Foods To Avoid With Acid Reflux: The Aggravating Effect Of Food On Acid Reflux

Foods To Avoid With Acid RefluxThe human digestive system depends a great deal on the action of acids that breakdown food into easy to absorb components, thereby allowing greater benefit from nutrition. The stomach contains the acids that are needed for this process. It is separated from the gullet or the esophagus by a small ring like muscle called the esophageal sphincter. As we eat or ingest food it passes through from the gullet or the esophagus, through the sphincter to settle in our stomach.

While the stomach has a lining made up of mucous to prevent the acid from affecting its tissues, the esophagus does not. Acid reflux is a condition when the sphincter allows the acid to pass into the gullet by not tightening when it is supposed to. This rush of stomach acids into the esophagus causes intense discomfort caused by bloating, burning sensation in the lower chest area, headache, nausea,sore throat, belching , snoring and in some cases even throat inflammation causing difficulty in swallowing.

Almost 92% of the cases reported of acid reflux are triggered by food. Understanding how certain foods have the capacity to trigger such a reaction and what food to avoid with acid reflux will help in controlling the occurrence of this condition. Normally whenever food is eaten there is a release of hydrochloric acids in the stomach. To neutralize the acids the pancreas secrete a certain amount of bicarbonates. However, in cases of acid reflux there is a dysfunction of this secretion either metabolically or due to certain foods that release acids in such high quantity that the pancreatic secretion can not nullify its acidic content.

Identifying the Triggers:

Those suffering from recurring and acute cases of acid reflux must note the foods that cause the reaction . Clinical studies and data collected point towards basically three salient food categories that cause reflux-high fat foods, over-processed , and high acidic content foods. This obviously means that a large cache of food to avoid with acid reflux must be on the radar of those trying to control this medical condition without succumbing to over-medication.

  • High fat foods have the tendency to loosen and relax the lower esophageal sphincter thereby allowing the stomach acids to escape into the gullet. Fried foods, particularly those that are sugary like chocolates, cakes, doughnuts, potato chips and creamy salad dressing , have complex sugars and fats that need far more amounts of acids to break them down.
  • Caffeinated drinks which of course include coffee, tea, carbonated drinks and even hot chocolate. It is known to irritate the esophageal wall.
  • Fermented drinks-This includes alcohol, beer and wine, which is known to worsen the case of acid reflux by affecting the lining of the esophagus and the stomach thereby allowing even ulceration.
  • Fruits with a high citrus content like oranges, lemons, grapefruit, pineapple,tomatoes and cranberry are to be avoided completely.Tomatoes taken in the form of a sauce or ketchup is also known to cause the symptom.
  • While milk may not cause any ill-effect , dairy products like sour cream , ice-cream and thickened or condensed milk forms may.
  • Among vegetables onions , garlic and mint are themost avoidable. Those with a tendency for acid reflux must avoid mint in their foods even as a flavouring. Beans , broccoli, cabbage , cauliflower , kale and Brussels sprouts are also known to aggravate the condition.
  • Red meats that are high in fats particularly fried variations should be substituted with lean meats.
  • Processed cereals like macaroni and spaghetti are also known to cause the symptom particularly teamed with dairy based fats like cheese.

While obesity, presence of low digestive enzymes due to pre-existing or forming peptic ulcers, pregnancy, eating large portions of food very late or at irregular timings , fasting and even stress are all linked to causing acid reflux, the role of the food in aggravating the condition can not be ignored. The careful identification of types of food to avoid with acid reflux and the conscious effort of elimination of these food triggers from our diet, along with medical attention and careful monitoring will help deal with the condition much better.