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Q&A Minisode: Remedies For Acid Reflux

Today we’re answering this listener question…what are some good flavorful seasonings for reflux? Listen to this week’s episode to learn about lifestyle strategies you can incorporate to manage reflux symptoms. 

What is reflux?

  • Let’s start off by quickly going over what reflux is.
  • It basically happens when the lower esophageal sphincter opens spontaneously or doesn’t close properly, so the food from your stomach comes up into the esophagus.
  • Doesn’t sound very fun, and for those of you who’ve experienced it, it really sucks.
  • You feel a burn in your throat, and aren’t able to fully enjoy the meal you’ve just eaten

What are some lifestyle strategies to minimize symptoms? 

  • As dietitians, we usually recommend avoiding trigger foods that are known to cause the reflux
  • These foods can vary for certain people, but common ones include coffee, chocolate, any caffeine beverages (including caffeinated teas), peppermint, spicy foods, and greasy/fatty foods.
  • We also recommend eating smaller, more frequent meals to ease the symptoms
  • Other helpful tips include chewing slowly- nowadays, we’re downing meals within 10 minutes. Take your time and be mindful of the food you’re taking in. Spend 30 minutes per meal when possible
  • Also avoid eating too close to bedtime. Laying down right after eating a meal can trigger the reflux
  • Stress also makes symptoms worse so chill out and practice some relaxation techniques like yoga, deep breathing, and restful sleep.
  • Lastly, if you smoke, consider quitting since nicotine can worsen the reflux. Alcohol is another thing to consider limiting or quitting altogether, as it irritates the esophageal lining

What herbs and seasonings should you use and avoid? 

  • Now for the listener’s question- what are some flavorful seasonings that help with reflux.
  • I dug into the research for this one and came across some herbs that are less likely to cause reflux, and may actually help with symptoms
  • Chamomile: Has been shown to help with reflux, inflammation and indigestion. People often make tea with chamomile, but you can add it to salads, smoothies, and broths
  • Slippery Elm: Is an herb that comes in the form of supplements, teas, and tinctures and has been shown to provide some protection against the irritation that happens in the esophagus during reflux.
  • Probiotics: Usually a good option to consider if you have gastrointestinal drama going on. Probiotics restore a healthy balance of good bacteria in our digestive tracts, and can help prevent the overgrowth of the not-so-good bacteria- which may be helpful for reflux
  • The listener specifically asked about seasonings for food, and as I mentioned before, with reflux, it should be treated on a case by case basis
  • If eating foods with for ex, cayenne pepper or curry, trigger the reflux, completely avoid it
  • It may take some trial and error, but it’s mostly paying close attention to how you feel as you eat different types of foods/spices
  • One idea is to start with minimally seasoned meals, and slowly add in spices one by one, on different days, over the course of 1-2 weeks, to assess how you feel

I hope this was helpful, and thank you so much for sending us your question. We encourage all of you to go ahead and send us your questions as well! Simply go to our webiste, click on the podcast tab, and record your question at the top of the page

If you enjoy our podcast, make sure to rate and review us on iTunes & Stitcher. This way we’re able to reach more people. Thanks so much for tuning in and we’ll catch you next time!

Resources:

http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/wellness/digestive-health/what-you-need-to-know-about-gerd

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/090313p18.shtml

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