However, there are multiple ways in which this flap opens when it is not meant to. Increased pressure in the stomach (intra-abdominal pressure) forces the esophageal flap to open and pushes stomach contents, including acid, into your esophagus. Foods that alter how much is yours worth? the functionality of the flap, either through relaxation or damage to cells, also lead to acid escaping from the stomach into the esophagus. The stomach acid in your esophagus then causes the burning sensation that is one of the many symptoms of acid reflux.
Sometimes people with acid reflux find that when and how they eat affects them more than what they eat. For example, eating large meals can cause heartburn, because the stomach becomes distended. You may have fewer symptoms if you eat small meals throughout the day. Also, try not to eat for at least a few hours before lying down or going to bed, because that can make reflux worse. If you have trouble with reflux when lying down, prop yourself up with pillows. Finally, people with reflux should avoid smoking, chewing gum or sucking on hard candy, all of which can make symptoms worse.
People with acid reflux can eat most foods, so it’s easy to follow a diet that falls in line with Food Guide Pyramid recommendations. Foods from each group-fruits and vegetables, meat, dairy and breads and grains-can all be eaten. Certain foods may even ease the symptoms of acid reflux. For example, low-fat dairy products such as milk or yogurt can help when reflux strikes. Just be sure to avoid whole milk and full-fat dairy products. And almost all meats, vegetables and grains can be eaten without any trouble.
With or without caffeine, coffee might promote reflux symptoms. However, some people with GERD tolerate coffee well. Pay attention to your symptoms, and only consume beverages that you tolerate well. In fact, the current guidelines from the American College of Gastroenterology (specialists in the digestive tract) no longer recommend routine dietary changes for the treatment of reflux and GERD. Carrageenan is a common additive in nondairy beverages and may contribute to digestive symptoms. Check your labels and avoid this additive if you have GERD.