Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD is a condition where there is acid reflux. The stomach contents backflow into the esophagus causing symptoms such as heartburn, taste of acid in the mouth, halitosis, chest pain, breathing issues, sore throat, increased salivation, vomiting, nausea, coughing, and wearing away of the teeth. GERD can lead to complications such as esophageal strictures, esophagitis, and Barrett’s esophagus. The risk factors for GERD include pregnancy, obesity, hiatal hernia, smoking, and the use of medications like calcium channel blockers, antihistamines, sleeping medication, and antidepressants. GERD occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter does not close properly allowing the backflow of the acid. To achieve diagnosis, tests such as gastroscopy, esophageal pH monitoring, esophageal manometry, and upper gastrointestinal study can be performed.
Treatment for GERD involves lifestyle changes, medications, and possible surgery. Some of the lifestyle changes that should be considered are losing weight, not lying down after eating, avoiding certain foods, and to quit smoking. The medications used for GERD are antacid, proton pump inhibitors, H2 receptor blockers, and prokinetics. If regular measures do not improve symptoms, surgery may be required. As many as 10 to 20 percent of the population are affected in the western world. Reflux without severe symptoms or complications is very common. The GERD diet stems from the reasoning where foods can affect the amount of acid produced by the stomach. This means that eating the right food can help to control GERD. Patients with GERD should know which foods to eat and which foods to avoid!
GERD Diet Food #1: Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a popular breakfast option made out of hulled oat grains. It can be milled (ground), rolled (can be thin or thick, quick or instant), or steel-cut (coarse). Oats can be eaten in muesli or cooked with milk or water to make porridge. Oats have been thought to help lower the risk of heart disease as it can reduce levels of blood cholesterol.
It is also an excellent source of fiber. For individuals with GERD, oatmeal can help in the absorption of acid in the stomach and thus, decrease the symptoms experienced in GERD. Other options include whole grain rice and breads.