Around 20% of the population in the Worlds suffers from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If left untreated, this condition can increase the risk of dangerous complications for the esophagus. What causes GERD? What should people with GERD drink and avoid to improve their condition? Find out more about GERD in the article below on Easyhealthylive.com.
What is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)?
Before answering the question of what to drink before GERD, let’s have a brief overview of GERD.
After chewing, food is passed down to the esophagus. There, the lower esophageal sphincter opens up and allows the food to pass down to the stomach, after which it automatically closes to prevent food and stomach acid from refluxing back up. GERD is defined when the amount of stomach acid produced is excessive, and refluxes up into the esophagus, causing irritation of the esophageal mucosa and various uncomfortable symptoms.
Symptoms of GERD
GERD causes various symptoms that can be hard to distinguish from other diseases. According to doctors, people with GERD usually experience the following symptoms:
- Acid reflux: This symptom is most commonly experienced after eating a large meal, having difficulty digesting, or when lying down after a meal. After acid reflux occurs, patients will feel a sour taste in their mouth, which can be quite unpleasant.
- Belching: Unlike acid reflux, this symptom usually occurs when the patient is hungry. Belching can be odorless or have a sour smell. The belching process can make the chest uncomfortable.
- Nausea, vomiting: It is recorded that this symptom often comes with a feeling of food blockage, especially after eating a large meal. Patients with GERD are more likely to vomit when feeling nauseous, motion sickness or on public transportation, etc.
- Loss of appetite, difficulty swallowing: GERD can make you feel bitter in your throat. In addition, the refluxed stomach acid can cause inflammation in the esophagus, leading to difficulty swallowing food. As a result, patients will not feel hungry, lose interest in eating, and experience weight loss.
- Sore throat, hoarseness, cough: The lower esophageal sphincter in GERD patients is relatively weak. This makes the opening and closing function of this organ not work normally, causing stomach acid to reflux into the esophagus. At this point, the stomach acid can enter the respiratory tract in the lungs. The body responds to this irritation by coughing.
- Chest pain: Experts explain that this symptom is due to the stimulation of nerve fibers passing through the chest area. The feeling of chest pain due to GERD can be mistaken for heart-related diseases.
Causes of gastric reflux
Do you think that eating and drinking improperly is the only cause of acid reflux? That’s just a small part of it. In fact, the main reason for this condition is the weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter and the excess acid in the stomach. Let’s analyze each cause before moving on to the question of what to drink for quick relief from acid reflux.
Causes of lower esophageal sphincter weakness include:
Side effects of certain Western medicines: Cholecystokinin, aspirin, ibuprofen, glucagon, and certain blood pressure medications… Use of stimulants and addictive substances in products and foods: caffeine, alcohol, tobacco,… Having certain medical conditions: weak esophageal sphincter muscles or hereditary conditions, damage to the autonomic nerves that control the esophagus, infections in the esophagus that cause scarring, hiatal hernia…
Causes of excess stomach acid:
Having digestive system conditions such as gastric ulcers, erosive esophagitis, pyloric stenosis, or cancer. Unhealthy eating habits: Fast food addiction, high-fat foods, processed foods, carbonated beverages… Other factors: Overweight or obesity, stress, etc. can also lead to acid reflux.
What should you drink to effectively treat acid reflux?
The question of what to drink for acid reflux is a popular search topic. Currently, many people are seeking natural remedies to treat acid reflux instead of using Western medicine. Some types of water have been proven to be beneficial in supporting acid reflux treatment.
What should you drink for acid reflux? The first answer is filtered water. Filtered water can neutralize excess acid in the stomach because it has a neutral pH. Simply consuming enough water that your body needs per day can help raise the pH level in the stomach and neutralize the acid concentration. As a result, the condition of acid reflux will also be improved.
However, drinking too much water is not good either. That would disrupt the mineral balance in the body, increasing the risk of recurring acid reflux. In addition, you can also supplement mineral water, alkaline ionized water as it has a better ability to neutralize stomach acid than filtered water. Note that it is advisable to divide the number of drinks throughout the day.
Herbal tea has many good benefits for people with stomach problems. In folk medicine, people have long found a solution to “what should you drink for acid reflux?” That is to use natural ingredients to make tea for daily consumption. When experiencing acid reflux, doctors prioritize using ingredients that reduce bloating and help improve conditions such as belching, heartburn, nausea,… Some suggested types of herbal tea for people with stomach problems are:
- Chamomile tea
- Peppermint tea
- Green tea
- Honey lemon water
- Warm saltwater
Warm saltwater is a specific type of water used in the treatment of stomach issues. It helps to alleviate digestive disorders, supplement minerals, electrolytes, and hydration, so it is highly valued in the treatment of acid reflux.
If you’re wondering what to drink for acid reflux, let’s go to the kitchen and make a cup of warm saltwater with the recipe below:
- Prepare 350ml of hot water
- Add 1-2 teaspoons of salt
- Stir well until the salt is completely dissolved
Many patients have reported a decrease in symptoms after using this type of water, and their bodies feel less tired.
Apple cider vinegar
Some people believe that those with stomach pain should stay away from sour-tasting drinks. However, this is not true with apple cider vinegar. You will be surprised by this answer. But what should people with stomach pain drink? Nutrition experts recommend drinking apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar contains vitamins and essential probiotics for the gut. It helps to enhance nutrient absorption and improve the stomach’s antibacterial ability.
To use for people with stomach pain, you can refer to the following formula:
- Prepare a cup of warm water (300ml)
- Mix in 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and stir well.
- Drink 3 times a day, 30 minutes before meals.
Alkaline ion water
Gastric reflux is not dangerous if treated in time. However, many patients are negligent and allow the condition to persist, which can lead to gastritis, stomach bleeding, etc. For those with reflux caused by high stomach acid levels, it is important to find ways to control the excess acid and bring it back to a normal physiological state.
An alkaline diet can help support the treatment of gastric reflux. According to experts, supplementing with alkaline foods and drinks is the best way to balance the acid-base environment in the stomach and improve reflux symptoms.
Among the alkaline water group, alkaline ion water is highly regarded for its supportive effect in treating acid reflux disease. This type of water has special properties that are different from filtered or pure water.
Alkaline ion water has a high pH level (8.5 – 9.5 pH) that helps neutralize excess acid, increase the alkaline content of gastric juice, and bring acid reflux back into the stomach. Additionally, alkaline ion water contains a lot of hydrogen – a powerful antioxidant that helps regulate stomach function, reduce bloating and flatulence. With ultra-small water molecule clusters, alkaline ion water quickly penetrates into cells, effectively removing excess acid from the digestive system.
If you’re struggling with what to drink for acid reflux, then stock up on alkaline ion water at home.
It would be a shame not to mention juices on the list of what to drink for acid reflux. Fruit juices are an excellent choice for health. They not only help beautify the skin and detoxify the body but can also help treat acid reflux. You can refer to the following types of juice and add them to your daily diet:
- Coconut water
- Aloe vera juice
- Peppermint tea
- Carrot juice
What drinks should you avoid when experiencing acid reflux?
In addition to understanding what to drink for acid reflux, you also need to equip yourself with a “handbook” of drinks to avoid to prevent the condition from getting worse.
Young people especially love soda. It is the direct cause of burping, indigestion, and bloating. Consuming too much soda can have negative effects on the esophagus and stomach. Over time, it not only harms the stomach but also increases the risk of other diseases such as weight gain, diabetes, and insulin resistance.
Highly acidic water
Water with high acidity level should be avoided by those with acid reflux. In terms of beverages, fruit juices were mentioned as an option, but not all fruits are good for acid reflux sufferers. Fruits with high acid content like oranges, lemons, grapefruits, or tomatoes should be avoided as they contain citric acid which can harm the esophagus and hinder the treatment of stomach issues.
Coffee, while it can bring a sense of refreshment and alertness, is not recommended for those with acid reflux as it can increase the production of stomach acid and worsen the condition.
Diet to help control reflux disease
Developing the right dietary habits is crucial for people with stomach issues, including acid reflux. In addition to knowing what to drink, many people also search for foods and supplements to help treat their condition. The following are recommended foods for acid reflux sufferers:
Starchy foods like oatmeal and bread can absorb acid in the stomach, which can alleviate symptoms like burping, heartburn, and acid reflux. You can try oatmeal soup, porridge, or soft oatcakes.
Kinds of bean
Various types of legumes are also good for digestion and stomach stability due to their high fiber content. However, it’s important to avoid soybeans, lentils, black beans, etc. as they contain a lot of carbohydrates which can cause bloating.
Milk is a food that contains many nutrients. However, not all types of milk are suitable for people with stomach problems. The fat in milk can hinder digestion and exacerbate acid reflux. It is recommended to use completely skimmed milk. Experts encourage the use of goat’s milk or nut milk.
Chewing stimulates salivary gland secretion. The alkaline saliva will soothe the pain in the mucous membrane and help bring acid reflux back to the stomach. Patients should choose natural-flavored chewing gum, preferably fruit-flavored.
Anti-inflammatory spices such as ginger, turmeric, and peppermint are good for warming the body, killing bacteria, and fighting inflammation. Therefore, they are listed as foods that people with acid reflux should consume.
The compounds in ginger have acid-neutralizing properties, warm the stomach, stimulate blood circulation, and reduce nausea and bloating. Turmeric contains many antioxidants that can inhibit the activity of HP bacteria and help heal mucosal damage.
Omega-3 is very good for the body and is found in fatty fish such as salmon. It is also found in seeds such as flaxseed and sunflower seeds. When entering the body, Omega-3 acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, inhibiting inflammation in the esophageal and gastric mucosa. It also helps improve memory and cardiovascular health.
Yogurt is a helpful “assistant” for people with acid reflux. Yogurt contains probiotics that are beneficial for the gut microbiome, helping to improve digestion and inhibit the growth of harmful gut bacteria.
Foods to Avoid with Acid Reflux
For the question of what to drink and eat when suffering from acid reflux, you probably have a lot of useful information from the above sharing. In addition, those with acid reflux should also stay away from the following foods during their treatment.
Foods high in fat are never good for your health. They cause the stomach to produce more acid to digest food. Fatty foods to avoid include cheese, animal fat, butter, grilled foods, fast food, fried food, and more.
Spicy and Hot Foods
Adding chili peppers, black pepper, mustard, etc. makes the dish more appealing. However, they do not help people with stomach pain, and can even make the condition worse. The consequences are inflammation, ulceration, and mucosal erosion. In addition, you should also avoid eating acidic foods in your diet.
Beverages containing stimulants
Beverages containing stimulants such as alcohol, beer, wine, cocktails, etc. are the culprits that can cause belching, heartburn, and more severe acid reflux. During the treatment process, it is essential to avoid them completely.
We hope you have found the best answer to the question of what to drink and what not to drink when experiencing acid reflux. However, if you do not see any improvement in your condition, it is advisable to seek medical attention to identify the underlying cause and receive proper treatment.
John Alen was born in 1971 and is a doctor in the healthcare and psychology fields with many years of experience. He is currently working at easyhealthylive.com, a leading health and psychology blog. Having studied at Y1 National Medical University named after IM Sechenov, John Alen is using his knowledge and experience to help improve the physical and mental health of people in the United States.