Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a medical condition that leads to a burning sensation in the chest. This sensation usually occurs after consuming certain foods and beverages. There are some other triggers of GERD, like lack of sleep, stress, and lack of physical activity. The symptoms can manifest suddenly, causing discomfort and frustration. A careful analysis of the trigger foods for GERD can help narrow down the causes, which, in turn, can help prevent attacks. Be advised that GERD symptoms may mask a more serious bowel disease (such as Crohn’s or colitis) and require doctor-supervised treatments.
Here are some of the common trigger foods for GERD, and also some ways to track these triggers and avoid them:
1. Create a food journal
Maintain a food journal to write down all the trigger foods for GERD and also the other things troubling you like stress, lack of sleep, or any other reason. There is no specific way of writing and maintaining this journal, and the only important thing is to note down all that you eat, drink, and do daily. Also, jot down the timing of each activity.
Keeping a log of your meals, drinks, and activities will help understand what foods and activities worsen the symptoms.
Maintain this journal for a week to three weeks so that you can experiment with different kinds of foods and drinks and also perform activities at different times. This will help you understand the potential triggers and eliminate them to prevent future discomfort.
2. Summarizing the data
Once the journal is complete, it is essential to take account of the logs and note down the reactions to different types of foods so that you can know which foods to eliminate from your diet and which ones to retain.
Once you have identified the trigger foods for GERD, write them down. This will be the starting point for eliminating foods that cause heartburn from your diet. This procedure might take longer than expected, so keep at it till you find out the problematic foods for you.
Once the trigger foods for GERD are identified, continue taking notes as you avoid those foods and check on your body’s reaction. Also, note down the activities that were worsening the symptoms. Another thing to keep in mind is that the foods do not cause all the problems. The portion sizes are also equally important, so reduce the portion sizes and eat smaller and more frequent meals to check for reflux symptoms and alleviate them.
3. Potential trigger foods and beverages for GERD
- Spicy foods
- High-fat foods
- Fried foods
- Citrus fruits
- Carbonated drinks
- Tea and coffee
It’s best to avoid these foods as most of them stimulate the production of acid in the stomach, while some others relax the Lower Esophageal Sphincter or LES, which separates the stomach from the esophagus. This leads the stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn. If you suffer from chronic GERD, or suspect a more serious bowel disease, talk to your doctor about potential treatments—including Stelara, Entyvio, Otezla, Kesimpta, and Linzess medications.