Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a serious form of acid reflux that requires dietary changes. Several fruits and vegetables are safe to eat with GERD. Keep reading for more information on what fruits and vegetables you can include in your GERD dietary plan.
What is the GERD Diet?
Acid reflux occurs when stomach acids enter the lower portion of the esophagus. In some cases, according to AARP, acid reflux can progress into GERD. Symptoms of GERD can include chest pain, regurgitation of food, heartburn, wheezing and coughing.
Part of treating GERD involves changing your diet to help reduce acid reflux from occurring. Though you may have heard of a GERD diet, according to the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders, there is no single set of guidelines for a GERD diet.
Instead, a GERD diet has general rules about foods you should eat that may help your symptoms. It also has rules about what foods you might want to avoid. For example, foods you might want to avoid include high fat foods, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol and citrus.
According to International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders, your diet should include foods such as lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables. Some of the best fruits and vegetables to eat when you have GERD are listed below.
Read more: Apple Cider Benefits for Acid Reflux
Fruits Safe for GERD
If you have GERD, you should avoid citrus fruits. This includes both eating whole fruits, such as oranges and lemons, as well as drinking their juices.
While you may not think of a tomato as a fruit, tomatoes are in fact fruits, and they are very acidic. Because they are highly acidic, you should stay away from them whole or in sauces if you have GERD. Not only can tomatoes aggravate your acid reflux, but they can cause other unpleasant digestive side effects as well.
Read more: The 10 Worst Foods for Acid Reflux
Instead, both the AARP and the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders recommend bananas and melons. Both of these fruits have low acid levels. For example, the AARP points out that melons have a pH balance of 6.1, which means they are only mildly acidic.
In addition to helping reduce acid reflux, fruits may be effective in helping prevent you from developing GERD. A study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences in 2017, examined the effects of fruits and vegetables and the prevalence of GERD. The study found that those with the highest fruit intake had a 25 percent lower risk of developing GERD. Those who ate the most fruits and vegetables had a 33 percent lower risk of developing the condition.
Vegetables Safe for GERD
Vegetables are an important part of anyone's diet. However, some vegetables may be better for GERD than others.
For example, the AARP recommends that you eat green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, asparagus and Brussels sprouts. These vegetables have naturally-lower acid levels. These types of vegetables are also generally good for your digestive system overall.
In addition, University Hospitals recommend fennel for its low acidic value. They also recommend sweet peppers, lettuce, and celery in your diet, as they are easy on your stomach. Finally, they recommend including ginger in your diet. Ginger is typically used to season Asian style meals or teas, and may have some additional health benefits.
Potatoes are also a good option for a GERD safe diet. Potatoes are high in fiber, and have a low acidic value.
However, not all vegetables are good for a GERD safe diet. For example, you should avoid onions if you have GERD. This includes raw, cooked and onions in sauces.
Is This an Emergency?
- AARP: "5 Top Foods to Stave Off Acid Reflux Symptoms"
- International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders: "Diet Changes for GERD"
- Journal of Research in Medical Sciences: "The Relationship Between Fruit and Vegetable Intake with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease in Iranian Adults"
- University Hospitals: "The Best and Worst Foods for Acid Reflux"