It can be easy to make changes to your diet to treat GERD. There are two main categories to consider: How you eat and what you eat.
What You Eat
Certain foods may “trigger” your GERD symptoms or make them worse. You may want to try keeping a food diary. Keep track of what you eat, when you eat, and your symptoms for 1-2 weeks. This may help you make connections between certain foods and GERD symptoms.
Common triggers include:
High-fat foods and fried foods
—These foods cause your stomach to empty more slowly, so there is more time for stomach acid to flow into the esophagus.
Spicy foods, peppers
—The chemical that gives peppers their heat (capsicum) increases stomach acid production.
—Chocolate has a chemical that can cause the muscle between your esophagus and stomach to relax, allowing stomach acid into your esophagus.
Citrus fruits and juices
—These acidic fruits are common triggers for GERD.
(and tomato-based foods, like pasta sauce and chili)
—Alcohol stimulates stomach acid production, which can make GERD symptoms worse.
(with or without caffeine)
Once you know what foods trigger your GERD symptoms, it is best to avoid eating them. Instead, eat foods that do not lead to symptoms. Here is a sample menu that shows how you can eat a variety of foods without aggravating your GERD.
Apple Juice (1/2 cup [118 milliliters (ml)])
Whole-grain cereal (3/4 cup [177 ml])
Whole-wheat toast (2 slices)
Soft margarine (1 teaspoon [5 grams (g)])
Jelly or jam (2 tablespoons [29 g])
Skim milk (1 cup
Vegetable soup (1 cup
Lean beef patty (3 ounces [86 g])
Reduced-calorie mayonnaise (1 tablespoon [14 g])
Mustard (1 tablespoon [14 g])
Fresh fruit salad (no citrus) (1/2 cup [114 g])
Graham crackers (4)
Skim milk (1 cup
Green salad (4 ounces [114 g])
Vinegar and oil dressing (1 tablespoon [15 ml] )
Broiled skinless chicken breast (3 ounces [85 g])
Herbed brown rice (1/2 cup [114 g])
Steamed broccoli (1/2 cup [114 g])
Soft margarine (1 teaspoon [5 g])
Low-fat frozen yogurt (1/2 cup [114 g])
|Tip: Skipping the coffee at breakfast can decrease stomach acid. You may want to try tea instead.
||Tip: Skip the tomatoes and onions on your burger to decrease stomach acid.
||Tip: Stick to low-fat dairy products.
||Tip: Choose low-fat meats, like skinless chicken breasts.