Acid Reflux Disease And Your Diet
Acid reflux affects millions of people and it can have a negative affect on the quality of your life. Eating can become painful, and the uncomfortable symptoms can keep you up at night and disturb the quality of your sleep.
If left untreated, acid reflux can even cause esophageal cancer. Read on to learn more about acid reflux and how your diet can affect your symptoms.
What Is Acid Reflux Disease?
Acid reflux disease is when the contents of your stomach rise into your esophagus causing pain and burning. The acid in your stomach can irritate your esophagus and eventually cause cell changes that lead to cancer.
Normally, you have a ring of muscle that keeps your lower esophagus closed off from the harmful stomach acid. When this ring of muscle, known as the lower esophageal sphincter or LES, opens more than it should or doesn’t close all the way, the acid can rise and cause pain.
What Are The Causes Of Acid Reflux?
There are lots of different reasons why you get acid reflux. When you eat a huge meal or go to bed right after eating, the pressure of all that food in your stomach causes your LES to open. The undigested food goes straight up to your esophagus.
You may also experience acid reflux if you are overweight. Being overweight places pressure on your LES can can cause problems. Even bending over after a big meal can exert enough pressure on your LES to make it open up. Many people with hiatal hernias experience acid reflux.
Certain drinks are know to cause acid reflux like alcohol, coffee, tea and soda. If you smoke you may also develop symptoms. Eating certain foods like spicy, fatty, or citrus fruits can cause acid reflux.
People who are on blood pressure medication, or take ibuprofen and aspirin frequently can develop the disease. If you are pregnant your risk of getting the disease goes up as well.
What Are The Symptoms Of Acid Reflux?
You will know when you have acid reflux because the pain in your chest can be severe. Acid reflux has sent many people to the ER who thought they were having a heart attack. Your chest will burn or feel painful. The sensation often moves to your throat. You may taste or feel the acid coming up to the back of your mouth and some of this fluid may actually spill into your mouth.
You might feel or look bloated and you may burp a lot. Many people feel nausea and some people lose weight. Your throat may always feel sore and you might develop a cough and hoarseness. As the disease advances, your esophagus may narrow and you may have trouble swallowing. You may also have the uncomfortable feeling of having food stuck in your throat.
Does Dieting Cause Acid Reflux Disease?
Your diet can definitely cause acid reflux disease if you eat a large amount of trigger foods like a high protein diet that involves cheese and milk or a diet that has you eating large amounts of certain fruits and vegetables.
Here are some potential diet foods that can cause problems.Tomatoes can be a real problem if you have acid reflux.
While they are low in calories and full of beneficial nutrients, they also have compounds that can irritate your LES and cause it to open. Even tomato paste can cause problems.Many people try to lose weight by eating grapefruit and oranges.
While these foods can help you lose weight, they are also huge triggers and can cause acid reflux disease. Meats such as bacon and fatty pork can also contribute to acid reflux, so it is a good idea to cut them out of your diet.
Are There Foods That Can Reduce Your Symptoms?
Certain foods have been shown to reduce acid reflux symptoms in people who suffer from it. Yogurt and other foods that contain probiotics can be soothing and help keep the LES relaxed and in place. High fiber foods have also been shown to reduce symptoms, but researchers don’t know why fiber works.
How Can You Treat Acid Reflux At Home?
Write down everything you eat and how you feel after you eat it. Do this for a week and then eliminate any trigger foods that are causing you discomfort. You can also treat symptoms with antacids and over the counter acid blockers.
Acid reflux has no cure, but there are plenty of things you can do to reduce it yourself, including carefully watching what you eat if you are on a diet. If your symptoms don’t improve with home treatment, make an appointment with your doctor.