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General Practice 2023

Diet for reflux: what to eat and what to avoid

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Diet for reflux: what to eat and what to avoid
Diet for reflux: what to eat and what to avoid

The diet for gastroesophageal reflux should be balanced and varied, and it is important to prioritize fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, such as brown rice or whole-grain pasta, and lean proteins, such as tofu, white fish, eggs or chicken.

However, during the diet it is recommended to avoid the consumption of foods that are difficult to digest, that cause gas or that cause stomach irritation, such as fried foods, snacks, refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, soft drinks, white pasta or sweets, and foods with caffeine, like coffee or chocolate, for example.

Reflux happens when stomach acid rises into the esophagus, especially after meals, causing symptoms such as burning, pain when swallowing, and regurgitation.Treatment mainly consists of changing eating habits. However, in some cases, the doctor may recommend the use of medication, or when medications fail to relieve the symptoms of reflux, the doctor may recommend surgery. Understand how reflux treatment is done.

Allowed foods

Foods that should be included in the diet are fresh fruits and vegetables, and it is also advisable to give preference to the consumption of low-fat meats, such as skinless chicken or turkey, as well as white fish and eggs.

Dairy products and dairy products must be low in fat, and consumption of skimmed milk and white cheeses, such as ricotta and cottage cheese is recommended.

If the person has symptoms, such as pain, heartburn or burning in the stomach, it is recommended to prioritize carbohydrates that are easily digested and that do not stay in the stomach for a long time, and in these cases, you can consume white rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes and white noodles, for example.However, if you do not have symptoms, you should consume carbohydrates rich in fiber, such as rice, pasta and wholemeal bread, potatoes with skin and legumes such as chickpeas, lentils and beans.

He althy fats such as olive oil, nuts and chestnuts can be consumed in small portions. In addition, it is possible to include ginger in the preparation of meals or in the form of tea, as it has anti-inflammatory properties, improving symptoms related to reflux.

Chamomile tea is also an interesting option to include in the diet, as it improves symptoms of poor digestion and has a calming effect on the stomach, relieving acidity and reflux. See other natural remedies for reflux.

Diet menu for reflux

The following table provides an example of a 3-day reflux diet menu.


Day 1

Day 2

Day 3


1 glass of unsweetened skim milk + 2 slices of bread with 1 slice of ricotta cheese + 1 small pear 1 low-fat yogurt with 1 tbsp of oatmeal soup and 1/2 banana, cut into slices 1 glass of almond milk + 1 fat-free scrambled egg + 1 slice of bread + 1/2 small papaya

Morning snack

1 small ripe mango + 2 walnuts 2 prunes + 2 col. uns alted roasted peanut soup 1 medium slice of melon + 2 Brazil nuts


1 fillet of roasted sea bass with 2 medium potatoes + 4 col of green beans, carrots and zucchini soup, cooked and seasoned with 1 col. olive oil dessert + 1 small slice of watermelon 1 medium grilled chicken breast + 3 col. rice soup + 2 col. bean soup + 1 saucer of lettuce, arugula and spinach salad, seasoned with 1 dessert spoon of olive oil + 1 fresh fig 3 col quinoa soup + 4 col chicory soup sautéed in col. of olive oil + 1 stewed skinless chicken thigh + 1 small banana

Afternoon snack

1 roasted red apple with ground cinnamon Sugar-free ginger tea + 3 pieces of toast and bread with 2 small slices of ricotta cheese 1 low-fat yogurt with 1 tablespoon chia seeds + 1 medium persimmon

The amounts included in the menu may vary according to age, sex, physical activity and whether or not the person has any other disease. Therefore, it is recommended to go through a consultation with a nutritionist so that the food plan is adapted to individual needs.

Foods to avoid

Foods directly influence the amount of acid that is produced in the stomach, so limiting certain foods that can increase acid concentration helps to improve symptoms in some people.

It is important to mention that the foods that worsen the symptoms of reflux can vary from person to person, and it is important to identify what these foods are and, thus, avoid their consumption. Foods that can worsen gastroesophageal reflux symptoms are:

  • High-fat foods, as these foods are digested slower, staying longer in the stomach, delaying gastric emptying and increasing acid production.Thus, it is recommended to avoid the consumption of red meat, sausages, bologna, French fries, ready-made sauces, mayonnaise, croissant, cookies, cakes, pizza, industrialized sauces, yellow cheeses, butter, margarine, lard, bacon, and milk. and integral derivatives;
  • Caffeine, as they can irritate the stomach mucosa, favoring reflux. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid foods that contain caffeine such as coffee, black tea, green tea, mate tea, soft drinks, energy drinks and chocolates;
  • Alcoholic beverages, especially fermented ones such as beers and wines, as they irritate the stomach and increase acid production;
  • Aerated drinks, such as sodas and sparkling water, as they increase pressure inside the stomach, causing discomfort;
  • Mint and mint, can also increase reflux, because they can irritate the gastric mucosa;
  • Peppers, hot sauces and ready-made seasonings, as they are also irritating to the stomach mucosa and favor increased acidity, resulting in reflux symptoms.

In addition, in some people, especially those who also have esophagitis, more acidic foods such as oranges, pineapples, strawberries, lemons, passion fruit and tomatoes can cause pain and discomfort, and it is recommended to avoid them in these cases., these foods.

Some people may also feel sick when eating foods that contain onions and garlic, or when eating high-fat fruits like avocado and coconut, so it's important to keep an eye on your tolerance for these foods.

Other precautions that must be followed

In addition to food, it is also important to maintain a series of precautions to avoid reflux, such as:

  • Eat several times a day, dividing meals into small portions, every 2 or 3 hours, and avoiding exaggeration;
  • Avoid drinking liquids during meals;
  • Avoid eating 3 to 4 hours before bedtime;
  • Avoid exercising right after meals;
  • Chew your food well and eat in a quiet place;
  • In case you are overweight, it is recommended to go to a nutritionist so that an adequate nutritional plan can be drawn up to help you lose weight;
  • Sleep at a 45 degree angle, placing a pillow or elevating the head of the bed, thus decreasing reflux during the night;
  • Avoid wearing tight clothing and belts, as they can increase pressure in the stomach, favoring reflux.

Furthermore, it is also important to stop smoking and reduce, or avoid, stress, because they are factors that increase the risk of reflux.

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