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Erosive Esophagitis Diet

Updated February 21, 2017

Erosive esophagitis occurs when there is inflammation in the oesophagus. It is often a result of untreated GERD (gastro-oseophageal reflux disease). According to the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), when someone has GERD, the lower sphincter muscle on the oesophagus relaxes and this allows acid to enter the oesophagus, causing heartburn symptoms. When this occurs on a consistent basis, it erodes the oesophagus leading to esophagitis (see reference 1). The ACG also says that watching your diet is part of the GERD treatment, and that treating GERD will treat your erosive esophagitis.

Diet

The diet for erosive esophagitis is more about the foods that should be avoided, rather than included. There are known foods that increase the amount of acid in the stomach, and therefore should be avoided to help stop GERD and slow the progression of erosive esophagitis. Foods to avoid, according to the Nemours Foundation, are caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, and some sodas; chocolate; greasy, fatty and fried foods; onions, garlic, and peppers; peppermint and spearmint; citrus fruits and foods that include cooked tomatoes, such as spaghetti or pizza sauces, chilli and certain soups (see reference 2). These foods add to the damage of the esophageal lining by causing stomach acid and relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter muscle.

The Foundation for Better Health Care also adds alcohol as a product that should be eliminated from the diet (see reference 3). If there are certain foods that are not included in this list, but cause acid and heartburn for you, they need to be eliminated too, as your discomfort could be a result of a food allergy. According to Dr. Stephen Wangen, who is a leading expert in digestive disorders, food allergies often cause high stomach acid content and lead to esophagitis (see resource 1).

Lifestyle Changes

There are lifestyle modifications that should accompany any diet for erosive esophagitis. Avoid lying down within three hours of a meal and raise your upper body when sleeping either with a pillow wedge or by putting the head end of your bed up on blocks or risers. These are just two of the lifestyle changes recommended by the Mayo Clinic as treatment for stomach acid (see resource 2). They also advise to quit smoking, as smoking weakens the lower esophageal muscle.

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About the Author

A certified nutritionist who majored in health, fitness and nutrition, Traci Vandermark has been writing articles in her specialty fields since 1998. Her articles have appeared both online and in print for publications such as Simple Abundance, "Catskill Country Magazine," "Birds and Blooms," "Cappers" and "Country Discoveries."