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Have Acid Reflux? Here's What To Eat!

Nina Ghamrawi, MS, RD, CDE
June 10, 2023
December 8, 2023

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Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a common condition that affects many adults. It occurs when the stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus, causing irritation and discomfort. GERD can be caused by a variety of factors, including increased digestive acid production. In this blog, we'll explore the causes of acid reflux and provide tips for reducing its symptoms.

What Causes Acid Reflux:

  1. Poor Posture: lying down within the 2 hours after eating.
  2. Poor Eating Habits: Eating large meals or foods that are high in fat, acid or spice.
  3. Hiatal Hernia: A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach bulges through the diaphragm into the chest cavity. This can cause acid reflux by disrupting the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) which is responsible for preventing stomach contents from flowing back up into the esophagus.
  4. Obesity: Obesity can increase the pressure on the stomach, causing reflux symptoms.
  5. Smoking: Smoking cigarettes can weaken the LES, making it easier for stomach contents to flow back up into the esophagus.

Tips to Reduce Acid Reflux:

  • Modify your eating habits:
To reduce acid reflux, eat smaller, more frequent meals. Also, reduce your intake of fatty, acidic or spicy foods.
  • Maintain a healthy weight:
Losing weight if you are overweight can help reduce pressure on the stomach and reduce acid reflux symptoms.
  • Quit Smoking:
Quitting smoking can improve your overall health and reduce acid reflux symptoms.
  • Elevate your head while sleeping:
Want to reduce acid reflux symptoms? Try sleeping with your head elevated.
  • Avoid tight clothing: Wearing tight clothing can put pressure on the stomach, leading to acid reflux symptoms.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine: Alcohol and caffeine can irritate the stomach and increase acid reflux symptoms.
  • Manage stress: Stress can cause digestive issues and trigger acid reflux symptoms. Consider relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
  • Medications: Over-the-counter antacids, acid reducers or proton pump inhibitors can provide relief from acid reflux symptoms. Consult your healthcare provider before taking any medication.

Regarding diet, you can and should eat a balanced and healthy diet that includes foods that are less likely to trigger acid reflux symptoms. Lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products are less likely to trigger acid reflux symptoms. In fact, most diets for heart health, managing pain or improving brain function also recommend a similar balance. It's important to note that the specific foods that trigger acid reflux symptoms can vary from person to person, so it's essential to pay attention to your body's response to different foods and make adjustments accordingly.


Acid reflux or GERD can be caused by various factors such as poor eating habits, hiatal hernia, obesity and smoking. However, lifestyle modifications such as modifying your eating habits, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, elevating your head while sleeping, avoiding tight clothing, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, managing stress, and taking medications can help reduce acid reflux symptoms. Remember to always consult your healthcare provider before taking any medication or making any significant changes to your diet or lifestyle.

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