Acid reflux, formally known as Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and informally referred to as heartburn, is a commom symptom and/or side effect of ingesting gluten.
Those who experience it will do anything to relieve the discomforting symptoms of burning in the chest and throat, chest pains and the feeling that food is sticking in your throat and esophagus. While short bouts of acid reflux here and there are not a cause for concern, chronic symptoms can have harmful long-term effects and this is the primary reason for beating it. The good thing is you don’t have to rely on prescription anti-acids to relieve acid reflux. Simple dietary changes, practiced over the long term, can reverse it. They did for me!
My acid reflux was so bad that my throat felt swollen and prevented me from eating, making my already precarious dietary situation even worse. Prescription anti-acids were not working for me. When my doctor upped my dosage of pills and added liquid anti-acids to the regimen, I put my foot down and said no, I was not going to treat a dietary issue with drugs and more drugs. If diet is the cause of acid reflux, then surely it is the cure as well. Within two days of a strict acid reflux supportive diet, I started to feel better (this was started at the same time as going gluten-free, so that certainly helped, too!).
Beating acid reflux with dietary changes is easy. You just have to be committed. In addition to adhering to a gluten-free diet, here’s guidance for what to eat, what to avoid and why it’s important to beat it.
Avoid and/or minimize: spicy foods; raw garlic and onions; tomato-based sauces and foods; highly fatty and fried foods, citrus fruits; chocolate and caffeinated beverages and; mint/pepppermint. As with all things in life, make trade-offs. If you can’t go without chocolate, then be sure to limit other foods. Also, use a food diary to get a picture of the foods that cause the most discomfort for you.
Increase your intake of: water; fiber; non-citrus fruits, such as apples, bananas and pears and; vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, carrots, grean beans, peas and potatoes.
Switch from: regular dairy products to low-fat dairy products, such as 1% or skim milk and fat-free or low-fat yogurt; high-fat meats to leaner cuts of beef, poultry and fish; creamy dressings, butter and high-fat sauces to low-fat varieties and or broths.
Left untreated, GERD can lead to esophagitis, esophageal ulcers, hoarseness, chronic pulmonary disease, and Barrett’s esophagus (the lining of the esophagus changes and increases the risk of developing cancer of the esophagus). Take control of your diet now to control the symptoms and prevent long-term health consequences.