The buildup of acid in your stomach can cause an uncomfortable burning sensation. It may result in heartburn, belching, bloating, indigestion, reflux, nausea and a sour taste in your mouth. Acid may accumulate in the stomach for a number of reasons including heredity, diet, excessive alcohol consumption and abnormally high acid production. If left untreated, a buildup of stomach acid can lead to ulcers. Diet plays an important role in controlling stomach acid. Certain foods can actually provide relief from excess stomach acid.
Certain fruits contribute to the acidity of the stomach, causing irritation and inflammation. Other fruits are less acidic and will help neutralize the stomach. Aim to eat two to four servings of fruit per day. A serving is equal to 1 medium fresh fruit, 1/2 cup canned, frozen or cut-up fruit, or 4 oz of 100 percent fruit juice. Apples, grapes, cranberries, bananas, peaches, pears, melon and berries are typically well-tolerated. Avoid citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit and pineapple.
Most vegetables are acceptable on a low acid diet. Eat two to four servings of vegetables daily; a serving equals one cup raw vegetables, 1/2 cup raw vegetables or 4 oz. of 100 percent vegetable juice. In general, broccoli, cabbage, potatoes, carrots, green beans and peas are good choices. When cooking, steam, roast, boil or stir-fry the vegetables. Avoid fried, canned or creamed varieties. If you experience any pain, discomfort or excess gas, avoid red bell peppers, onions, garlic, chilies, sauerkraut, tomato products and vegetable juices.
Dairy products are a good source of protein, calcium and vitamin D. Consume two to three servings from the dairy group per day. One cup of milk, 8 oz. of yogurt, 4 oz. of pudding, 2 oz. of cheese, and 1 egg is equivalent to a serving of dairy. Avoid whole fat milk, high fat creams, chocolate milk and strongly flavored cheeses. Select skim or 1 percent milk, low-fat yogurt, fat-free cream cheese, goat cheese, feta cheese fat-free sour cream.
Bread, rice, pasta, cereal and other grains are acceptable on a low acid diet. Select low-fat varieties when possible. Avoid any product made with whole milk or cream. Whole-wheat, white or multi-grain bread; oatmeal, cream of wheat or cereal grains; saltine or graham crackers; white or brown rice; pasta, macaroni or noodles and snack foods such as pretzels, rice cakes, popcorn and corn chips are good choices. Eat six to ten servings a day from the grain group. A serving equals 1/2 cup of dry or cooked cereal, rice or pasta; one slice of bread; six crackers or one cup of snack food.
Meat and Meat Substitutes
You should eat between two to four servings of meat, poultry and fish each day. A serving is equal to 2 to 3 oz. of lean meat, poultry or fish; two eggs; 1/3 cup of beans or dried peas; 3 oz. of tofu or 2 tbsp. peanut butter. Avoid high-fat meats, cold cuts, chicken wings, sausage, bacon, poultry skin and tough, fried or greasy meats. Choose foods such as skinless chicken breasts, lean ground beef, egg whites, fish with no added fat, tofu and beans. When cooking, bake, broil, grill, poach or roast without fat whenever possible.
You may not realize that what you drink also affects the acidity of your stomach. Water is the ultimate beverage. You should try to drink six to eight cups of liquid per day. Caffeine-free beverages such as soft drinks and drink mixes; low-acid juices such as apple, grape or cranberry, and herbal teas are acceptable beverages. You should avoid alcohol, coffee, mint tea, caffeinated beverages and hot cocoa.