When you swallow, food passes through your esophagus to your stomach. Heartburn and gastrointestinal esophageal reflux disease, or GERD, are the most common esophageal disorders, but a bruised esophagus can also cause tremendous pain when you eat. A soft diet can reduce the pain that you get from eating, and a nutritionist can help you design a nutritionally adequate diet for your condition.
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A soft food diet is common for individuals who have had surgery or who have trouble chewing or swallowing, and it may allow your bruised esophagus to heal by preventing further irritation. A soft diet emphasizes naturally soft or highly processed foods, and it restricts foods that may scratch or tear your esophagus. The diet may also limit foods that cause gas or bloating because these conditions can also place stress on your esophagus, according to the Langone Medical Center.
Foods to Eat
A soft food diet allows soft raw, cooked and canned fruits without the skin, and canned and cooked vegetables, according to the Langone Medical Center. You can have cooked refined grains, such as white pasta and rice, and cereals as long as they do not have nuts or seeds. A soft diet includes milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and regular cheese, as well as well-cooked, tender meats, tofu, eggs and peanut butter. Other soft foods are ice cream, pudding, sugar and beverages.
Foods to Avoid
You may feel pain when you eat hard foods such as most raw vegetables, nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and fruits with seeds or pits. Other foods to avoid are whole grain breads and other baked goods, popcorn, gristly meats, fish with bones and fried foods, such as bacon, French fries and eggs. Spices, jams with seeds and coconut are also likely to injure your bruised esophagus.
Even if a food is on your list of allowed foods for a soft diet, avoid it if it causes pain when you swallow it. A soft food diet may relieve pain or prevent further symptoms, but it is important to determine and treat any underlying medical conditions that may have caused your condition. For example, a bruised esophagus may result from esophageal varices, which are a sign of liver disease, according to Medline Plus. To be on the safe side, consult your doctor if you have a bruised esophagus.