Who hasn’t eaten a food item they know they’re going to regret later? Well, for sufferers of acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux (GER), that happens more often then they’d like. While many of us deal with the occasional symptoms like heartburn, 20 percent of the U.S. population has gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), where symptoms occur more than twice a week, for weeks at a time.
If that applies to you, first thing’s first — visit your doctor immediately! Try to stop eating about two to three hours before bed, and avoid greasy or spicy foods and alcoholic drinks.
It’s not all bad news: You may also reduce discomfort by incorporating certain foods into your diet. Here’s a list of a few of my favorites to help ease your symptoms:
1. Apple cider vinegar
Counter-intuitive to what you may think, the acidity of apple cider vinegar actually helps prevent heartburn symptoms and even helps soothe the burn if you’re already feeling it. Acid reflux can sometimes be the result of too little stomach acid, so reintroducing this mildly acidic vinegar can have some benefits.
You don’t need to drink it on its own if that’s not your thing. Drizzle it on your veggies or add to a homemade vinaigrette.
2. Green beans
Not all veggies are as low acid as others and if you’re prone to reflux, you may want to go for these green guys. They’re also a good source of magnesium, a mineral responsible for nerve contraction that also has a calming effect.
Roast them with lemon and a little olive oil for a simple side dish. Green beans not your thing? Asparagus and celery also have the same effect in aiding your digestive health.
3. Brown rice
A perfectly mild whole grain that won’t cause distress and also provides you with fiber. Top it with a healthy chicken stir-fry or pair with grilled salmon. Just remember not to fry it or pair it with anything fried, as this is almost guaranteed to leave you in pain.
If you’re sick of plain brown rice, farro is another great option with endless ways to top and enjoy sans heartburn.
Not only is this a great alkaline option, but bananas also act as a natural antacid while coating your stomach during digestion to help protect the stomach lining. Bananas are also famous for their high amount of potassium, which is an alkalizing mineral in the body.
Blend in a smoothie, which can also be easier to digest. Bananas still green? Melon is another go-to fruit to avoid acid reflux symptoms.
Long known for its natural soothing effects, a cup of fennel tea can be just as beneficial and anti-inflammatory for your digestive tract as the extracted oil or seeds. Compounds in fennel work to soothe the stomach upon digestion and fennel is also high in fiber which helps contribute to healthy digestion. Chop and add to salads or roast whole and enjoy the unique, licorice-esque flavor.