Foods to eat with acid reflux may include vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats. You may find your symptoms improve if you avoid fatty and spicy foods, chocolate, and caffeine.
One reason why GERD and acid reflux happen is a weakening in or damage to the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) — the valve between your stomach and esophagus.
Typically, the LES closes to prevent food in your stomach from moving into your esophagus. In GERD, it doesn’t close properly, so acid can flow back into the esophagus.
The foods you eat may affect the amount of acid your stomach produces and the action of the LES. Here, you can get some tips on foods that may help and foods to avoid.
If you experience heartburn, incorporating these foods into your diet may:
- reduce the risk of acid reflux, compared with other foods
- help neutralize stomach acid
- help you manage the symptoms of acid reflux
None of these foods will cure GERD or acid reflux, and what suits one person may not suit the next. Your choices will ultimately depend on how foods affect you.
Foods that are high in fat and added sugar may
Vegetables are naturally low in fat and sugar.
Good options include:
- green beans
- leafy greens
You can use spices such as turmeric or cinnamon to add flavor. Note that adding butter, spices, lemon, ketchups, and salad dressings may increase the risk of acid reflux.
One reason for this is that ginger encourages gastric emptying. In other words, it helps food move on through the gastrointestinal tract beyond the stomach.
You can add grated or sliced ginger root to recipes or smoothies, or drink ginger tea to ease symptoms.
In some people, though, ginger can trigger heartburn. Try a little the first time until you know if it works for you.
A diet high in fiber
Melons, bananas, apples, and pears all provide essential nutrients, and they’re less likely to trigger reflux symptoms than acidic fruits such as oranges.
As a snack, fruits are less likely to cause acid reflux than foods with added fats and sugar, such as chocolate.
Fruits also contain fiber, which can make you feel full for longer.
Lean meats and seafood
Lean meats, such as chicken, turkey, fish, and seafood, are low in fat and less likely to cause symptoms of acid reflux than fatty meats.
Try them grilled, broiled, baked, or poached.
Egg whites are low in fat and high in protein. Try eating them poached.
Egg yolks and fried eggs are high in fat and may trigger reflux symptoms.
The body needs fats to function, but it’s important to choose the right fats and use them in moderation.
Sources of healthy, unsaturated fats include:
These are less likely to cause acid reflux than animal fats and fats added to processed foods. Try to avoid deep-fried foods such as fries and donuts.
Try to opt for nonacidic drinks and avoid those that contain alcohol, sweeteners, and caffeine.
- herbal teas
- plant-based milks
- carrot and other nonacidic vegetable juices
Fried and fatty foods can cause the LES to relax, allowing more stomach acid to back up into the esophagus. These foods also delay stomach emptying.
High-fat foods increase the risk of reflux symptoms, so managing your fat intake can help.
The following foods have a high-fat content. It’s a good idea to avoid them or eat them sparingly:
- fries and onion rings
- full-fat dairy products, such as butter, whole milk, regular cheese, and sour cream
- fatty or fried cuts of beef, pork, or lamb
- bacon fat, ham fat, and lard
- desserts or snacks, such as ice cream and potato chips
- cream sauces, gravies, and creamy salad dressings
- oily and greasy foods
Fruits and vegetables are important in a healthy diet. But certain fruits can cause or worsen GERD symptoms, especially highly acidic fruits.
If you have frequent acid reflux, limit your intake of the following foods:
- tomato sauce or foods that use it, such as pizza and chili
Chocolate contains an ingredient called methylxanthine. Some
Coffee and other high-caffeine foods may trigger symptoms.
Garlic, onions, and spicy foods
Spicy and tangy foods, such as onions and garlic, trigger heartburn symptoms in many people.
Mint and products with mint flavoring, like chewing gum and breath mints, can trigger acid reflux symptoms.
Avoid or limit alcohol consumption, as this
Sodas, fizzy drinks, and soft drinks may increase the risk of acid reflux, according to some
While the lists above include common triggers, other foods may also affect you.
You might consider eliminating flour-based products, such as bread and crackers, and whey protein to see if symptoms improve.
As well as dietary measures, some lifestyle choices and medications can help manage acid reflux:
- Take antacids and other medications that reduce acid production, but avoid overuse.
- Maintain a moderate weight.
- Chew gum that isn’t flavored with peppermint or spearmint.
- Avoid alcohol.
- If you smoke, try quitting.
- Don’t overeat.
- Eat slowly.
- Remain upright for at least 2 hours after eating.
- Wear loose clothes.
- Don’t eat for
at least 3 hoursbefore going to bed.
- Raise the head of your bed by around
8 inchesto reduce reflux symptoms while sleeping.
If acid reflux is persistent or severe, consider speaking with a doctor. They may be able to prescribe medication or offer more specific dietary tips.
Heartburn is a common symptom of acid reflux and GERD. You may notice a burning sensation in your stomach or chest after eating a full meal or certain foods.
- dry cough
- sore throat
- burping or hiccups
- difficulty swallowing
- lump in the throat
- vomiting or regurgitation
No single diet can prevent all symptoms of GERD, and food triggers are different for everyone.
To identify your individual triggers, keep a food diary and track the following:
- what foods you eat
- what time of day you eat
- what symptoms you experience
Keep the diary for at least a week or longer if your diet varies. You can use the diary to identify specific foods and drinks that affect your GERD.
A doctor or dietitian can advise you in more detail on what to eat and what to avoid, and they can help you make a plan.
What foods neutralize stomach acid?
No food will neutralize stomach acid, but oatmeal can help absorb it so that it doesn’t return to the esophagus. Other foods, such as bananas, may be less likely to trigger stomach acid than others, for instance, tomatoes and citrus fruits.
What foods should you avoid if you have GERD?
Fatty foods, added sugars, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, and sodas may all make acid reflux worse.
What foods are good for people with GERD?
Lean meat, oatmeal, egg whites, and vegetables are good choices. Ginger is useful for some people but may worsen symptoms in others.
Is there a 7-day meal plan for GERD?
It’s not possible to create a 7-day meal plan as each person’s experience will be different. Start by keeping a food diary to see which foods cause you problems. Then a doctor or dietitian can help you make a diet plan that will suit you.
No diet has been proven to prevent GERD. However, certain foods may ease symptoms in some people.
Talk with a doctor if you have questions about whether certain foods should be a part of your diet. Foods that help improve acid reflux for one person may be problematic for someone else.
A doctor or a registered dietitian can help you develop a diet to manage your symptoms.