Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as acid reflux, is a condition in which stomach acid flows backward into the chest and throat. Although largely untested, proponents of the alkaline diet suggest that a diet high in alkalizing foods such as vegetables, fruits, yogurt and lean proteins may help reduce symptoms of acid reflux. For best results, talk to your doctor about the most effective lifestyle changes and treatments for your condition.
According to MayoClinic.com, acid reflux occurs when a backward flow of stomach acid moves up the esophagus tube connecting the stomach and throat. Although heartburn symptoms are likely to occur due to indigestion from eating fried and fatty foods, an acid reflux episode can involve a variety of painful symptoms including: coughing, chest pain, difficulty swallow, food regurgitation and a burning sour liquid in the throat. Many people experience a higher risk of acid reflux when the esophagus is situated at a horizontal angle while sleeping.
Proponents of the alkaline diet suggest that eating certain alkalizing foods can improve your digestion by raising the pH level of your body. The alkaline food chart on the Wolfe Clinic website recommends a variety of fruits, vegetables and other alkalizing foods including: asparagus, celery, eggplant, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, kiwi, limes, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, papayas, pears, tangerines, almonds, chestnuts, millet, hemp seed, squash seeds, sunflower seeds, whey protein powder, fermented tempeh and yogurt. Acidic foods and substances range from obvious choices, such as coffee and alcohol, to otherwise healthy foods such as nuts, grains and beans.
Acid Reflux Diet
The alkaline diet has many similarities to the acid reflux diet recommended by institutions such as the McKinley Health Center. According to their guidelines, individuals suffering from acid reflux should eschew high-fat foods and beverages for healthier alternatives, such as apple juice, bananas, whole-wheat toast, vegetable soup, lettuce, fruit salads, green salads and steamed broccoli. Fried food, considered acidic by the alkaline diet, decreases the pressure of the lower esophageal sphincter, increasing the chances of acid reflux. Also, large meals increase the likelihood of a reflux episode because they require more gastric acid in order to fully digest them -- something that is less likely to happen while subsisting on fruits and vegetables.
While eating alkaline foods may have a beneficial effect on your acid reflux symptoms, there are currently no peer-reviewed studies linking the two together. Talk to your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet and always start small when it comes to making changes in your lifestyle habits.