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5 Food Substitutes for GERD Triggers

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.

quinoa

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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.

Ginger Tea

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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.

pan fried salmon(Source)

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.

Banana and Kale smoothie

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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.

Pesto sauce

(Source)

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!

The Link between Inflammation and GERD

If you have acid reflux and you’ve sought help at the doctor’s office, you may have walked away from your appointment with a prescription that brought welcome relief.

However, perhaps you’re finding you traded physical relief for your mental peace of mind.

While you now have decreased symptoms, you’re not sure pills are the best solution for your heartburn. And maybe you’re even questioning your doctor’s explanations when it comes to heartburn and digestive disorders.

If you have more questions than answers, keep on reading because we’re going to look at a study published in JAMA that reveals a critical piece of information you need to know for your symptoms…

There may be a link between inflammation and your GERD.

Check out some details from this study…and what they mean for your acid reflux struggles.

Inflammation and GERD: The Study’s Conclusions

The U.S. News and World Report explains that this research study indicates GERD acid may not be the direct cause of esophageal damage, noting that this data can potentially overturn 80 years of scientific consensus.  

Summing up the study, the article reveals that something quite different may be the real reason behind the damage your esophagus is experiencing—your body secretes proteins that “produce an inflammatory response in the esophagus.”

Hearing that esophageal damage isn’t directly caused by your refluxed stomach acid may sound counterintuitive.

However, you’ll want to carefully consider the evidence researchers gathered indicating that there’s a link between inflammation and GERD before you make a decision…

Finding the Link between Acid Reflux and Inflammation

According to an article in Medscape on the study, the research participants developed symptoms of GERD in their esophagus in areas where acid had not eroded the surface of their esophagus.

In other words, there were GERD symptoms where there was no evidence of stomach acid damage.  

To make sense of this data and understand how researchers found a link between GERD and inflammation, you might want to read Newsmax’s summary of the study.

Newsmax notes that researchers found evidence supporting a new concept for GERD: acid reflux triggers the production of cytokines, the result of which is inflammation.  

What This Study Means for You

While this study shows that there may be a link between inflammation and GERD, you may wonder what it means for you and your acid reflux symptoms.

To begin with, this data reveals the serious effects of inflammation. Inflammation isn’t something you simply feel in your joints after a vigorous exercise. It can potentially create esophageal damage.

But, even more importantly, this study shows how easy it is to get your facts wrong when it comes to acid reflux.

From what creates esophageal damage to how to heal your reflux, many times, what you hear at your typical doctor’s office regarding acid reflux isn’t the full story you need to make the best decision.    

At Cure Your Acid Reflux, we’re here to offer a different perspective and help you leverage a healthy, alternative approach for treating your GERD…and it doesn’t have anything to do with taking PPIs, H2 blockers, or other medications.

We’ve found that eliminating your diet of inflammatory foods and promoting gut health reverses acid reflux symptoms so you experience relief.

Find freedom from dangerous medication and burning, painful heartburn. Join the Cure Your Acid Reflux Program today.

3 Acid Reflux Myths

hot wingsAcid reflux myths. What don’t you know?

Acid reflux sufferers deal with more than just the pain and discomfort of flare-ups—they also struggle with misinformation. The surplus of information out there on GERD and chronic reflux contains its share of acid reflux myths, and we want to help educate you on what might be true, and what might be worth disregarding.

Knowing what info to trust will help you lead a freer, healthier life as you can put the legitimate solutions to practice—and ignore those remedies that might only harm you in the long run.

Drink Less Liquid with Your Meals to Reduce the Likelihood of Flare-ups: True

Staying hydrated between meals is far better for your body than overindulging in liquids while you eat.

When you drink too much during a meal, you’ll only dilute the acid in your stomach, which leads to discomfort, bloating, and belching. Using a smaller glass and drinking less will also decrease the likelihood of increasing the pH of your stomach juices—something that causes trouble for your esophageal sphincter.

Give Up Hot or Spicy Foods If You Have Acid Reflux: False

The outcry against spicy foods when it comes to acid reflux is noticeable. They say when acid reflux is a problem, spicy food is the first thing that should go, but the evidence against your favorite hot sauce or Mexican dish is underwhelming.

Although spicy foods can trigger heartburn, there’s no hard proof that giving them up will improve or cure your acid reflux. Eating spicy foods in moderation and making other lifestyle changes can be much more effective in the long run when managing your acid reflux.

Medication Is the Only Way to Treat Acid Reflux Successfully: False

Many people who suffer from acid reflux commit themselves to antacids and other drugs to mitigate and fight heartburn. When they find temporary relief, they depend on those medications for long-term relief as well, but they may risk long-term side effects instead.

Natural remedies such as lifestyle changes, massage, and meditation have proven themselves capable of eliminating flare-ups and even acid reflux altogether.

Natural remedies promote a healthier life by considering the bigger picture. Depending on over-the-counter antacids or prescription proton pump inhibitors won’t do anything to change what triggers your acid reflux, or address the behavior that leads to it.

Part of how we treat acid reflux is through education and support. We want to help you understand what might be causing your acid reflux so you can eliminate triggers or change behaviors that may be provoking flare-ups. Food sensitivity tests and one-on-one consultations provide the kind of support structure designed to treat the symptoms of acid reflux and the condition itself.

Acid Reflux Treatment: What’s Stress Got to Do with It?

stressed girlThere’s more to acid reflux than meets the eye…er, your gut. Food is commonly cited as the culprit for intense heartburn, GERD, and other symptoms / consequences of acid reflux—but what about stress?

Let’s look at what stress can do to us.

Being stressed out can lead to…

  • Overeating.
  • Distracting yourself with food.
  • Eating the wrong kinds of food.
  • Becoming an unconscious eater.

Okay, so food still plays a big part in acid reflux, but you see what we’re getting at: being stressed or letting the pressures of life bring you down can lead to unhealthy habits, which in turn triggers acid reflux flare-ups.

It makes sense that if you cut stress out of your life, you might also be kicking your acid reflux to the curb.

Now, say you already suffer from acid reflux. That in itself can be a stressful experience. Sudden flare-ups. Uncertainty about whether that next bite of food is going to help or exacerbate your problem… Suffering from GERD feels hopeless at times, but the important thing is to know that you are not alone, and you can implement natural acid reflux treatments to keep it from ruling your life.

And what’s more natural than moving to a place where stress bears no weight in your day-to-day life?

Managing the stress associated with acid reflux is doable, even from the comfort of your own home. Meditation is a great way to reduce the stress you experience, with life or with your acid reflux. Simply by reaching a calmer state of mind, you could find your center amidst unwanted flare-ups.

Whether you’re dealing with the emotional turmoil of suffering from acid reflux, or you think stress is what’s causing that chronic heartburn, we’re here to help. Contact us to speak with a naturopath who cares, and start living a happier, stress-free life.