10 Foods That Can Help Fight Acid Reflux, So Eat These If You Have Heartburn
If you get acid reflux, you know how uncomfortable the feeling can be. Despite trying to cut out the right foods, you still may be experiencing heartburn, so it's helpful to know what foods can actually fight acid reflux. What you eat is important when it comes to preventing gastrointestinal issues, and certain foods can work wonders to relieve discomfort and prevent future issues.
Sixty percent of the adult population will experience some type of gastroesophageal reflux disease each year, and 20 to 30 percent will have weekly symptoms, according to Healthline. But what exactly causes these symptoms?
"Acid reflux occurs when the sphincter muscle that separates your stomach from your chest and the upper part of the stomach shift above the diaphragm," Beth Warren, MS, RDN, CDN, tells Bustle. "When the diaphragm is in its correct position, it keeps acid inside the stomach. When it shifts, however, the acid can flow back up the esophagus contributing to symptoms of acid reflux."
Switching to lower-acidic foods can help prevent build up of acid in your stomach. If you suffer from acid reflux and want to change up the way you eat, try incorporating these 11 foods into your lifestyle, which can help prevent the pesky condition.
1. Almond Milk
You may have heard to drink milk to help with acid reflux, but almond milk might be the better solution. "Sometimes cows milk can contribute to reflex, so almond milk is a great substitution," Warren says. "Almond milk is alkaline — the opposite of acidic — helping to combat acid reflux."
According to Healthline, other types of milk can be high in fat content, and some high-fat foods may actually make heartburn worse. Almond milk, or other types of plant-based milk like soy, flax, cashew, or coconut, will not only alleviate symptoms, it can be a better alternative for people who suffer from lactose intolerance.
Oatmeal is quick, tasty, and can be the perfect breakfast food if you have issues with acid reflux.
"Because oatmeal is a whole grain, it has a lot of fiber and is not an acidic food," Warren says. "As a result, it will help fill your stomach and lessen the chance of having a reflux issue. It may also soothe your symptoms."
Healthline also notes that if you are looking for other options, fiber-rich foods like whole-grain bread and whole-grain rice will have a similar effect on acid reflux symptoms.
Eating fermented foods rich in probiotics help increase the presence of good bacteria, according to Mayo Clinic. "Foods with healthy bacteria may help improve digestion and reduce the frequency of acid reflux," nutritionist Lisa Hugh tells Bustle.
According to Harvard Health, low-fat yogurt with fruit or nuts is a great option for breakfast. Include some of that whole-grain toast, and you have a fiber-rich meal that won't cause you any irritation.
Like yogurt, kimchi, a Korean staple made with fermented vegetables, is full of probiotics, making it another great choice for better digestion. Cabbage also contains a substance known as vitamin U, which has anti-ulcer properties, according to research from the Western Journal of Medicine.
But be careful when it comes to your daily intake of probiotics. For some, having too many probiotics can cause an overgrowth in bacteria, resulting in a slew of other stomach issues. If this is a concern for you, consult your doctor.
There's a reason that ginger is always recommended when you're having stomach issues — it can actually help.
"Ginger has been long used to treat gastrointestinal issues because of its soothing properties," Warren says. "It is known to be an anti-inflammatory food that can help combat symptoms of acid reflux."
If you're looking for some ways to incorporate ginger into your day, try a ginger tea, or make a smoothie with some ginger in it.
6. Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe vera is good for more than just treating sunburns — it can help soothe the gastrointestinal tract as well. According to research from the Journal of Environmental Science and Health, drinking aloe vera juice can help prevent acid reflux, as it can decrease inflammation.
And, there are a few more benefits to drinking aloe vera juice. According to Healthline, aloe vera juice may help lower cholesterol, reduce blood sugar levels, and replenish your skin.
"Fennel is another known food to be used to help combat digestive problems including heartburn," Warren says. The herb contains an anti-inflammatory phytonutrient called anethole, according to Medical Daily, which can relax the stomach walls.
Web MD notes that fennel has the ability to relax the colon, which can help with digestive issue like colitis, and indigestion. Because it also has the ability to mimic estrogen, fennel extract may even be able to reduce period pain in some people.
Bland starches are good choices when it comes to foods that are easy on the stomach lining, according to SF Gate. Plain pasta, baked potatoes, and bread are other good options as well — just be sure not to load them up with butter or other acidic, high-fat condiments that could cause acid reflux.
9, Green Vegetables
"Vegetables such as broccoli and celery are low acidic foods," Warren says. "As a result, they can soothe the esophageal lining." Other good veggies include asparagus and green beans, according to WebMD.
Cleveland Clinic also notes that generally, fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables are safe for people with acid reflux. However, if those vegetables are fried or creamed, the addition of high-fat ingredients could aggravate the stomach.
10. Low-Acid Fruits
"Even though a lot of fruits are acidic, contributing to acid reflux, low-acid fruits are a good bet," Warren says. Low-acid fruits include bananas and melons such as watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew.
Some fruits you may want to steer clear of are oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, pineapples, and tomatoes, Healthline says. These foods are highly acidic and can cause acid reflux symptoms.
Eating these foods regularly can help prevent acid reflux, but be sure to avoid other foods such as coffee, citrus, alcohol, fried foods, and spicy foods to keep your symptoms at bay.
This post was originally published on August 10, 2016. It was updated on June 3, 2019. Additional reporting by Kristin Magaldi.