If you’ve ever experienced a burning sensation in your chest after you eat, you’re certainly not alone. Acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a worldwide problem. In North America alone, anywhere from 18.1 – 27.8% of the population experiences acid reflux every week. That’s nearly a third of us who have this constant, chronic problem. The good news is that there are plenty of foods for acid reflux and today, we want to share some of the best foods for acid reflux!
What is Acid Reflux?
Our stomachs begin to churn our food and secrete enzymes that break down proteins. The stomach is very acidic, because it needs to be to do its job. When you have acid reflux, some of the contents in our stomachs splashes up into the esophagus. Since the esophagus is more delicate tissue and doesn’t have the strong lining our stomachs do, we experience the pain and discomfort.
Many people commonly think that acid reflux is caused by too much stomach acid. Often, it’s the opposite. Our digestive process is a cascade, beginning in the mouth (sometimes before food even reaches our mouths!) and ending with pooping. Between the stomach and the esophagus, there is a sphincter that opens when the stomach is ready (meaning it’s acidic enough) to receive food. When there isn’t enough stomach acid, that sphincter may become weak, allowing food to splash up. Also, undigested food fermenting in the stomach may cause bloating and gas, which puts pressure on the sphincter so we can burp – another opportunity for stomach acid to ‘burn’ the esophagus.