Most of us have experienced heartburn at one time or another — say, after indulging in spicy chicken wings late at night. Such isolated incidents of heartburn can usually be treated with an over-the-counter antacid.
If you find, however, that you experience heartburn more frequently without any discernible cause — or if other symptoms accompany your heartburn (such as a sore throat, cough, or bitter or sour taste in the mouth), then you might be suffering from acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
If that sounds like you, then you can learn more about this condition, as well as how to combat it with a high protein diet plan, by reading on!
First, it’s worth explaining the difference between acid reflux and heartburn. Acid reflux occurs when the acid in your stomach moves backward, up into your oesophagus. Usually, this is prevented by a muscle between the stomach and the oesophagus called the lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS), which tightens after food moves into the stomach.
The LOS serves this one purpose, to provide a barrier between the stomach and the oesophagus to prevent stomach fluids from reaching the throat. When the LOS muscle is weak or malfunctioning, acid reflux can result. Regurgitation, the sensation that fluids or foods are moving up into the oesophagus, can accompany Heartburn. Regurgitation is an “alert” symptom, and you should always contact a GORD expert for an evaluation of your condition if you are experiencing this more than once or twice a month.
LEARN MORE:The symptoms of acid reflux – GORD 101
Too many adults ignore their heartburn and other symptoms resulting from acid reflux. However, if you experience heartburn or regurgitation more than twice a week, the acid from the stomach may create inflammation of the membrane of the oesophagus.
If left untreated, GORD can result in scarring, bleeding, and ulcers in the oesophagus; a precancerous condition called Barrett’s Oesophagus (BO). Ignoring BO can lead to a form of oesophageal cancer known as adenocarcinoma (AC).
Are you at risk of these complications? People who are more likely to experience acid reflux or GORD include:
- people who are overweight or obese
- people with asthma
- pregnant women (often only during pregnancy)
- hiatal hernia patients
LEARN MORE:Acid reflux and potential complications
Patients are frequently prescribed a class of medication called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs). Two of the commonly known over-the-counter proton pump inhibitors are Nexium and Prilosec. They work by reducing the production of stomach acid. Antacids simply neutralize the acid.
As with most medications, proton pump inhibitors only address the symptoms of acid reflux. They will not prevent the symptoms from reoccurring, nor can they improve or eliminate the original, underlying problem. Consequently, reflux will continue (often without symptoms) and your condition can progress to complications such as BE or AC.
Most healthcare practitioners say that antacids and proton pump inhibitors are safe for occasional use. But long-term reliance on products like Prilosec and Prevacid has been linked by the FDA to bone loss (and osteoporosis), pneumonia, and deficiencies in vitamin B-12 and magnesium.
LEARN MORE:Are long-term PPIs the right choice for treating acid reflux?
A GORD-friendly eating plan, which is essentially a high protein diet that avoids certain foods, is superior to medication because it can prevent or stop reflux when combined with a few other lifestyle changes. Let’s first focus on the elements of a high protein diet and then move on to the necessary lifestyle changes that will help you enjoy eating again, reflux-free.
Designing a High Protein Diet that Works for You
The goal of a GORD-friendly high protein diet is to reduce your acid reflux symptoms, and that type diet has several attributes:
- Low-fat content – Less fat requires less bile and acid for digestion and faster digestion time.
- High-protein content – More protein per ounce, more health benefits.
- Correct portion size – We think a 3.5 – 4.0 ounce is ideal for high-protein meats with an additional ounce or two for fish based on the fat content. Total daily consumption should be around 6.0 ounces.
High protein diet that is low in overall fat and saturated fat
There are a lot of foods that contain protein such as beef, chicken, and fish. However, it is important to differentiate between low-fat and high-fat selections.The Mayo Clinicagrees:
“If you want to follow a high-protein diet, choose your protein wisely. Good choices include soy protein, beans, nuts, fish, skinless poultry, lean beef, pork and low-fat dairy products. Avoid processed meats.”
For example, red meats are packed with protein, vitamin B-12, and iron. Some cuts are much leaner in fat than others as noted in the lists below:
- Sirloin tip steak – 4 oz. – 7 g fat / 3 g Sat fat / 23 g protein
- Eye of round steak – 4 oz. – 10 g fat / 4 g Sat fat / 23 g protein
- Top sirloin steak – 4 oz. – 12 g fat / 5 g Sat fat / 23 g protein
- New York strip steak – 4 oz.- 17 g fat / 7 g Sat fat / 23 g protein
- Filet mignon – 4 oz. – 20 g fat / 8 g Sat fat / 29 g protein
Fish have similar, but improved nutritional profiles. However, there is still a significant difference between high-fat and low-fat fish. As you can see from the list below, fish selection is important as well:
- Cod (broiled) – 6 oz. – 2 g fat / 0 g Sat fat / 38 g protein
- Rainbow trout (broiled) – 6 oz. – 8 g fat / 2 g Sat fat / 44 g protein
- Swordfish (broiled) – 6 oz. – 8 g fat / 2 g Sat fat / 42 g protein
- Atlantic salmon (baked) – 6 oz. – 14 g fat / 2 g Sat fat / 44 g protein
These nutritional profiles highlight that selection from within different food groups is critical to how much fat and protein we consume, along with the potential for acid reflux symptoms. The less fat means faster digestion with less acid and fewer symptoms.
You still need fats and carbohydrates in your diet
Don’t get us wrong, you need balance in your high protein diet, and some fats and carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet.
Carbohydrates are important since they provide much of your body’s short-term energy, so we don’t want to skimp here. Proteins are for energy too, but it takes longer to break them down than carbohydrates. Fats are also critical to your body since they improve vitamin absorption, which is necessary for your immune system. But as we know, too much fat can also cause severe health issues.
There is a wide range in the number of grams of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins that you can consume daily. For an adult targeting a calorie intake of 1,990 calories, a goal might be something like this:
- Carbohydrates – 236 g
- Proteins – 95 g
- Fats – 63 g
Since that is a target, and our diet changes day to day, consider a daily range such as those noted below:
- Carbohydrates – 200 g to 300 g
- Proteins – 50 g to 170 g
- Fats – 45 g to 75 g
If you are considering a high protein diet, we suggest that you do more research at top medical sites like mayoclinic.com. Additionally, we highly recommend that you work closely with your family doctor to monitor your progress and fine-tune your diet to your lifestyle, medical issues, and specific weight and fitness needs.
LEARN MORE:5 Steps to an effective acid reflux diet
Lifestyle Changes to Compliment Your High Protein
Eating more protein is a great start, but you are not done. We recommend several lifestyle changes that should be made as part of a comprehensive program to reduce GORD symptoms.
Several Other Trigger Foods to Avoid
Unfortunately, some of the culprits of acid reflux are also the substances that we enjoy the most. In addition to fatty foods, these include chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and peppermint.
Foods That Irritate the Oesophagus and Trigger Symptoms
If you’re already prone to reflux, it’s a good idea to steer clear of foods and beverages that may irritate the oesophageal lining — to avoid not only discomfort but also the development of ulcers. These include acidic items like tomatoes, tomato products, citrus fruits, and orange or grapefruit juices. Garlic can also be irritating, as can chili peppers or foods made with chilies. However, many adults can tolerate small amounts of each or the dried version.
Get Your Fibre
Eating foods that are high in dietary fibre is one essential aspect of an acid reflux diet plan. Of course, doing so is beneficial to your health in many other ways, as well. Choose unprocessed plant foods like vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts, beans, and legumes.
There is also an added benefit to choosing a high-fibre diet. These foods will fill you up, leaving you satisfied and much less likely to seek out those high fat-foods that can exacerbate your acid reflux symptoms.
What can you drink to minimize heartburn and reflux? Water is the best choice. We recommend a daily amount using the following formula: daily water in ounces = your weight in pounds / 2. At 180 pounds, we recommend 90 ounces of water daily. Another benefit of drinking more water is that you will avoid those hunger pangs that cause most adults to snack and overeat.
We also suggest avoiding too much water during a meal and for 60 minutes after a meal. Acid is necessary for proper and fast digestion; so don’t dilute it with water during or directly after the meal.
Non-caffeinated teas (preferably green teas), non-citrus fruit juices, and low fat / no-fat milk are also acceptable. We highly recommend that you avoid sodas and any carbonated beverages. They will bloat the stomach and put pressure on the diaphragm and the LES.
Stick to Smaller Meals
An important part of a high protein diet plan is consuming several smaller meals and snacks throughout the day, rather than just two or three large ones. Strive to eat a small, high-protein breakfast (eggs and low-fat yogurt for example) within 30 minutes of getting out of bed.
Three small meals and two snacks spread throughout the day will keep your blood sugars in balance. More importantly, with the additional water consumption, you will not feel the urge to overeat or take that second helping.
Resist the After-Meal Nap
Not much is more tempting than a nice lie-down after you’ve consumed a filling meal, but resist the temptation unless you want to be awakened by the discomfort of reflux symptoms. Stand or sit upright, and let gravity help keep the stomach’s contents where they belong: in the stomach. That is more important at night. Don’t go to bed within three hours of eating your last meal.
You already know there are dozens of excellent reasons to quit your smoking habit. Helping to alleviate acid reflux is just one more. Smoking weakens the LOS, resulting in more GERD symptoms. If you need help kicking nicotine, there are plenty of resources available.
Many people think of heartburn from acid reflux as an inconvenience, akin to a case of the sniffles or a stubbed toe. However, those who suffer from these conditions on an ongoing basis understand living with this disease can be very difficult. Remember, GORD is a progressive disease – only you can stop it from progressing!
If you are already experiencing frequent heartburn and other acid reflux symptoms, or your primary care doctor diagnosed you with acid reflux disease, you need to start working with an expert partner.
We encourage you to contact aGORD expertwho can help you put together a high protein diet plan, and offer you additional tips and encouragement to design your path to relief and good health.
This article is from Reflux MD –Try a high protein diet to reduce acid reflux symptoms (refluxmd.com)
Is a high protein diet good for acid reflux? ›
Most experts recommend a high protein diet. A GORD-friendly eating plan, which is essentially a high protein diet that avoids certain foods, is superior to medication because it can prevent or stop reflux when combined with a few other lifestyle changes.Which foods relax the esophageal sphincter? ›
Fatty, spicy or fried foods relax the lower esophageal sphincter as well as delay stomach emptying and therefore cause acid reflux.Is protein good for silent reflux? ›
One 2020 study found that people with silent reflux who eat a diet that is low in protein but high in sugary, acidic, and fatty foods experience more episodes of reflux than people who adjust their diet to increase their intake of protein. Some foods high in protein include: eggs.Does a high protein diet cause acid reflux? ›
Protein is one of the most essential nutrients in any healthy diet. However, many high-protein foods are also high in fat, and this can cause acid reflux and heartburn in those who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).Is peanut butter good for acid reflux? ›
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center lists peanut butter as a good option for people with acid reflux. You should choose unsweetened, natural peanut butter when possible. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center specifies that smooth peanut butter is best.What ice cream is good for acid reflux? ›
Wondering why we chose this flavour for your heartburn, out of all those other mouth-watering flavours? It is because vanilla ice-cream is just another version of cold milk (that is frozen) thought to be a good natural remedy for acidity.What cereal is good for acid reflux? ›
Oatmeal has been a whole-grain breakfast favorite for generations. It is a good source of fiber, so it keeps you feeling full and promotes regularity. Oats also absorb stomach acid and reduce symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).Does ice cream work for acid reflux? ›
Milk and dairy products are high in fat and tend to make heartburn worse. When you have frequent GERD symptoms, like heartburn, eating high-fat dairy products like cheese can aggravate your symptoms. Furthermore, cold dairy products like ice cream can actually numb and inhibit the lower esophageal sphincter's function.Are grapes good for acid reflux? ›
While many apples and grapes are regarded as OK for someone with acid reflux to eat, it is wise to avoid particularly sour varieties of these fruits as well.Is Eggs good for acid reflux? ›
Egg Whites: Eggs are a popular food item in terms of easing acid reflux, but some people find that the yolks have a high fat content which can trigger acid reflux. Egg whites are the low-fat, low-cholesterol option to help with acid reflux.
Is Avocado good for acid reflux? ›
Avocados. Avocados go down easy in more ways than one: These low-acidic fruits (yes, they are actually fruit) are smooth and creamy, making for an easy passage down your esophagus—important for people with acid reflux who often experience inflammation or irritation of their esophageal lining.Is yogurt good for acid reflux? ›
Yogurt that is not too sour is also excellent for acid reflux, because of the probiotics that help normalize bowel function. Yogurt also provides protein, and soothes stomach discomfort, often providing a cooling sensation. It is easy to choose foods by looking them up to see how acidic they are.How do you flush out acid reflux? ›
- Eat smaller meals, but more often. ...
- Eat in a slow, relaxed manner. ...
- Remain upright after meals. ...
- Avoid late-night eating. ...
- Don't exercise immediately after meals. ...
- Tilt your torso with a bed wedge. ...
- Stay away from carbonated beverages.
The yolk which is softly cooked has a PH of 7, a whole egg that is hard-boiled has a moderate acidity (PH of 6.0 to 6.5), and the white part of the egg is on the scale of slightly acidic to neutral having a PH of 7.0 to 9.0.Is almond milk good for acid reflux? ›
“If you tend to have reflux, almond milk is a great balancer,” Chutkan says. “It's alkaline so it helps neutralize acidic foods.Is banana good for acid reflux? ›
2. Bananas. This low-acid fruit can help neutralize stomach acid by coating an irritated esophageal lining. And not only are bananas alkaline, they're also rich in pectin, a soluble fiber that helps keeps food flowing nicely through the digestive tract.Is milk protein good for acid reflux? ›
Milk is an excellent protein source, too! Researchers believe that protein helps treat heartburn and acid reflux because it stimulates the production of gastrin. Gastrin is also involved in controlling the production of stomach acid.What fruit is good for acid reflux? ›
Melons – Watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew are all low-acid fruits that are among the best foods for acid reflux.What kind of salad dressing is good for acid reflux? ›
Mix 1/4 Cup olive oil with 1/4 Cup sugar free apricot preserves. Add 1 1/2 TBSP Apple Cider or Rice Wine Vinegar, 1 TBSP water and 1/2 tsp ginger.Are apples good for acid reflux? ›
Apples are a good source of calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It's thought that these alkalizing minerals may help relieve symptoms of acid reflux.
Is chocolate good for acid reflux? ›
The bottom line. Many doctors would advise against eating chocolate if you have acid reflux. As with many other conditions, your reflux will likely be unique to you. This means that what triggers and what improves acid reflux symptoms can vary depending on the person.Is coconut milk ice cream good for acid reflux? ›
Most coconut milk brands use fresh coconut to make the finished product, which means that it's alkaline-forming. Such products help neutralize stomach acids, thus preventing acid reflux and GERD symptoms.Are strawberries good for acid reflux? ›
Foods to Eat on an Acid Reflux Diet
Noncitrus fruits: Apples, bananas, blueberries, and strawberries are safe bets.
Drinks such as ginger tea, certain fruit and vegetable juices, and plant-based milks may benefit people experiencing acid reflux and heartburn. Avoiding citrus juices, carbonated beverages, and alcohol can also help to reduce symptom frequency and severity.Is Quaker Oats good for acid reflux? ›
Oatmeal is a whole grain and therefore is high in fibre, which promotes healthy digestion and movement. What's more, oatmeal can help to absorb acid in the stomach and reduce symptoms of acid reflux. Oatmeal is also high in selenium, which can help to coat and protect the oesophagus from painful acids.What is the best milk for acid reflux? ›
There are a variety of these products available, including:
- soy milk.
- flax milk.
- cashew milk.
- coconut milk.
- oat milk.
- almond milk.
Bland foods like saltine crackers pass easily through the stomach, and there is evidence to suggest that they: Soak up some of the irritation-causing acid that sits in an empty stomach. Prevent acid being released in the stomach (heavier foods tend to cause more acid production).Is cucumbers good for acid reflux? ›
Dozens of fruits and vegetables are off-limits for those living with GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease. But if you eat a cucumber, acid reflux won't get worse. This vegetable is alkaline and contains no fat, so it's unlikely to aggravate your symptoms.Is popcorn okay for acid reflux? ›
Whole grains can be complete foods, like popcorn or quinoa, or ingredients in other foods, like whole-wheat flour in bread. The amount of fiber found in whole-grain foods may help absorb stomach acid.Is green tea good for acid reflux? ›
Is green tea good for acid reflux? Green tea and black tea contain some tannins and while this is lower than the amount found in coffee, tannins can encourage the stomach to secrete acid. Be aware that these teas also contain caffeine. Although moderate consumption of green tea shouldn't cause problems for most people.
What fruits are not good for acid reflux? ›
The following fruits and veggies commonly lead to reflux: pineapple. citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes. tomatoes (and tomato-based foods)Is Cranberry Juice Good for acid reflux? ›
Cranberry juice can temporarily make conditions, such as acid reflux, worse because it is mildly acidic.Is ginger ale good for acid reflux? ›
Steer clear of ginger ale, too. The carbonation and sugar could both aggravate your acid reflux.Is olive oil good for acid reflux? ›
A healthy fat like extra virgin olive oil may help combat the symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (or GERD) according to a recent article in Webmd.com.What foods are natural antacids? ›
- Ginger. One natural food that may help reduce heartburn symptoms is ginger, which has anti-inflammatory properties, is rich in antioxidants. ...
- Lean Meats. ...
- Whole Grains. ...
- Vegetables. ...
- Non-Citrus Fruits.
Raw or cooked, vegetables are generally good for an acid reflux diet. Be sure to avoid onions, tomatoes, or peppers. Recommended vegetables include all root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, and carrots. Other great vegetables include mushrooms, fennel, and celery.What can I take instead of omeprazole? ›
- Prilosec OTC.
A tiny bit of chocolate will unlikely affect you, but if you do suffer from acid reflux, avoid dark chocolate at all costs. Dark chocolate contains high levels of cocoa.What is a good breakfast if you have acid reflux? ›
- Low-Fat Yogurt With Berries. ...
- Whole-Grain Toast With Natural Jam. ...
- Overnight Oats With Apples and Maple Syrup. ...
- Egg White Omelet Cups With Veggies. ...
- Fruit and Spinach Smoothie.
Conclusion. The consumption of high-fat, low-protein, high-sugar, acid foods, and beverages is associated with a higher number of proximal reflux episodes at the MII-pH, according to the global refluxogenic score of LPR patients.
Is Eggs good for acid reflux? ›
Egg Whites: Eggs are a popular food item in terms of easing acid reflux, but some people find that the yolks have a high fat content which can trigger acid reflux. Egg whites are the low-fat, low-cholesterol option to help with acid reflux.Does milk help with acid reflux? ›
Milk and dairy products are high in fat and tend to make heartburn worse. When you have frequent GERD symptoms, like heartburn, eating high-fat dairy products like cheese can aggravate your symptoms. Furthermore, cold dairy products like ice cream can actually numb and inhibit the lower esophageal sphincter's function.What snacks can I eat with acid reflux? ›
Lettuce, celery and sweet peppers – These mild green veggies are easy on the stomach – and won't cause painful gas. Brown rice – This complex carbohydrate is mild and filling – just don't serve it fried. Melons – Watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew are all low-acid fruits that are among the best foods for acid reflux.What bread is good for acid reflux? ›
Whole grains — High fiber, whole-grains like brown rice, oatmeal, and whole grain breads help stop symptoms of acid reflux. They are a good source of fiber and may help absorb stomach acid.What tea is good for acid reflux? ›
Chamomile tea is commonly used to fight symptoms of acid reflux and GERD. It's known for its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to reduce digestive symptoms such as upset stomach. Consuming chamomile tea can also reduce stress which is a key trigger for acid reflux and GERD symptoms.What happens when you don't eat enough protein? ›
"Typically, if people aren't getting enough protein, their bodies will break down muscle to get more of it," says Bonci. "And if they're losing muscle, they're also holding on to fat stores, so their body composition could be changing in an adverse way."Is yogurt good for acid reflux? ›
Yogurt that is not too sour is also excellent for acid reflux, because of the probiotics that help normalize bowel function. Yogurt also provides protein, and soothes stomach discomfort, often providing a cooling sensation. It is easy to choose foods by looking them up to see how acidic they are.How do you get rid of acid reflux in your throat? ›
- Antacids that neutralize stomach acid. Antacids containing calcium carbonate, such as Mylanta, Rolaids and Tums, may provide quick relief. ...
- Medications to reduce acid production. ...
- Medications that block acid production and heal the esophagus.
Is pasta good for acid reflux? By itself or with little sauce and cheese, pasta shouldn't trigger acid reflux. However, specific ingredients and toppings can lead to heartburn in people prone to it, such as heavy tomato or cream sauces, lots of garlic and spices, and carbonara (cream, cheese, and bacon).Is Toast good for acid reflux? ›
Toast is easier to digest than bread as the toasting process breaks down some of the carbohydrates. Toast can help decrease nausea and reduce heartburn, but not all toast is the same. Whole wheat bread is more healthful than white bread but is high in fiber and can be difficult for some people to eat.
Are grapes good for acid reflux? ›
While many apples and grapes are regarded as OK for someone with acid reflux to eat, it is wise to avoid particularly sour varieties of these fruits as well.Is green tea good for acid reflux? ›
Is green tea good for acid reflux? Green tea and black tea contain some tannins and while this is lower than the amount found in coffee, tannins can encourage the stomach to secrete acid. Be aware that these teas also contain caffeine. Although moderate consumption of green tea shouldn't cause problems for most people.Are apples good for acid reflux? ›
Apples are a good source of calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It's thought that these alkalizing minerals may help relieve symptoms of acid reflux.Is banana good for acid reflux? ›
Banana is considered to be an alkaline food because of its high potassium content. A ripe banana can combat stomach acid and coat stomach lining to help prevent heartburn and other reflux symptoms.