Overcome Your Acid Reflux With a Simple and Effective Silent Reflux Diet
Do you have that constant urge to clear your throat? Do you have difficulty swallowing or a feeling of a lump in your throat? Do you suffer from a persistent cough of unknown origins? These symptoms may seem common and unsuspicious, but they could be indications of a silent condition related to acid reflux.
More than half of silent reflux sufferers do not suffer from heartburn, nevertheless, even without that burning sensation in the chest, silent reflux can still be a real threat to your health. The good thing is, you can overcome your acid reflux with a simple and effective silent reflux diet.
Here is a diet guide in overcoming acid reflux:
1. Sweet Tooth Troubles: Reasons to Curb Your Sugar Intake
Sugar alone is unlikely to cause acid reflux, especially when taken in moderation. Although, most trigger foods contain sugar. The thing with the excess consumption of sugary foods is that it increases your risk of being overweight or obese, which then increases your risk of suffering from silent reflux.
Excess fat in the belly area create pressure on your stomach, which may weaken the lower esophageal sphincter and at the same time the pressure can cause gastric contents to flow back up.
Limiting sugar intake can help you maintain a healthy weight. When cutting down sugar intake, avoid too many sweets and watch out for added sugar in ingredient labels.
Added sugar comes in different names, such as:
- Corn syrup
- Hydrolyzed starch
- Invert sugar
Read nutrition labels carefully and anything that has 22.5 grams of sugar per 100 grams is high in sugar. Moreover, fulfill your daily calorie need with less than 10 percent of sugar in it. In place of table sugar, you can use honey as a sweetener, or you can use artificial sweeteners.
Aside from curbing sugar intake, getting rid of the toxin build-up in your digestive tract can help you lose weight. There are many ways to perform a colon cleansing, but some people prefer taking laxatives, which can eventually interfere with the bowel’s normal functions. Opt for a safer colon cleansing method.
Talk to your doctor first, just to make sure colon cleansing is a safe option for you. You can try a product like Intensive Colon Cleanse by Digestive Science. It is a mixture of nutrients, dietary fiber and probiotics that help cleanse the colon safely.
2. Protect Your Stomach: Why You Should Drop Your Acid Intake
Pepsinogen is a proenzyme released by the cells in the stomach wall. Upon exposure to stomach acid, it becomes active and turns into pepsin, which is an enzyme used by your stomach to break down protein into amino acids your body can absorb. It deactivates and turns into pepsinogen again when exposed to bicarbonate released by the pancreas.
Pepsin can cause damage to the stomach lining, but this transformation and mucus help protect the stomach lining from its damaging effect.
Eating highly acidic foods can lead to silent reflux symptoms in two ways:
- They Can Activate Pepsin in Your Throat. Since your throat does not have protective mucus or a mechanism to deactivate pepsin, the enzyme can irritate your throat’s lining.
- They May Trigger The Excess Production of Acid in Your Stomach. This increases the chance of silent
Laryngopharyngeal reflux foods to avoid are:
- Tangy Citrus Fruits: Oranges and grapefruits are prime examples of tangy citrus fruits that are notorious acid reflux triggers. Citrus fruits are highly acidic and are highly likely to cause acid reflux especially when taken on an empty stomach. It is time to replace your orange juice with a banana smoothie in the morning.
- Carbonated Drinks: Soda and other carbonated beverages cause stomach distention when in the stomach due to carbonation. The distention can create pressure in the stomach and may cause its contents to reflux up into the esophagus and throat.
Experts say that if you drank a pint of water, your stomach would expand by a pint, and if you drank a pint of soda, your stomach would expand by a quart. In addition, these drinks are highly acidic themselves and can contribute to the acidity of your stomach.
If you are having a hard time determining carbonated drinks, anything that fizzles when you open the bottle is carbonated.
- Chocolate: Your favorite comfort food could bring a triple whammy to your silent reflux symptoms. Most chocolates are high in fat due to their dairy content. Chocolate contains caffeine and another substance called methylxanthine, which can relax the smooth muscles of the esophageal sphincter.
- Fatty Foods: Fried foods, ice cream, pastries, mayonnaise and butter are some examples of food high in fat. These foods take longer to process in the stomach and may increase pressure and acid production. Even healthy sources of fats, such as nuts and seeds could trigger acid reflux. Avoid foods that contain unhealthy fats and eat foods with healthy fats in moderation.
- High Fat Dairy Products: As mentioned, foods high in fat are reflux trigger and dairy products, such as cheese and butter are no exemptions. You can still use these high-fat dairy products as a flavoring but not as the main ingredient to your dish. Use rich and creamy sauces and salad dressings minimally.
Limiting intake of these foods may help reduce the occurrence of acid reflux.
3. Shift To Alkaline Foods
Are you wondering why you need to avoid acidic foods and eat more alkaline foods? First, you need to understand that eating foods with the right pH balance is necessary for an acid reflux diet.
On the pH scale, pH 0 is completely acidic, and pH14 is completely alkaline. Water with a pH of seven is neutral while lemon juice with pH of 2.7 is highly acidic. Hydrochloric acid naturally released by your stomach lining has a pH ranging from 1.5 to 3.0.
The common misconception about an alkaline diet is that people think it is increasing your body’s alkalinity, which is not possible. Its main purpose is to neutralize the effect of added acid you ingest from your diet.
While limiting your intake of acidic or acid-forming foods, increasing consumption of alkaline foods can also help reduce the chance of an acid reflux. Alkaline foods contain alkaline substances that neutralize acid in the body and thereby reducing your chance of suffering from acid reflux.
Examples of alkaline foods include:
- Green Beans
- Almond Milk
Health experts say that a diet with increased alkaline intake will not only improve acid reflux, but may lessen your risk of many other illnesses, as well.
To know which acidic foods you should avoid and which alkaline foods you should eat, you can use this food chart as a reference. Creating silent reflux diet recipes is a lot easier when you know which foods to include and foods to eliminate.
4. Limit That Java Jolt: Cut Back on the Caffeine
As much as you love a cup of the coffee morning, noon, afternoon and evening, you may need to cut back on your coffee intake if you suffer from silent reflux.
Coffee, tea or any drink with caffeine as a main component may trigger silent reflux because caffeine has a relaxing effect on the esophageal sphincters; however, there is no clear-cut link between caffeinated drinks and silent reflux. Experts say caffeine’s effect on the esophageal sphincters may vary from person to person depending on the sensitivity of a person to the substance.
Try cutting back on coffee and tea and observe if silent reflux symptoms lessen. To make it easier to remember on which beverages you should eliminate, a silent reflux diet by Dr. Oz says eliminate the 4Cs, which are caffeine, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits and cocktails.
5. Trigger Beverages: Reasons to Slow Down on the Alcohol
A glass of red wine is a good way to end a stressful day. Beer, cocktail and any alcoholic drinks including wine are notorious acid reflux triggers because they relax the smooth muscles of the lower esophageal sphincter.
A glass of wine may not be enough to trigger an acid reflux on its own. However, if you had pasta with tomato sauce or a thick creamy sauce beforehand or a glass fresh orange juice in the morning on an empty stomach then you are at high risk for acid reflux after gulping a glass of wine.
Limiting consumption of trigger foods during the day and dinner may entitle you for a relaxing glass of red wine.
6. No More Breath Freshening Peppermint
Peppermint is a popular remedy for upset stomach, and it can make stinky breath go away in a jiffy, but if you are prone to acid reflux, consuming peppermint may not be a good idea, as it relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter.
The next time you want to get rid of garlic breath, think before reaching out for the peppermint gum in your pocket.
7. Watch What You Eat Before Bedtime
According to laryngologist, Jamie Koufman, MD, who had been studying and dealing with silent reflux for about 30 years, one of the biggest risk factors is what people eat for dinner. If you can’t help yourself over a few helpings, here are some foods you should avoid:
- Carbonated drinks
- Foods high in fat
If you can’t resist having a midnight snack, choose foods that are low in acid and low in fat, such as oatmeal cookies and bananas. A glass of low-fat milk or chamomile tea may help fill you up.
Your diet plays a huge role in overcoming silent reflux. Creating a silent reflux diet plan should involve your doctor to ensure your body gets the all the necessary nutrients it needs.
More Tips In Overcoming Silent Reflux
Apart from shifting to an anti-acid reflux diet together with conventional medications, there are other lifestyle modifications that can help to reduce acid reflux. These include:
- Losing Weight if You Are Overweight or Obese. Even the skinniest people can suffer from acid reflux, but the more excess weight you have, the higher your risk for acid reflux is.
- Quitting Smoking. Smoking contributes to acid reflux in many ways. It relaxes the esophageal sphincter; it reduces production of saliva, which can help neutralize acids and it damages the esophageal lining making it more prone to damage from acid reflux.
- Avoid Eating Large or Heavy Meals. Instead, eat smaller meal portions many times a day.
- Do Not Eat Three to Four Hours Before Going to Bed. Lying down after eating can cause reflux, so put gravity on your side by sitting up for a time.
- Toss The Tight-Fitting Clothes, Especially on the Waist Area. Tight clothing can put pressure on your stomach.
- Chew Sugar-Free and Not Mint-Flavored Gum. This can help increase saliva production and lessen the effect of acid in your throat.
Why Do They Call It Silent Reflux?
Silent reflux or laryngopharyngeal reflux is a medical condition wherein stomach contents particularly gastric acid flow back up to the larynx or voice box or throat. It can occur during night or day even on an empty stomach.
Silent reflux is similar to GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease that they refer to it as silent GERD. Most people with laryngopharyngeal reflux do not experience heartburn, which is the major symptom of GERD. This is the reason why too often, people with laryngopharyngeal reflux will only realize they suffer from the condition after a more serious condition occurs because they mistook its symptoms for other common illnesses.
Symptoms of silent reflux include:
- Chronic cough
- Feeling of a “lump” in the throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Postnasal drip
- Excessive mucus in the throat
- Sore threat
- Constant need to clear throat
Silent reflux can also affect infants and children. They tend to have different set of symptoms from adults, which may include:
- Noisy breathing
- Feeding difficulty
- Sleep-disordered breathing
- Apparent life-threatening event
- Stunted growth
Laryngopharyngeal reflux in infants and children can be life-threatening. Thus it requires prompt medical treatment.
Some people with silent reflux may experience heartburn, but more than half of them will not suffer from heartburn, and this is why they refer to it as a silent reflux.
During an acid reflux, gastric acid flows back up to the esophagus from the stomach, which irritates and damages the esophageal lining causing the painful burning sensation referred to as heartburn.
Comparatively, during a bout of silent reflux, the gastric acid won’t stay in the esophagus and instead it goes straight back up to the larynx, which explains the absence of heartburn.
What Causes Silent Reflux?
The esophagus is a tube that connects the throat and the stomach. At either end of the esophagus are a muscular sphincter, the upper esophageal sphincter, and the lower esophageal sphincter. The upper esophageal sphincter functions voluntarily and is responsible for allowing air and food to pass through in and out of the body. The lower esophageal sphincter functions involuntarily and is responsible for preventing contents of your stomach from flowing back up the esophagus.
With people who suffer from silent reflux, both sphincters do not function properly. As a result, stomach acids can easily reflux to the esophagus, and then to the pharynx or throat, larynx or voice box, and even at the back of their nasal airway. Acid reflux can cause damage to these parts of the digestive system because their tissue linings do not have strong protection against acid.
Infants are at higher risk for silent reflux because their esophageal sphincters are not fully developed yet, and they lie down most of the time. The cause of poorly functioning esophageal sphincters in adults is often unknown.
The Silent Reflux Diet: LPR Treatment
Silent reflux is not serious when given proper medical care. But, if left untreated, silent reflux could lead to serious and long-lasting complications. In infants and children, it may lead to:
- Narrowing of the throat due to scarring
- Contact ulcers
- Persistent ear infections
- Buildup of fluid in the middle ear
In adults, silent reflux may lead to:
- Scarring in the pharynx and larynx
- Increased risk of cancer in the affected areas
- May aggravate respiratory problems
If you suspect you or your child suffers from silent reflux, seek help from a medical professional.
Silent reflux treatment starts with getting an accurate diagnosis, to test for any LPR complications and to help determine, which treatment method is best for you. Your doctor may recommend that you undergo a pH-Metry test, barium swallow or both.
The pH-metry test is the insertion of a narrow, soft and flexible tube in your nose that reaches your throat. Attached to a small computer secured on your waist, this pH probe measures acidity in your throat and esophagus.
A barium swallow, on the other hand, is an X-ray test that requires you to swallow a barium chalk, which the X-ray machine can detect. This helps doctors determine narrowing of the throat and any abnormal changes in the throat.
After the diagnosis, your doctor will come up with an individualized treatment plan, which may include the following:
- Medications that reduce gastric acid
- Surgery to prevent acid reflux
- Lifestyle modifications
- Customized silent reflux diets
Lifestyle changes including a silent reflux diet are important in overcoming acid reflux, but it may not be enough to treat your condition.
Don’t let silent reflux take over your life quietly. Here are laryngopharyngeal reflux foods to avoid and food you should eat to overcome silent reflux.