Ease GERD by Avoiding Key Foods
Do you suffer from heartburn? This nasty ailment is a symptom of GERD (Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease) and according to Senior Life Health, more than 60 million Americans suffer from it. Heartburn can be a mildly unpleasant burning sensation in the chest, but in more serious cases it can easily be confused with angina. Many choose to treat it with over-the-counter remedies, but preventing GERD in the first place is relatively easy.
GERD is caused when stomach acids are allowed up through the lower esophageal sphincter to irritate or burn the esophagus. Sufferers all have different triggers, and it is a matter of noting down what you ate and drank so that you can find the common denominator causing your symptoms. Here are a number of foods to consider:
A common cause of indigestion and GERD is large servings of high-fat foods such as fried chicken, chips, fried shrimp or wings. A slight change of menu choice could quickly sort out your heartburn, and any weight issues too! If you enjoy home cooking, consider preparing foods differently. Grilling, baking and broiling are healthier than frying. Cutting the fat off meat and the skin off chicken can also dramatically reduce the intake of fat.
Many people blame their heartburn on spicy meals, but even garlic and onions can cause GERD. If you find that hot, spicy foods are the cause, try lowering the quantity of the spices. It does not have to burn to taste good!
Acidic foods such as citrus fruit and tomatoes can be a cause of heartburn, especially if eaten alone or on an empty stomach. If you are sensitive to acid, even vinegar in salad dressings can be a trigger. Try eliminating these foods for a time and see if your GERD improves.
Some people chew gum after a meal to aid digestion. Although peppermint is known to help with digestion, it also relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, thereby actually causing the problem rather than eliminating it.
Drinks that Cause GERD
Coffee and caffeinated drinks can cause heartburn in some sufferers, and even decaffeinated drinks and alcohol can be a trigger. Alcohol and caffeine increase acid in the stomach and can also cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax. Soda may cause bloating. Try drinking bottled water or herbal teas for a day or two and see if your symptoms improve.
Chocolate, alas, can also be a trigger of GERD, but if you cannot handle a chocolate-free day, try just eating a small portion. Also, consider what you ate before the chocolate. Is chocolate just the final straw after a fatty or overindulgent meal?
If none of these foods appear to be the trigger, maybe you are eating in a rush and are always on the go, which can be a cause of heartburn. Overeating can have the same results. It may not be what you are eating, but the quantity, so try eating smaller portions and enjoy your meal in a relaxed state to aid digestion. GERD should then be something that happens to other people, not to you.