sauces, pizza, and gazpacho soups are just a few examples of tomato-rich foods that people with GERD may want to take a pass on. Like citrus fruits, tomatoes have a high acid content that can worsen symptoms.

Believe me – this advice works! I suffered from GERD for quite some time. But by watching my diet, I was able to manage my symptoms and now am GERD-free. Really, what have you got to lose by giving it a try?


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Copyright © 2008 Alternative Health Journal (AHJ). All Rights Reserved.

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