Diet and GERD

GERD is the acronym for gastroesophageal reflux disease, also referred to as acid reflux and heartburn. GERD occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter does not properly close, which allows the contents from the stomach to back up into the esophagus. Contents in the stomach are very acidic and this is what causes the burning sensation in the esophagus, known as heartburn.


It is important to adjust your diet to help reduce the symptoms of heartburn to avoid more serious health problems, such as esophageal cancer, down the road. The purpose of this dietary intervention is to help reduce esophageal irritation by reducing the reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus. It may also be necessary to lose weight if you are overweight because excess weight may increase pressure on the stomach. This increased pressure on the stomach increases the chances that stomach contents will be pushed into the esophagus.


Foods that may help reduce reflux symptoms:

  • Melons

  • Bananas

  • Oatmeal

  • Bread

  • Rice

  • Green Veggies

  • Potatoes

  • Non-Citrus Fruits

  • Lean Meat

  • Egg Whites


Foods that should be avoided to help reduce reflux symptoms:

  • Caffeine (coffee, caffeinated tea, chocolate)

  • Citrus fruit and citrus fruit juice

  • Carbonated beverages

  • Alcohol

  • Mint and mint flavoring

  • Tomatoes and tomato products

  • Fried foods and greasy foods

  • Spicy foods

  • Garlic and onion


Special dietary directions:

  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

  • Eat small, frequent meals.

  • Choose lower fat foods.

  • Sit, or stand, in an upright position while eating and 45-60 minutes after eating.

  • Wait at least 3 hours after eating to go to bed.

  • Choose loose fitting clothing in the abdominal area.

  • Quit smoking.


Different foods may be triggers depending on the person. Work with a registered dietitian to find a dietary pattern that works best for you.



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