Nothing can ruin a good meal like acid reflux. That burning chest pain is just so uncomfortable. “Typically, lifestyle factors like smoking, being overweight, or not being physically active can increase a person’s risk of developing acid reflux,” says registered dietician and nutritionist Sammi Haber. “As one-time occurrences, reflux can be caused by different eating behaviors like eating too quickly, laying down immediately after eating, or going to sleep right after eating.” So what can we eat and do to reduce acid reflux? We asked Haber to break down the best foods and to give us her tips to prevent it. Scroll down to see what she suggests.
“Ginger can be soothing to the stomach, which helps if the stomach lining is irritated,” says Haber.
Like ginger, Haber says bananas are also soothing for the stomach.
“In general, following a healthy diet can help to prevent symptoms of reflux, which is why eating plenty of vegetables, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates is a good idea,” says Haber. Lean protein includes chicken, turkey, or fish.
Vegetables Haber recommends includes cauliflower, broccoli, and spinach. She also recommends certain eating behaviors to help reduce acid reflux. “Try to eat small, frequent meals instead of large meals. Focus on eating slowly and eating food thoroughly,” she says.
“Chewing gum (any flavor except for mint!) stimulates saliva to help move food down the esophagus,” says Haber.
For Haber, complex carbohydrates include potatoes and sweet potatoes. “These foods also don’t contain any of the typical reflux triggers—they’re not spicy, acidic, or high in fat,” she says.
Brown rice is also considered a complex carbohydrate. Another helpful tip to help reduce acid reflux is to keep a food diary. “Because reflux is so individualized, it’s helpful to keep track of which foods cause symptoms for you specifically. Keeping a food and symptom diary for a week can help to point out which common trigger foods to avoid and which foods don’t have an effect on your reflux at all,” says Haber.