Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, is a medical condition caused when the lower esophageal sphincter, the opening between the stomach and the esophagus, doesn't close properly or opens when it shouldn't. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, the reason some people develop GERD is unknown. Heartburn is one of the most common GERD symptoms in adults which may be worsened by certain foods.
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GERD and Cucumbers
Cucumbers are not specifically restricted from the diet of a GERD sufferer. While acidic foods may worsen heartburn symptoms for people with GERD, cucumbers are alkaline. Still, the alkalinity or acidity of a food does not affect how the lower esophageal sphincter works, so you could experience GERD symptoms after eating any food. If you find that cucumbers tend to aggravate your symptoms, reduce or eliminate them from your diet. Keep a log in which you record foods eaten and GERD symptoms to help you identify other troublesome foods.
Heartburn Trigger Foods
Trigger foods may differ from person to person, but some foods are commonly associated with heartburn in GERD sufferers. Tomatoes or foods made with tomato sauce may aggravate GERD symptoms. Orange juice, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, fatty foods, peppermint, spicy foods, garlic and onion are among the other potentially bothersome foods and beverages.
Meal Size and Abdominal Fat
Eating any meal in excess or wearing tight-fitting clothes may cause or worsen GERD symptoms due to excess pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter. Lying down within three hours of eating may also be problematic. If you are overweight, you may be able to lessen symptoms by losing weight. Excess abdominal fat may push the bottom the stomach, causing acid to back up into the esophagus. Ask your doctor whether losing weight may improve your symptoms.
If you choose to eliminate certain types of food from your diet such as citrus fruits, you may benefit from taking a multivitamin to fill any nutritional gaps. Talk to your doctor about how any dietary supplements may interact with your prescription medications. Avoid chewing gum, eating hard candy and drinking carbonated beverages. Swallowing excess air or eating anything that causes you to burp may aggravate your symptoms by allowing acid to enter your esophagus with the air. Since nicotine affects the function of the lower esophageal sphincter, avoid using tobacco products. To lessen GERD symptoms overnight, elevate the head of your bed 6 to 8 inches by placing blocks under your bed posts. You may also sleep on a cushioned wedge to use gravity to keep acid from backing into your esophagus while you sleep.