GERD Diet: Foods to Eat and Avoid for Acid Reflux

Medically Reviewed on 8/2/2022
GERD Diet: Foods to Eat and Avoid for Acid Reflux
Learn about what foods to eat and what to avoid with acid reflux

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or acid reflux is caused by the backflow of stomach contents and acid into the esophagus. The condition can cause heartburn and damage the lining of the esophagus.

Along with medical treatment, diet can help reduce symptoms of GERD. The foods you consume can have a direct effect on how much acid is produced by your stomach.

Learn about what foods to eat and what to avoid with acid reflux.

What are common symptoms of GERD?

Common GERD symptoms include:

  • Heartburn
  • Persistent burping
  • Food regurgitation, especially at night
  • Sour sensation on the tongue or a sour liquid in the throat
  • Hoarse voice
  • Sore throat
  • Lump-like sensation in the throat
  • Swallowing difficulties (dysphagia)
  • Persistent cough
  • Hiccups
  • Dental enamel erosion

9 foods that help reduce GERD symptoms

1. Whole grains

Whole grains are fiber-rich foods. Brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, and other whole grains promote gut health and may lower your risk of acid reflux.

2. Leafy green vegetables

Studies have shown that eating more fiber-rich vegetables can lower your risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Fiber-rich vegetables include leafy greens, broccoli, zucchini, and other cruciferous vegetables.

3. Root vegetables

Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other root vegetables are high in fiber and good carbohydrates, which can reduce your risk of acid reflux.

4. Ginger

When you have heartburn, drinking ginger tea or chewing on ginger can provide relief. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce symptoms. However, keep in mind that for some people, ginger can trigger more gastric irritation.

5. Non-citrus fruits

Increasing your intake of bananas, cantaloupe, honeydew, cucumbers, and apples are less likely to trigger acid reflux. This is because most of these fruits are high in water content, which helps neutralize gastric acid.

6. Herbal tea

According to Harvard Medical School, drinking herbal tea may be a natural cure for heartburn. For example, chamomile helps relieve acid reflux by soothing the digestive tract.

7. Honey

This natural sweetener has anti-inflammatory properties and can help neutralize stomach acid. It coats the esophagus and has a soothing effect.

8. Licorice

Licorice has been shown to enhance the coating of the esophageal lining, making acid reflux less painful. Licorice lozenges or gargles may help relieve GERD symptoms.

9. Aloe vera

Studies suggest that aloe vera can alleviate symptoms of GERD due to its anti-inflammatory properties and high vitamin and mineral content.


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

8 foods to avoid with GERD

1. Dairy

Milk and dairy products are high in fat and can trigger heartburn. Fatty foods can weaken your lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which makes it easier for stomach contents to reach the esophagus.

2. Fried foods

Fried foods are high in saturated fats, which take significantly longer to digest. This can delay stomach emptying, causing your stomach to produce extra acid to break down these complex fats and increasing the risk of reflux symptoms.

3. Spicy foods

Chili peppers, hot sauce, salsa, wasabi, and other spicy foods can cause a burning sensation and irritate the mucous membranes of the digestive tract, triggering or aggravating acid reflux.

4. Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits such as lemon, grapefruit, orange, and tomatoes can cause the stomach to create more acid and aggravate GERD symptoms. While you may not get heartburn every time you eat citrus fruits, it is best to limit your intake if you notice that they trigger heartburn.

5. Egg yolks

Although egg whites can actually help with acid reflux, egg yolks are high in fat, which can trigger GERD symptoms. 

6. Chocolate

Chocolate contains methylxanthine, which can cause the LES to relax and increase the risk of reflux. Furthermore, cocoa powder is acidic and can increase the amount of acid in your stomach.

7. Coffee and soda

Caffeinated beverages have also been shown to relax the muscle in the LES. 

Coffee can increase the acidity of gastric secretions as well. While a cup of coffee now and then is fine, consider reducing your intake if you notice that drinking coffee triggers heartburn or other symptoms. 

Soda, energy drinks, and carbonated beverages should also be avoided. Carbonation expands the stomach while raising internal pressure, which can further exacerbate reflux symptoms.

8. Alcohol

Alcohol relaxes the LES, increasing the possibility of acid flowing into the esophagus. Some types of alcohol such as red wine are also acidic, which can worsen acid reflux.

When to contact a doctor

n most cases, symptoms of GERD can be managed with diet changes and appropriate medications. 

If you continue to experience heartburn and acid reflux regularly despite taking antacids and eating a GERD-friendly diet, talk to your doctor about your treatment options.

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Medically Reviewed on 8/2/2022
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