Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a long-term problem with the stomach. Acids that normally sit in the stomach are able to escape up into the esophagus (throat). This causes a burning pain in the chest called heartburn. Over time, these acids cause damage and scarring in the esophagus. Problems are:
Your diet can affect symptoms. Making changes to it will be part of your treatment. GERD that is not managed can cause lasting harm.
Changes in your diet can include food choices and eating habits.
Food moves down the throat and into the stomach. A muscular ring tightens to help keep the food in the stomach while it is digested. This ring is sometimes too weak or we may put too much pressure on it. Eating habits that can help ease pressure on this ring and lower the risk of GERD problems are:
Some foods may trigger your symptoms or make them worse. These foods may not be the same from person to person. Try keeping a food diary. Keep track of what you eat, when you eat, and your symptoms for 1 to 2 weeks. This may help you find what foods trigger your symptoms.
Common triggers are:
Do not eat foods that trigger your symptoms. Here is a sample menu that shows how you can still eat a variety of foods.
Apple Juice (1/2 cup [118 milliliters (mL)])
Whole-grain cereal (3/4 cup [177 mL])
Whole-wheat toast (2 slices)
Jelly or jam (2 tablespoons [29 g])
Skim milk (1 cup [237 mL])
Vegetable soup (1 cup
Lean beef patty (3 ounces [86 g])
Reduced-calorie mayonnaise (1 tablespoon [14 g])
Mustard (1 tablespoon [14 g])
Fresh fruit salad (no citrus) (1/2 cup [114 g])
Graham crackers (4)
Skim milk (1 cup [237 mL])
Green salad (4 ounces [114 g])
Vinegar and oil dressing (1 tablespoon [15 mL])
Broiled skinless chicken breast (3 ounces [85 g])
Herbed brown rice (1/2 cup [114 g])
Steamed broccoli (1/2 cup [114 g])
Low-fat frozen yogurt (1/2 cup [114 g])
|Tip: Coffee at breakfast can increase stomach acid. You may want to try tea instead.||Tip: Skip the tomatoes and onions on your burger.||Tip: Stick to low-fat dairy products.||Tip: Choose low-fat meats, like skinless chicken breasts.|
Other steps that may help control GERD:
American Gastroenterological Association
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Canadian Institute for Health Information
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:https://www.dynamed.com/condition/gastroesophageal-reflux-disease-gerd. Updated April 26, 2019. Accessed February 13, 2020.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/gerd-reflux.html. Updated January 2015. Accessed February 13, 2020.
Treatment overview. International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders website. Available at: http://www.aboutgerd.org/site/about-gerd/treatment. Updated September 19, 2019. Accessed February 13, 2020.
Last reviewed November 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN Last Updated: 2/5/2021