What can people with acid reflux eat?

Updated March 23, 2017

Acid reflux, also referred to as acid indigestion, heartburn and gastroesphageal reflux, or GERD, is a result of acid build-up in the stomach that backs up through the oesophagus. Eating too much and eating too fast can cause acid reflux. The condition can be a symptom of a more serious condition such as an ulcer or gallstones. Fried, spicy and hot foods typically trigger acid reflux in people with sensitive stomach linings.


Meat that is grilled, baked or broiled is usually safe for people with acid reflux to eat. It's usually the seasonings and sauces that create the acid backup. Beef should be lean and cooked on a surface through which most of the grease can be drained. While most pork should be avoided because of the grease, well-done chops may not cause any discomfort. The greasy skin of chicken should be removed before cooking. Cooks should lay off the spices and allow diners with acid reflux to enjoy the smoked or natural flavours of the meat.


Whole grains are typically pretty safe to eat, though cereal should be avoided because milk can cause acid reflux. Bread, pretzels, rice cakes and baked goods should not pose any problems for those with acid reflux. Again though, it's the toppings that can be brutal on a sensitive stomach. Diets high in whole grains also will aid in digestion, easing the symptoms of recurring acid reflux.


Caffeine-laden drinks such as coffee and colas should be avoided, as should most carbonated drinks. Acid reflux sufferers should drink plenty of water, herbal tea and non-dairy products such as soy milk. Alcohol can be one of the worst sources of acid reflux and should be avoided, even when taken with meals.


Fruit that is highly acidic, such as oranges and grapefruits can bring on a bout of reflux. The best fruit to eat is low-acid fruits such as papaya, bananas and pineapple. Remove the skin from fruit like apples and pears to avoid reflux. Cranberries, grapes, blueberries and strawberries are safe to eat in moderate amounts.


Cooked vegetables are preferable to raw food like broccoli, carrots and green beans. Garlic, green peppers and onions may be eaten in very small amounts when cooked to add flavour to dishes. Recipes that require milk or frying, such as mashed potatoes or french fries, are trouble for people with acid reflux. Plain baked potatoes are the best choice for side dishes.


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About the Author

Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."