Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) affects 1 out of every 4 persons in America. Many people refer to this condition simply as acid reflux or heartburn. Many people are also quick to reach for the nearest antacid medication in order to solve their acid reflux problems; but there’s a much more effective way to deal with this common medical condition.
While antacids and acid-blocking medication may help in calming the symptoms of GERD, they don't target the root cause of the disease. Changing your diet can do this though. The food you choose to eat each day is the single greatest factor in determining whether you’ll suffer from acid reflux, and how long you’ll suffer if you already have it.
High-fat processed foods (i.e. fried foods, pastries, donuts, etc.) cause heartburn problems. In fact, high-fat foods are the biggest culprit in the long list of food items that can cause acid reflux. Spicy foods, sour foods, and coffee are also a problem with many individuals when it comes to acid reflux. Animal foods like meat and dairy are also high in fat and can perpetuate GERD.
Switching to a whole foods, plant-based diet naturally low in fat helps avoid common food culprits in the development of GERD. By adopting a plant-based diet, you naturally avoid many of the food items that can cause acid reflux in favor of healthier fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grain products. Essentially, you are targeting the root cause of the disease. Another benefit to this approach is avoiding all the possible side effects from the various medications used to treat GERD.
To learn more about acid reflux, including different treatment strategies of food versus medicine, see my article – Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease – Overview and Treatment Options.
I wish you all the best in your quest to rid yourself of heartburn. May your stomach never be on fire again!
Dustin Rudolph, PharmD