Diet for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, Adult

Reflux (acid reflux) is when acid from your stomach flows up into the esophagus. When acid comes in contact with the esophagus, the acid causes irritation and soreness (inflammation) in the esophagus. When reflux happens often or so severely that it causes damage to the esophagus, it is called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Nutrition therapy can help ease the discomfort of GERD.

FOODS OR DRINKS TO AVOID OR LIMIT

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco. Nicotine is one of the most potent stimulants to acid production in the gastrointestinal tract.

  • Caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee and black tea.

  • Regular or low-calorie carbonated beverages or energy drinks (caffeine-free carbonated beverages are allowed).  

  • Strong spices, such as black pepper, white pepper, red pepper, cayenne, curry powder, and chili powder.

  • Peppermint or spearmint.

  • Chocolate.

  • High-fat foods, including meats and fried foods. Extra added fats including oils, butter, salad dressings, and nuts. Limit these to less than 8 tsp per day.

  • Fruits and vegetables if they are not tolerated, such as citrus fruits or tomatoes.

  • Alcohol.

  • Any food that seems to aggravate your condition.

If you have questions regarding your diet, call your caregiver or a registered dietitian.

OTHER THINGS THAT MAY HELP GERD INCLUDE:

  • Eating your meals slowly, in a relaxed setting.

  • Eating 5 to 6 small meals per day instead of 3 large meals.

  • Eliminating food for a period of time if it causes distress.

  • Not lying down until 3 hours after eating a meal.

  • Keeping the head of your bed raised 6 to 9 inches (15 to 23 cm) by using a foam wedge or blocks under the legs of the bed. Lying flat may make symptoms worse.

  • Being physically active. Weight loss may be helpful in reducing reflux in overweight or obese adults.

  • Wear loose fitting clothing

EXAMPLE MEAL PLAN

This meal plan is approximately 2,000 calories based on ChooseMyPlate.gov meal planning guidelines.

Breakfast

  • ½ cup cooked oatmeal.

  • 1 cup strawberries.

  • 1 cup low-fat milk.

  • 1 oz almonds.

Snack

  • 1 cup cucumber slices.

  • 6 oz yogurt (made from low-fat or fat-free milk).

Lunch

  • 2 slice whole-wheat bread.

  • 2½ oz sliced turkey.

  • 2 tsp mayonnaise.

  • 1 cup blueberries.

  • 1 cup snap peas.

Snack

  • 6 whole-wheat crackers.

  • 1 oz string cheese.

Dinner

  • ½ cup brown rice.

  • 1 cup mixed veggies.

  • 1 tsp olive oil.

  • 3 oz grilled fish.