Surgery can be necessary in severe cases of GERD, but you can avoid the need for invasive procedures by controlling your gastroesophageal reflux disease with conservative treatments. One of the best ways to keep symptoms of GERD under control is to avoid dietary triggers. This, however, assumes you know what your triggers are.

While everyone is different, most people with GERD find specific categories of food troublesome. The team at the Center for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery can help you identify and avoid the foods that cause your GERD and help keep your symptoms at bay.

If you find you still experience chest pain, unpleasant regurgitation of food, and heartburn after cutting these foods out, consult with the doctors to learn about other treatment options.

Why care about easing GERD?

Of course you want relief from GERD, because it affects your day-to-day quality of life. Experiencing the discomfort caused by the frequent backflow of stomach acid into your esophagus can make mealtime stressful. You may also experience disturbed sleep, regular coughing, and a sore throat.

GERD can also cause long-term damage to your body. You may have scar tissue form in the esophagus. You may also develop a condition known as Barrett’s esophagus, which is characterized by cancerous changes to the lining of the esophagus.

Specific foods to avoid with GERD

Relieving GERD symptoms can be as simple as making some smart meal choices. Spicy foods, including curry, salsa, chili, and hot sauce aggravate GERD symptoms. The spices make stomach acid stir up and become more likely to kick back up into your throat.

Garlic and onions are also aggravating foods. Beware as these are ingredients in many recipes, including holiday stuffing, stews, and some salads.

Fatty meals from fast-food restaurants or barbecue joints can slow digestion, so food sits and stomach acid releases over a longer period of time. Greasy cuts of meat, French fries, and burgers are best kept off your plate. Opt for grilled chicken, baked potatoes, and flatbread instead.

Pizza is a double whammy as it’s often fatty and covered in acidic tomato sauce, which exacerbates GERD. Classic or spicy marinara sauces over pasta can be triggers for GERD symptoms, too.

Citrus fruits and chocolate are highly acidic, meaning you should also avoid these if you’ve been diagnosed with GERD. Coffee, alcohol, carbonated drinks, and alcohol also irritate your digestive tract.

Sometimes, the simple after-dinner mint — which seems entirely harmless — can also set off a surge of GERD symptoms.

How you eat your food matters

It’s not just the foods you choose. How you eat and where you eat makes a difference in your GERD symptoms. Avoid overstuffing yourself at meals. Large meals take longer to digest, meaning more time to regurgitate acid and food into your esophagus.

Plan ahead for meals. Eating a meal within an hour or two of bedtime can also be triggering for GERD symptoms. Much of the food remains undigested and can cause reflux symptoms just as you try to get some shuteye. The same is true for late-night snacking.

Smart eating habits go a long way in minimizing the effects of GERD. Know if you’re struggling with chronic heartburn and acid reflux, the team at the Center for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery can help. Call the office in Peoria, Arizona or schedule online to learn your full array of treatment options.

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