Acid Reflux and GERD

May 24, 2021

Acid Reflux and GERD


Nia Rennix

Posted in:

A large part of the American population suffers from acid reflux and GERD. The two terms are often used interchangeably but there is a major difference between these. GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease and acid reflux can be also called GER or simply gastroesophageal reflux.

Acid reflux refers to the backward or upward movement of stomach acid into your esophagus, causing burning sensation along the length of the food pipe. This symptom is often identified as heartburn even though it is not related to the heart. In fact, acid reflux is sometimes mistaken as the onset of a heart attack too. The root of the problem lies with a circular muscle that is present at the connecting point between your esophagus and stomach. It is called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This muscle contracts after food passes into your stomach from your esophagus, thereby preventing anything from re-entering the esophagus. If LES weakens and fails to close properly, it may lead to acid reflux and consequent problems.

GERD refers to the chronic form of acid reflux. Someone suffering from mild acid reflux at least twice a week or severe acid reflux twice a month can be said to have GERD. It can also lead to inflammation and lacerations of the delicate inner lining of the esophagus. Prolonged neglect of the condition can even lead to cancer.

Symptoms of acid reflux and GERD

Since acid reflux and GERD are so closely related, it is no wonder that the symptoms of the two diseases are also quite similar. Some of the commonly associated symptoms are listed below.

  1. Heartburn
  2. Sour or bitter taste in the mouth
  3. Sore throat
  4. Persistent cough
  5. Painful pressure in the chest area
  6. Asthma
  7. Bad breath
  8. Difficulty in swallowing food
  9. Frequent sensation of tasting regurgitated food at the back of throat
  10. Damaged tooth enamel
  11. Disruption in sleep
  12. Laryngitis

Causes of acid reflux and GERD

There are various causes that push a person towards acid reflux or GERD. Most of the risk factors have more to do with lifestyle issues than to do with genetic problems. Thus, it is considerably simple to prevent yourself from suffering from these conditions. Some of the common causes and risks are given below.

  1. Poor diet choices (high calories but lacking in adequate nutrition)
  2. Hiatal hernia (upward bulging of the stomach into the diaphragm)
  3. Excess smoking
  4. Excess consumption of alcohol
  5. Pregnancy
  6. Scleroderma and other connective tissue disorders
  7. Eating too late at night
  8. Eating too large portions
  9. Delayed and improper emptying of stomach
  10. Regular intake of medicines like antihistamines, aspirins, sedatives, anti-depressants, pain-relievers, etc. that weaken the LES gradually
  11. Intake of fatty, fried, or processed food items
  12. Consumption of excess coffee

Complications resulting from acid reflux and GERD

These conditions are not only painful in the short term, but if left untreated, they can go on to create severe complications and bring upon fatal diseases.

  1. Barrett’s esophagus

The inner lining of the esophagus is more delicate than the lining of the stomach so it is more vulnerable and susceptible to damages due to stomach acid. The inflammation and injuries caused to the lining tissue are collectively known as Barrett’s esophagus and it increases the chances of you contracting esophageal cancer.

  • Esophageal ulcer

Stomach acid can lead to the formation of an open wound or sore on the inside of your esophagus. This sore or esophageal ulcer can bleed at times, making normal activities like eating a terribly painful chore.

  • Esophageal stricture

Sometimes damage to the tissue lining the inner wall of the esophagus can lead to scarring. The thickness of this scar tissue leads to narrowing of the esophagus causing stricture. This leads to difficulty in swallowing food.

Simple ways to prevent acid reflux and GERD

Luckily there are very simple steps that can help you to keep acid reflux and GERD at bay. Take a look at my tips.

  1. Eat small meals on time

When you eat a large meal, too much pressure is created on your stomach and it might cause the contents to flow back upward. Eat 4-5 small meals instead of three large meals. Also, eat on time. Skipping meals or staying hungry for too long can aggravate acid reflux issues.

  • Don’t go to bed right after dinner

Make sure that your dinner is done at least 2 hours before bedtime. When you go to bed with your stomach full, the chances of acid reflux increase by many folds.

  • Choose your food wisely

Avoid eating too much of spicy foods, fatty foods, tomatoes, onions, garlic, chocolates, etc. All these food items also come with loads of health benefits so no point in cutting them out fully. Try to exercise portion control and you will be fine.

  • Avoid fizzy drinks

Avoid carbonated drinks or sparkling water. You are more likely to burp after ingesting such beverages and burping frequently can send stomach acid up your esophagus. Drinking plain water is the healthiest thing to do.

  • Maintain a healthy weight

Obesity often compounds the problems of acid reflux and GERD. Increased weight will reduce pressure on the LES thereby making it harder for the muscle to stay closed. Lose some weight if you are overweight and try to maintain a healthy body weight.

  • Make sure that your head is at a higher level than your stomach when you sleep

Try to maintain a gentle incline on your bed so that your head is at a higher level than your stomach. You can stack up pillows to achieve this too.

  • Run a check through your regular medicines

Certain medicines can weaken the LES as a side effect. Check with your doctor to find out if you are taking any such medicine.

  • Quit smoking

Smoking is one habit that does no good to your health. Nicotine significantly relaxes the LES so quitting can help to keep it taut and thus control acid reflux.

  • Limit coffee and alcohol consumption

Too much of coffee and/or alcohol consumption often causes issues with digestion. Limit your intake to prevent consequent acid reflux.

  1. Avoid rigorous exercise after meals

Do not participate in rigorous exercises right after your meals. If you bend forward or stretch backward, you kind of help your stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus. However, a walk or light activities after meals are completely ok, and are, in fact, encouraged.

Foods that help to alleviate the problems

Just like certain kinds of foods can aggravate acid reflux problems, some food items can help you fight it. Mainly three types of food items can prevent GERD efficiently.

  1. Alkaline foods

All food items come with a pH value. Those with a low pH value are considered to be acidic while those with a high pH value are said to be alkaline. Eating more of these foods can help you curb the problem of stomach acid flowing upward. Some examples of alkaline foods include cauliflower, bananas, melons, fennel, nuts, etc.

  • High-fiber foods

Eating fiber-dense foods help you to feel full faster and for longer. It is a good trick to prevent over-eating which in turn can trigger acid reflux. Some common high-fiber food items are carrots, beetroots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, asparagus, whole grains, etc.

  • Foods with high water content

When you eat foods with high water content, it can help to dilute the stomach acid, thereby reducing the chances of further complications. Some examples of such food items are watermelon, cucumber, celery, lettuce, soups, etc.


Acid reflux and GERD are problems that can bring down the quality of life significantly and even cause bigger health issues in the long run. The good news is that you can identify what is causing the problems for you and prevent it. In most cases, lifestyle changes and adoption of healthier habits can help to prevent GERD. So, what are you waiting for? Make the necessary tweaks to your lifestyle and say goodbye to acidity!

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Keto Diet Plan: Here Are 3 Full Days of Recipes

The Keto diet is one of the best available options if you’re trying to lose weight safely and quickly. This diet allows you to eat delicious meats, healthy fats, and vegetables—all targeted to help you burn the extra fat on your body by putting you into ketosis! Fascinating, right? To understand how the Keto Diet works, you need to learn about macros responsible for fueling our body.

Macros refer to three essential nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids (fats). These are considered the three essential macronutrients that we consume to get energy. Usually, a typical meal consists of 60% carbohydrate, 20% protein, and 20% fat or lipid.

The Keto Diet suggests that you reduce carbohydrates and make your diet heavier in protein and fats. When you decide to go on a Keto Diet, your meals generally consist of 65% fat, 30% protein, and 5% carbohydrate. If the body gets less than 20 grams of carbohydrate each day, it goes into ketosis, a metabolic process that burns stored fat to produce ketone bodies that supply the energy required to run your body. Thus, if you plan your meals meticulously and keep the carbohydrate consumption extremely low, you can expect to lose weight quickly.

Here is a 3-Day Keto-Compliant Meal Plan

The upside of this diet is that the meals are not bland and are reasonably easy to prepare.

Keto Diet Day 1

Breakfast: Keto Pancakes and Stir-fried Broccoli

Break two eggs in a bowl and add 1/2 tablespoon of almond flour. Next, throw in 2 ounces of cream cheese and a pinch of salt to taste. Whisk the mixture until you get a smooth combination of pouring consistency. Heat butter in a pan and fry the pancakes one by one.

Cut a small head of broccoli into florets and wash them under running water—heat olive oil in a pan and throw in some chopped garlic. Once you get a pleasant aroma, add the broccoli florets and stir fry them for a minute or two. Sprinkle a bit of sea salt, and your breakfast is ready.

Note: If you prefer your pancakes a little sweeter, you can add a pinch of cinnamon or vanilla instead of salt in the pancake mixture and pair the cooked pancakes with fresh strawberries.

Snack: Assorted Nuts

You can have a handful of mixed nuts to prevent sudden hunger pains. Almondscashews, and pistachios are all keto-compliant nuts. You can dry roast them lightly to enhance the taste.

Lunch: Stir-fried Chicken and Veggies

Add one pound of minced chicken breast to heated oil in a pan. Chop some cabbages, peppers, and tomatoes and add them after 5 minutes. Keep tossing and add ginger and garlic paste after five more minutes. Turn off the heat and shred a little bit of cheese on top of the mixture. 

Dinner: Broccoli-Mushroom Salad with Diced Chicken

Cut one small broccoli and some button mushrooms into bite-sized pieces. Dice a quarter pound of chicken breast into cubes. Heat olive oil in a wok and toss in the chicken slices first. Once they are lightly fried, neatly move them to a bowl and add a dollop of butter to the pan. Cook the broccoli and the mushrooms for 1 minute and then add the cooked chicken. Add a few cloves of chopped garlic and toss for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and sprinkle oregano generously. Your dinner is ready.

Keto Diet Day 2

Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs, Turkey Bacon, and Grilled Brussel Sprouts

Break two large eggs, add a bit of salt and pepper. Whisk into a smooth solution. Chop half an onion and one tomato into small pieces and add them to the eggs. Heat a little butter in a pan, pour in the egg mixture and scramble with a spatula. When the eggs are half done, you can shred in some cheese for extra taste.

Grill two slices of turkey bacon.

Arrange some Brussels sprouts on a skewer and coat them with chopped garlic, crushed ginger, and olive oil. Grill each side for 5 minutes to a light golden color. Now, your delicious breakfast is ready!

Snack: Veggie Sticks Dipped in Peanut Butter

Cut carrots and celery into 3-inch sticks. Dip them in peanut butter for a quick and tasty snack.

Lunch: Collard Shrimp Wrap

Take a giant collard leaf and blanch it in salted water for 30 seconds. Coat 1 pound of shrimp with sea salt and pepper. Cut one tomato and one green bell pepper into small cubes. Heat oil and toss the tomatoes and the bell peppers first. After a minute, add the shrimp and toss everything for 1 minute. Add one spoonful of butter and some chopped garlic cloves and cook for another minute. Turn off the flame, and your filling is ready. Place it neatly within the collard, leave and roll it into a nice, savory wrap.

Dinner: Pork Chops

Sear bone-in pork chops on both sides for around 4 minutes in heated olive oil. Take butter in a bowl and mix it with rosemary and chopped garlic. Place the chops on a baking tray brushed with butter mixture and cook for 12-15 minutes at 375°F. Once done, drizzle more butter on the chops and enjoy your dinner.

Keto Diet Day 3

Breakfast: Fruit Smoothie and Smoked Sausages

If you prefer a predominantly sweet breakfast, you can go for a fruit smoothie that tastes excellent, filling, and has few carbohydrates. Add frozen strawberries, frozen raspberries, and frozen blackberries in a blender. Add almond or coconut milk to get a rich and creamy taste. Blend them. You can sprinkle some bits of almond and grated coconut on top to enhance the flavor.

Have two turkey sausages on the side for an even more satisfying breakfast.

Snack: Egg Muffins (Makes two servings)

Crack and whisk one egg. Add 3-5 chopped mushrooms to it. Crush a clove of garlic and add a pinch of sea salt and pepper. Mix well and pour into two muffin molds. You can add cheese or tomatoes as well for variety.

Lunch: Classic Egg Salad With A Twist

Take two hard-boiled eggs and crush them to form bite-sized pieces. Dice onion and avocado into small pieces. Next, wash a handful of cherry tomatoes. Mix all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and add a pinch of salt. You can squeeze the juice of half a lemon into it, and your egg salad will be ready to eat.

Or, you can prepare a proper dressing by mixing two tablespoons of mayonnaise, two tablespoons of Greek yogurt, and a dash of olive oil. Gradually, fold the sauce into the egg mixture and end by sprinkling a little bit of kosher salt.

Dinner: Meatballs and Side Salad

Take 1/2 pound of ground beef and add chopped garlic, ginger, shredded mozzarella, and one egg. Mix well and form into five balls. Heat oil in a skillet and fry the meatballs to a rich golden color for around 10 minutes. Move the meatballs to a plate and add one chopped onion to the skillet and fry until golden brown. Add two chopped tomatoes and keep cooking until a sauce-like consistency is obtained. Throw in garlic paste and coconut milk and the broth will turn creamy. Add the meatballs and cover. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, and your dinner is ready.

So, take a deep breath and jump onto the Keto bandwagon. Starting is the hard part. Once you get started, the journey is smooth sailing! And, the weight loss and extra energy are fantastic!

Do you wish you had an EBook that included the tastiest Keto-friendly bread recipes?

Are you looking for additional support with your meal plans? Are you interested in learning what a 2-week meal plan on TRW would look like?

Do you wish you had an EBook that included the tastiest Keto- friendly bread recipes?

Are you looking for additional support with your meal plans? Are you interested in learning what a 2-week meal plan on TRW would look like?