How to Choose the Right GERD Diet?

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a health condition where the contents of the stomach move back up the food pipe regularly. This condition is typically long-term and may result in symptoms like heartburn and pain in the upper abdomen. Mostly, GERD is associated with a person's diet and lifestyle. The way we eat our food, the portion and the timing of our meals can trigger the symptoms of GERD. Doctors may also advise eating appropriately, avoiding certain foods that can trigger GERD and acid reflux and controlling body weight. This can ease the pressure on the abdomen and reduce the risk of GERD symptoms.

Adopting a GERD-specific diet may also help to minimise the risk of developing chronic health conditions. The oesophagus may get damaged from GERD. We can avoid certain foods and deliberately include some healthy foods to prevent irritation of the oesophagus. Through this article, we will explore the foods that people with GERD can exclude from their diet as well as highlight the lifestyle and dietary changes which people can adapt easily to get the most out of their GERD diet.

Foods to Include in GERD Diet

Certain foods can lower the risk of GERD and may reduce the symptoms like heartburn and pain in the upper abdomen. You can include the following foods to ease the symptoms of GERD −

  • Vegetables − Vegetables are naturally low in fat and sugar and they are a good source of fibre. Some of the GERD-friendly vegetables may include carbohydrate-rich options like cauliflower, asparagus, broccoli, cucumbers, kale, spinach, green beans, Brussels sprouts and potatoes.

  • Fruits − Fruits are a rich source of vitamin C, fibre, magnesium and potassium. Some of the noncitrus fruits like apples, avocados, bananas, berries, melons, pears and peaches can help to reduce the symptoms of GERD.

  • Proteins − You can include lean protein from foods which are low in saturated fat. Some of the foods may include almonds, beans, skinless chicken and turkey, fish, lentils, seafood, tofu and eggs. Avoid eating egg yolks as they are rich in fat and may trigger GERD symptoms. You can use various cooking methods for these lean protein-rich foods like grilling, baking, boiling or poaching instead of frying.

  • Baked Goods − Avoid high-fat foods and try plain bread, rolls, pancakes, waffles, bagels or muffins.

  • Snacks − You can consume crackers, pretzels, corn tortillas and low-fat hummus instead of cheese dip, fried chips and nuts.

  • Whole grains − Whole grain foods like oatmeal, brown rice and whole grain bread are rich sources of fibre which may help to reduce heartburn.

  • Oil and butter − People with GERD should avoid or reduce saturated fats from meat and dairy and Trans fat from processed foods. You can include some healthy fats like avocado oil, olive oil and peanut butter in moderation.

  • Soups − You can consume lean broth-based soups which are made from low-fat or fat- free ingredients.

  • Ginger − It has natural anti-inflammatory properties and can be a natural treatment for heartburn and GERD. You can grate or slice ginger root and include it in your recipes. Additionally, you can drink ginger tea or add a bit to smoothies.

Foods to Avoid in GERD Diet

Certain foods can cause heartburn and gastrointestinal problems for many people. You can control the symptoms if you eliminate or at least limit the intake of these foods.

High-fat Foods

Consuming fried or fatty foods puts you at a higher risk of GERD. Some examples of high- fat foods include −

  • French fries

  • Onion rings

  • Full-fat dairy products like butter, cheese, sour cream and whole milk

  • Fatty or fried cuts of meat like beef, pork or lamb

  • Bacon fat, lard and ham fat

  • Deserts like ice-cream

  • Cream sauces or creamy salad dressings

  • Oily and greasy food

Foods with High Acid

Some fruits and vegetables can worsen GERD symptoms as they have high acid content. You should minimise or eliminate intake of foods like −

  • Tomatoes and tomato sauce

  • Oranges

  • Lemons

  • Limes

  • Pineapple

  • Grapefruit

Other Foods and Beverages

Some other foods and beverages that may trigger GERD symptoms include −

  • Alcohol

  • Caffeine

  • Chocolate

  • Carbonated beverages

  • Garlic

  • Mint

  • Onions

  • Spicy foods

Sample Meal Ideas for the GERD diet

People may experience nausea, sore throat, hiccups and burps along with heartburn and pain when they have GERD or acid reflux. Healthcare experts suggest following a dietary pattern to reduce the symptoms. Given below are some sample meal ideas which you may include after consulting your healthcare provider or a registered dietician or nutritionist.

  • Oatmeal and berries

  • Poached egg whites on toast. Use whole-grain bread for toast.

  • Brown rice, steamed vegetables and salmon. Vegans and vegetarians can avoid salmon in this meal option.

  • Grilled vegetable skewers with hummus dip

  • Pizza made from whole grain bread which can have pesto sauce, vegetables and low- fat cheese

  • Mixed green salad with whole grain pita bread and hummus

  • Sandwich made from whole grain bread which can have a filling of tuna and grilled vegetables.

Lifestyle Changes for GERD

Diet and nutrition play a vital part in controlling the symptoms of GERD, but adopting these lifestyle changes may help you to manage your symptoms more effectively.

  • Maintain a healthy body weight

  • Avoid or reduce alcohol intake

  • Quit smoking

  • Do not overeat and consume smaller meals

  • Chew your food properly and eat slowly

  • Don’t snack unless you are hungry. Avoid deep-fried foods and opt for baked snacks.

  • Remain upright for at least two hours after eating your food

  • Avoid wearing tight clothing mainly around your waist

People may look at GERD as a chronic health condition, but it may not be permanent for some people. Incorporating changes in diet and lifestyle can help to minimise the symptoms.


Certain foods may ease the GERD symptoms, while some of them can trigger the symptoms. You can consult a registered dietician and develop a GERD diet to control your symptoms. Diet cannot be the only remedy to treat GERD. If the symptoms do not ease even after adopting certain dietary and lifestyle changes, you must consult a healthcare provider to lessen your symptoms.