The esophagus connects the mouth to the stomach, allowing for food to pass through easily. An inflammation of the esophagus is known as esophagitis. It results in tissue damage to the esophagus. According to the Mayo Clinic, causes include oral medication, infection, allergies or the backup of stomach acids into the esophagus. Symptoms include painful swallowing and chest pain. Treatment often includes medication, but limiting certain foods may alleviate symptoms.
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Foods to Avoid
Certain foods are known to relax the esophageal sphincter, the valve that allows food to pass through the esophagus to the stomach. Consumption of such foods may result in a backup of stomach acids into the esophagus and cause esophagitis. Spicy foods, chocolate, caffeine, tomatoes, oranges, grapefruit, alcohol, tobacco and mint should be avoided to alleviate symptoms of esophagitis.
Foods to Include
Symptoms of esophagitis can be painful, making eating difficult. Choose soft foods like applesauce, oatmeal, grits, mashed potatoes, puddings, ice cream, custard, soft cooked eggs and high-protein shakes or smoothies to ensure adequate caloric intake. Limiting hard, solid foods and including liquids and soft foods can help symptoms to improve.
Methods to Alleviate Symptoms
Eat slowly and chew food completely. This allows food to pass through the esophagus and reduces pain. Eating several small meals throughout the day instead of three large meals may help the esophagus rest and reduce inflammation. Drink plenty of fluids while eating to alleviate swallowing difficulties. If symptoms persist or reoccur, contact a health care professional for medical attention.