GERD (Heartburn) Prevention: 5 Dietary Things To Avoid

Today I would like to share a few facts with you about a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD for short. GERD occurs when the contents of your stomach pass through your lower esophageal sphincter and back into your esophagus. This causes a painful burning sensation that feels like it’s situated behind your breastbone as it moves up to your throat. For this reason, GERD is more commonly known as acid reflux or heartburn.

In the video below, Dustin Moore discusses 5 dietary things to avoid to prevent heartburn.

If you don’t like the video or want more information, continue reading.

Most people only experience GERD occasionally. However, as many as 15 million Americans suffer from it on a daily basis. While there are several factors that play into the development of GERD, there is currently no known cure.   

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That said, much of the illness can be managed through lifestyle and dietary practices. Why go for drastic treatment methods if all that is required is to limit certain foods in your diet? 

With this in mind, below are 5 dietary choices that may be contributing to your GERD related symptoms:

Too much alcohol can cause GERD.

Alcoholic beverages

Whether it be a fine wine, beer, or small shots of liquor, alcohol consumption will lower stomach muscle pressure and increase the frequency of GERD symptoms.

Too much coffee can cause GERD.

Caffeinated beverages

Much like alcohol, caffeine makes it easier for stomach contents to move up into your esophagus. The most common culprits are coffee and sodas, although energy drinks can be problematic as well.

RELATED: How To Successfully Drink Healthy Beverages

Limit fatty foods like french fries.

Fatty foods

While fats are an integral part of your diet, excessive fat may aggravate GERD symptoms. Deep fried items should be limited. This includes foods like french fries, fried chicken, or anything that is full of butter or cream.

Hot sauce can exasperate GERD related symptoms.

Spicy foods

Naturally hot items can add a nice kick of flavor to food. But, your stomach will hate you for them! Therefore, I highly recommend you limit these foods since they will only make worsen your symptoms.

Mint and peppermint

Much like alcohol, the chemicals behind these flavors weaken the muscles in your stomach. Again, this can lead to an increase in GERD related symptoms.

In addition to these dietary modifications, remember to consume appropriate amounts of food and avoid overeating. You may also find relief from symptoms by staying on your feet two hours after a meal and sleeping with your upper body in a partially elevated position.

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If you consistently suffer from GERD symptoms, proper management and limitation of these foods may help you increase your quality of life and find relief. For more information and counseling, speak to your registered dietitian about what will work best for you.

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Dustin Moore, MS, RD
My name is Dustin Moore and I'm a registered dietitian, lecturer and program director for a dietetic internship. I received my bachelor's degree in dietetics from Brigham Young University (BYU) and completed my master's degree and dietetic internship at California State University (CSU) Long Beach. In addition to teaching undergraduate courses at CSU Long Beach, I've also worked as an outpatient dietitian specializing in gastric disorders. Education of individuals - whether it's patients, students, dietetic interns, or the general population - gives me direction and drive. Whatever is related to the wellness and longevity in the life of individuals is something I'm interested in teaching and discussing. My role as a dietitian centers on the question of "What is the purpose of having good health?" And I believe the answer to that is to maximize the freedom there is to life! In resolving health issues and struggles, people are granted great freedom which allows them to pursue life to it's fullest. Of course, I love cooking! I also love spending time with family and loved ones, writing, and teaching. But, when I'm not playing the role of the food snob, I also enjoy sports, weight training, archery and generally working with my hands on projects around the house.