Going grocery shopping.
Ordering delivery on your lunch break.
Going on a date at a fancy new restaurant.
Getting together with friends for a potluck.
There are countless occasions in our lives in which food is involved. It’s no wonder that when we’re told to rule out certain foods or add in food substitutes to our diets, things can get complicated.
Several decades ago, attempting to eat a certain way might have raised eyebrows or elicited a “come again?” from a waiter.
However, these days, people are becoming more educated on food sensitivities, and it’s easier to adjust their diets to coincide with their bodies’ unique dietary needs.
If you suffer from acid reflux or GERD, you know all too well that certain foods will activate pesky and uncomfortable symptoms such as indigestion and heartburn.
However, rather than lamenting the fact that you can no longer consume your grandmother’s famous tomato sauce, you can choose to be proactive in finding delicious food alternatives that won’t trigger your GERD symptoms.
Here are five food substitutes to replace common GERD triggers.
#1: Instead of White Rice…Try Quinoa.
White rice, among other grains such as wheat and corn, is highly acidic and acid-forming.
On the other hand, grains such as quinoa, amaranth, and wild rice are alkaline-forming, which won’t trigger GERD.
Quinoa also has the benefit of being super high in protein and has twice as much fiber as other grains–a healthy option overall!
The next time you’re selecting a grain for the base in a veggie dish, think twice before grabbing white rice and go for something like quinoa.
#2: Instead of Coffee…Try Ginger Tea.
Having a daily cup of joe is a ritual that’s deeply ingrained in many cultures around the world.
If you consider yourself a coffee addict, you may have a hard time giving it up.
However, caffeine tends to relax the esophageal sphincter, allowing acid to flow back up through the esophagus. Dealing with the resulting unease and discomfort in your body is never quite worth it.
If you must satisfy your need to enjoy a warm and cozy beverage in the morning or evening–opt for ginger tea with honey.
In addition to reducing the likelihood of stomach acid flowing up through the esophagus, ginger also reduces inflammation in your gastrointestinal tract.
Sounds like a win-win all around!
#3: Instead of Beef…Try Fish.
When it comes to the consumption of protein-rich foods, your mind may drift to beef or other meat sources.
However, beef and other meats that are high in protein and fat can take longer for your body to digest, which puts pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter for a longer time.
The result? Increased instances of acid reflux.
On the other hand, fish and poultry are both lean proteins and are often recommended for acid reflux sufferers.
That said–everyone’s body is different–so if you notice that fish or poultry still triggers your symptoms, try switching to plant-based proteins such as soy and sprouts.
#4: Instead of Orange Juice…Try a Banana-Kale Smoothie.
Perhaps you have cravings for something sweet in the mornings, and you typically fulfill these cravings with a glass of OJ.
I’m sorry to tell you that due to their high acidity, citrus-based juices are not your friend if you want to minimize GERD symptoms.
Not to worry–there are plenty of other delicious juices and smoothies you can enjoy that aren’t acid-producing in the way citrus fruit juices are.
For example, a banana and kale smoothie is a sweet non-citrus alternative that can help you start your day off on the right foot.
If you want to give it a try, check out this banana and kale smoothie recipe!
#5: Instead of Tomato Sauce…Try Pesto.
Tomato sauce may have been your go-to when it came to eating pizza or pasta, but with the high acidity of tomatoes, which often leads to heartburn, I strongly advise you seek alternatives.
Fortunately, there are other sauce options that can be equally tasty–such as pesto.
With the combination of basil, olive oil, pine nuts, and garlic, pesto provides a wonderful aromatic scent in addition to a tasty kick to a range of dishes.
Whether you add it to pasta or pizza or spread it on a sandwich, there are various ways to incorporate pesto in your meals.
Making dietary changes for your health may feel like a burden, but feeling better in your body is always rewarding.
Beyond the foods listed above, probiotics are terrific options for people who suffer from GERD or acid reflux. Here are five probiotic options to add to your shopping cart this week!