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Diet for gastroesophageal reflux

A diet for gastroesophageal reflux should be rich in fiber, fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods, and it is also important to avoid eating foods that are difficult to digest or that leave the stomach upset, such as fried foods, soft drinks, and pepper.

Reflux occurs when stomach acid rises to the esophagus, especially after meals. The main symptoms of this disease are burning sensation, pain upon swallowing and regurgitation, and its treatment involves avoiding some foods and, when necessary, the use of antacids.

Cautions with your diet 

The cautions you should follow to treat reflux are:

  • Eat in smaller amounts every 2 or 3 hours;
  • Increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables;
  • Increase the consumption of whole grain foods that are rich in fibers;
  • Prefer lean meats, fish, milk and skimmed derivatives;
  • Avoid drinking liquids during meals;
  • Avoid eating 2 to 3 hours before bedtime;
  • Avoid lying down or exercising right after meals;
  • Drink chamomile tea because it helps to soothe the intestine and stomach.

In addition to these cautions, being overweight and wearing tight clothing may also cause increased pressure in the stomach, which favors reflux. In such cases, you should eat a balanced diet to lose weight and wear light clothing, especially during meals.

Prefer lean meats and skimmed milk
Prefer lean meats and skimmed milk
Prefer fruits, vegetables and whole grain cereals
Prefer fruits, vegetables and whole grain cereals

Foods to be avoided

The foods that should be avoided in a diet to treat reflux are:

  • Fat: Fries, red meats, sausage, and bacon because excess fat causes food to stay longer in the stomach, increasing the chances of reflux;
  • Caffeine: coffee, teas and chocolate, as they stimulate the stomach, favoring reflux;
  • Alcoholic beverages: irritate the stomach and increase the possibility of you having reflux;
  • Carbonated drinks: soft drinks and sparkling water as they increase the pressure inside the stomach;
  • Pepper: irritates the stomach and increases acidity;
  • Simple carbohydrates: flour, pasta and bread, as they decrease the force of the sphincter that closes the passage between the stomach and the esophagus.

In addition to these foods, it is also important to stop smoking, as cigarette smoking increases the symptoms of reflux.

Foods that should be avoided
Foods that should be avoided
Other foods that should be avoided
Other foods that should be avoided

Diet menu for reflux

The table below shows an example of a 3 day diet menu for reflux.

MealDay 1Day 2Day 3
Breakfast1 glass of skimmed milk + whole grain bread with light curdSkimmed yogurt + whole grain cereals + 4 strawberries1 glass of skimmed milk + 4 whole grain toast + 1 slice of papaya
Morning snack1 pear + 3 chestnuts2 plums + 4 maize biscuits2 walnuts + 5 cream crackers biscuits
Lunch/DinnerCooked fish with vegetables + brown rice + raw salad + 2 slices of watermelonChicken with tomato sauce+ 3 tablespoons of whole grain rice + 2 tablespoons of beans + raw salad + 1 apple1 can of tuna + whole grain macaroni + light cheese cubes + pesto sauce + green salad + 1 peach
Afternoon snack1 skimmed yogurt + 4 toast + 1 banana1 glass of skimmed milk + 1 whole grain bread with ricotta1 skimmed yogurt + 1 tablespoon of linseed + 5 maize biscuits

Citrus fruits such as orange, pineapple and mandarin may increase the burning sensation in some people and should be gradually introduced into their diet, according to food tolerance and the symptoms of reflux improving.

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