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Foods to Avoid & Eating Behavio...

Acid Reflux (heartburn) and GERD flare-ups are very painful and can be debilitating. You pop some medication and hope the pain goes away, until the next attack. How can you help yourself so you can avoid the pain in the first place? You can help decrease incidents, irritation, and pain without the use of medication. The way to ‘attack’ Acid Reflux and GERD is by using a two method approach - Eating Behaviors and Foods to Avoid.


We all have a muscle flap (lower esophagus sphincter) in our esophagus that is attached at the top of the stomach. When we eat, food travels down the esophagus, the muscle flap opens, lets the food in the stomach, and then closes. This muscle flap serves as a door to keep the stomach acid from escaping into the esophagus. Certain food and eating behaviors cause the muscle to weaken and/or irritate the esophagus, which increases the stomach pressures and acid. Acid Reflux (Heartburn) and GERD occurs when this muscle weakens or loosens. The stomach acid seeps back up into the esophagus, causing the burning pain, discomfort. So let’s see how we can eat without discomfort and pain.

Two Method Approach:

 

Eating behaviors:

 

  • Eat smaller meals 5-6 times a day which helps to keep the stomach acid much more even during the day than 3 large meals daily
  • Eat slowly, not too quickly. Put your fork down between bites would help to slow down your rate of eating
  • Sit up while eating, and remain sitting or standing 30-45 minutes after eating
  • Stop eating any foods 2-3 hours before you go to bed
  • Chewing Gum help neutralizes the stomach acid from the production of saliva
  • Drink lukewarm water after eating food or after each meal which helps to cut the stomach acid and flush it out

Foods to Avoid:

  • Avoid high fat foods because they stay in the stomach longer
  • Avoid any fried foods (fried meats, vegetables, etc)
    • Consume the following low fat choices:
      • Low fat meats - Chicken (without the skin), Turkey (without the skin), Fish, Loin of Pork (as tolerated)
      • Non-meat sources – Soy products, Nuts (small quantities as tolerated)
      • Low fat vegetarian combinations - Rice & beans, Pasta & beans, Low fat cheese & pasta
      • 2-1% Milk, Skim Milk (no fat milk), Low fat or no fat yogurts, Low fat cheeses, Low fat low sugar ice cream
      • Substitute dairy products - Low fat soy milk/soy yogurt
      • Snacks – baked chips, air-popped pop corn
  • Avoid spicy food (Black pepper, Chili pepper, fresh onion, etc) 
  • Avoid foods that may cause discomfort such as citrus fruits and juices; and tomatoes and any foods made from tomatoes (tomato sauce, tomato juice)
    • Consume the following choices:
      • Fresh, canned (packed in natural juices not syrup), or frozen fruits and vegetables except oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, lemons, limes, and tomatoes
      • Use 100% juices
  • Avoid Chocolate, Peppermint, Caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea, soda), and Alcohol which weakens the sphincter muscle
  • Try not to consume any foods or beverages that cause discomfort

Every individual is different and some may tolerate a variety of foods better than others. Foods that you know aggravate your Acid Reflux or GERD, must be limited or avoid those foods completely. The foods that are questionable, suggest consuming with discretion. Eat small amounts and see how you tolerate and slowly reintroduce them back. If you start to have issues then cut those foods back and then they go on the limited or avoid list.

It is recommended to keep a "Food Diary" for 1-2 weeks. You write down all the foods you eat. You enter the type of food, amount of food, time of day, and if you had any symptoms of Acid Reflux or GERD. This keeps track of the foods you are eating and you will be able to pin point what foods you are able to tolerate or not. This helps you with changing your eating habits so you are able to decrease your flare-ups significantly.

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Start Date
May 07, 2008
by Renee RadenbergBlank
Last Revision
Jun 16, 2011
by healthyveggie