What foods are good to eat for a hiatal hernia?

Updated February 21, 2017

A hiatal hernia is a common condition that causes considerable pain and discomfort for people shortly after they eat in many cases. The hernia happens when the upper part of the stomach pushes through the opening of the diaphragm (hiatus). The stomach then balloons into the area above the stomach and into the chest cavity, causing pain. Certain foods trigger the pain associated with this condition and some can be eaten without a problem. Knowing the rights foods to consume is important to people with a hiatal hernia.

Most Things In Moderation

Unfortunately, there is no magic list of foods to eat---and those to avoid---that will work for every person affected by a hiatal hernia. However, what seems to be universal is that overeating aggravates the condition in just about everyone who has it, according to Many foods that are commonly associated with triggering symptoms, such as spicy foods or acidic fruits, can actually be eaten without incident by some people, as long as they do not eat too much of it.

Try breaking up your meals during the day to relieve symptoms without adjusting what you eat. Instead of eating two or three large meals each day, have five or six small ones. This alone may be enough to reduce or eliminate the problem. Because it takes our brains a few minutes to realise that we are full, we tend to keep eating during that span, often resulting in overeating. Smaller meals may prevent this from happening. In addition, remember to eat slowly and chew all food thoroughly.


Eat specific hiatal hernia-friendly vegetables to help relieve symptoms while keeping your meals nutritious and healthy. According to, vegetables that will ease the symptoms of hiatal hernia include artichokes, cabbage, kohlrabi, sweet potatoes, and squash.


Eat bananas and avocados, as they are unlikely to cause problems related to a hiatal hernia, according to Papayas and pineapples tend to balance the acidity of the contents in the stomach and should also be enjoyed. Grapes, green apples, or acidic fruits, such as oranges and tomatoes, are not generally recommended but may be acceptable for certain people.


Several culinary herbs should be included in recipes for those living with a hiatal hernia, according to Recommended herbs include fennel, mint, aloe, anise, arrowroot, and cumin.

Keep A Food Log

Perhaps the most important tool available to a person living with a hiatal hernia is a food log. Write down everything you eat and when symptoms occur. These log entries should be kept accurately and include all foods eaten, all beverages consumed, and all the episodes of pain associated with the condition. Do not forget to include the times of meals, drinks, and pain for tracking purposes. After keeping this log only a short time, you will likely be able to determine which foods specifically trigger symptoms so that you may avoid them in the future. This practice will also help you learn what foods you can enjoy without the fear of painful symptoms.

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About the Author

Lee Morgan is a fiction writer and journalist. His writing has appeared for more than 15 years in many news publications including the "Tennesseean," the "Tampa Tribune," "West Hawaii Today," the "Honolulu Star Bulletin" and the "Dickson Herald," where he was sports editor. He holds a Bachelor of Science in mass communications from Middle Tennessee State University.