Filled with common reflux triggers like tomatoes, peppers and oranges, the produce section of the supermarket can seem like a minefield for those who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), but it’s actually one of the best places to find reflux-friendly foods. If you choose wisely, adding more fresh produce to your diet can help you control and prevent acid reflux and heartburn naturally.
An Apple a Day Keeps the Heartburn Away
The skins and seeds of many fruits and vegetables contain high levels of fiber, which we need to keep our digestive systems functioning properly. Soluble fiber, which is found in many fruits and veggies, slows down the digestive system and may help us soak up excess acid to reduce the risk of reflux. Most fruits and vegetables are also low in fat and calories, so adding more of them to our diets can help us lose weight to control obesity-related reflux.
Picking the Perfect Produce
Despite the benefits of eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, you’ll need to be careful to select low-acid produce that doesn’t put you at risk of acid reflux.
Highly acidic fruits are among the most well-known reflux triggers. Most GERD sufferers will need to avoid:
Instead of these, choose from safe fruits like:
Some people consider papaya an especially valuable choice for GERD sufferers because the fruit contains an enzyme called papain, which is sometimes used to ease digestion in supplements and prescriptions. Though we are not yet certain if papain is helpful for acid reflux, papaya is a safe choice for GERD sufferers and may provide this added benefit.
Veggies that commonly cause gas have the potential to also cause acid reflux and heartburn in GERD sufferers, and are therefore best avoided. Brussels sprouts and turnips have this effect on many people, and you should be cautious with foods like broccoli, cabbage and beans to see how they affect you.
For many GERD sufferers, safe veggies include:
- Romaine and iceberg lettuce
Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables is a healthy choice for just about everyone, and can be an especially valuable step in controlling acid reflux. Still, remember to ask your doctor before making drastic changes to your diet if you suffer from GERD.