“The healing power of nutrition from the inside out is undeniable” – spoken by Jennifer Klotz, nothing can be further from the truth, especially when on the topic of GERD. In the weeks gone by, we have gained an understanding of the why and the how of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and it is more than evident that the food we eat has a direct bearing on the accompanying heartburn and prolonged uneasiness.
A Food Diary can help pinpoint the dietary culprit/s. Alternately, ensuring that the following foods find their way on to your plate can make a comforting difference to reflux:
- Alkaline Ash Foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and nuts
- Whole grains instead of refined grains at main meals
- White meats, such as fish and poultry, instead of red meats
- Demulcent herbs such as liquorice and marshmallow root that can be brewed in hot water and consumed after meals
Habits that you would need to work on include:
- No post-meal nap or assuming a reclining position; this aggravates the upward movement of gastric contents
- A 2-hour gap between dinner and bedtime
- Elevating your head on 2-3 pillows when sleeping
- Ensuring that dinner is kept light – the proverbial pauper’s meal
- Grazing! Eating smaller quantities of food at each meal.
- More frequent meals/snacks (if needed) – at 2-hourly intervals – through the day
- Chewing your foods well, and not gulping them down
Vices that need control include smoking – the nicotine in cigarettes is known to relax the Lower Oesophageal Sphincter. Hence, chuck the butt to restore LES functioning. Take a closer look at the medications you take – antidepressants, painkillers, hormone replacers, and a few others can be the cause of GERD.
Bending forward after a meal – sweeping or swabbing the floor, exercising, playing with children – can also lead to reflux. And finally, if you are overweight or obese, losing kilos will prevent the weight-associated decrease in LES pressure that prevents it from closing when food is ingested. Small changes – big returns! Invest wisely and reap a digestive fortune!