Foods Good for Acid Reflux
While lists like the one on acid reflux foods to avoid can be found all over the internet, lists of foods good for acid reflux remain sparse, inaccurate, and subjective to say the least.
Calling upon the basics of human physiology and combing over the research, we have been able to create a list of foods good for acid reflux.
High Fiber Foods Good for Acid Reflux
Without question, fiber is the one macronutrient that is strongly implicated with having a positive effect on damage caused by reflux.
For example, one study found that participants with the highest fiber intake were significantly less likely to get esophageal or stomach cancer (1). Acid reflux is associated with esophageal cancers, so any factor which protects against this type of cancer is desirable.
Usually studies on diet are flawed, as people who eat more fiber might be less likely to smoke, eat a lot of fat, or be overweight. However, one particular study adjusted the data based on these facts and still found that fiber was a strong protector against these cancers, with participants in the bottom 25% for fiber intake were more than twice as likely to get esophageal or stomach cancer than those in the top 25% (1).
So how much fiber is beneficial? One study, which also found fiber intake to be beneficial to those suffering from GERD, indicates that 14g of fiber per 1000 calories in the diet is necessary for optimal health benefits (2).
Getting in 14g of fiber per 1000 calories is quite a bit of fiber! Here are some high fiber foods which may help:
- Raspberries. Raspberries are by far the most fibrous fruits out of those readily available at supermarkets. Raspberries are easy to eat frozen; Raspberries are very “loosely” held together, so unlike other berries you can eat them right out of the bag when frozen. This really makes them much more affordable and convenient to eat.
- Bran. An easy way to add fiber to your diet s to have a bran muffin with your breakfast. Make sure you get a low-sugar or sugar-free variety to avoid unwanted calories.
- Beans of all sorts; black, pinto, baked, split peas, and lentil varieties amongst others. Beans are perhaps the easiest way to add fiber in your diet. A cup of black beans can pack in up to 15 grams of fiber!
- Peas or Broccoli. Contrary to popular belief, most commonly-eaten vegetables lack large amounts of fiber; do not count on getting much fiber from vegetables as most only have 1-2g per serving. Peas and Broccoli are some of the only commonly eaten vegetables with high fiber content.
Other Foods Good for Acid Reflux
Aside from foods rich in fiber, there is not much evidence to support any other types of foods good for acid reflux disease.
This could be due to a lack of research on the topic, but is likely due to individual differences. Everyone’s physiology is a little bit different, so no food universally effects all people the same way. What is good for me may be bad for you (and vice-versa).
There are however two unusual “foods” which are great for acid reflux: non-mint chewing gum and non-mint hard candy (particularly sour candy). Chewing gum and sour candy both produce large amounts of saliva production, and saliva helps protect the esophagus from stomach acid. It can also neutralize acid reflux.
As a result, both of these are foods good for acid reflux, which is why we list gum as one of our top heartburn remedies. Be careful to avoid peppermint and spearmint though: mint is known to lead to acid reflux in many people.
Foods Good for Acid Reflux – The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that most people are highly individual and there are few universal foods good for acid reflux. The only food that is universally great across the board seems to be fiber as a high fiber diet significantly reduces the risk of cancers associated with acid reflux.
Chewing gum and hard candy can be good foods for acid reflux as well, as both stimulate the production of saliva which is the body’s natural method for combating reflux.
1. Wu AH, Tseng CC, Hankin J, Bernstein L. Fiber intake and risk of adenocarcinomas of the esophagus and stomach. Cancer Causes Control. 2007 Sep; 18(7):713-22.
2. Anderson, JW et al. Health benefits of dietary fiber. Nutr Rev. 2009 Apr; 67(4):188-205.
3. El-Serag HB, Satia JA, Rabeneck L. Dietary intake and the risk of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease: a cross sectional study in volunteers. Gut. 2005 Jan; 54(1):11-7.