Suffering from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), better known as reflux, can cause discomfort. A few changes in your lifestyle and food choices will make a big difference.
But first, what is reflux?
When you swallow, food goes from your throat, down your esophagus, through the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), and into your stomach. When the LES does not close properly, the stomach contents leak back into the esophagus. This backflow of acid from the stomach (known as reflux) causes an uncomfortable burning sensation, also called heartburn.
Occasional heartburn is common, but heartburn that occurs more than two times per week is GERD.
Alcohol use, medications that slow down the emptying of the stomach, being overweight or obese, pregnancy, and smoking are factors that can contribute to reflux.
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SYMPTOMS YOU MIGHT EXPERIENCE IF YOU HAVE GERD
- Burning sensation in the mouth
- Chest pain
- Difficulty and/or pain when swallowing
- Excessive clearing of the throat
- Regurgitation of stomach acid into the mouth
- Feeling that food is stuck in your throat
FOODS THAT MIGHT CAUSE REFLUX
Different foods might lead to reflux in different people. It is best to keep a food and symptom diary to identify the foods that cause discomfort to you. Keep an eye open for the foods listed below as it is most often associated with reflux.
FOODS ASSOCIATED WITH REFLUX EVENTS:
Caffeinated beverages or foods:
- Fried foods
- Peppermint and spearmint oils
- Raw garlic
- Spicy foods
- Spaghetti sauce
LIFESTYLE CHANGES TO HELP IMPROVE YOUR REFLUX
A healthy lifestyle and balanced meals will be your best option.
Try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, drink lots of water, cut down on fat and processed food and enjoy whole-grains and lean protein. If you struggle to drink enough water, read here. I also have a post on 11 Ways to life healthier you might want to read
These lifestyle changes may help to manage GERD:
- Raise the head of your bed by 15-20 cm by placing blocks of wood under the bedposts
- Limit fat in your diet
- Avoid drinking alcohol
- Stop smoking
- Maintain a healthy body weight—lose weight if necessary
- Eat smaller meals more often instead of eating big meals
- Chew slowly
- Avoid tight clothing
- Do not lie down for at least 3 hours after a meal
- Do not drink liquids with meals rather drink it in between meals
- Avoid lying down, bending over, or straining after eating
- Chew gum after meals to help neutralize stomach acid
- Reduce sources of inflammation such as smoking, foods high in saturated or trans fats, refined and high-sugar carbohydrates, and corn and soybean oils
- Eat a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods, such as omega-3 fats from fish, walnuts, or flaxseeds, leafy green vegetables, and berries
I have a Youtube video for you on how to prepare balanced meals. You can click on the video below to watch it.
I recommend you also read this post on How to improve your digestive disorder if you struggle with bloating and discomfort.
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