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Manage Acid Reflux Gingerly

How ginger root may help you deal with the symptoms of GERD

Ask your GERD surgeon about using ginger to treat acid reflux

Though reflux surgery is the most surefire path to relieving the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), many things can help you manage heartburn symptoms on your own. When it comes to preventing acid reflux, you may hear most about things not to eat, but some foods can actually help you prevent the discomfort of indigestion and heartburn.

Ginger has been used to treat stomach concerns since ancient India and China, and some healthcare professionals continue recommend its use to this day. This is because ginger has strong anti-inflammatory properties and compounds that ease digestion and nausea. Because ginger can interact with other supplements and medications you may be taking, you should ask your GERD surgeon before introducing it to your diet, but doing so may help you deal with acid reflux symptoms.

Ginger can be used in a variety of ways and can be a valuable thing to have in your kitchen even if reflux surgery has relieved you of GERD-related discomfort. Here are some ways to start taking advantage of the many benefits of this incredible root:

  • Cooking with ginger. You can find ginger in many forms, from whole root to pickled slices and powders. Ground ginger can add flavor to sauces, while peeled and sliced ginger root can make an excellent addition to stir fries, soups and stews. Minced ginger will add a little kick to any rice or couscous dish, while you can even grate ginger over sauces or proteins to infuse them with some flavor.
  • Drinking ginger tea. Because herbal teas made with ginger contain no caffeine, they can make a great substitute for hot morning beverages like coffee that are well known to worsen GERD symptoms. You can find varieties of ginger tea at most grocery stores—just double check that the tea you choose is caffeine-free. Ginger tea also has a relaxing effect that can help you reduce the stress and anxiety that so often contribute to acid reflux.
  • Taking ginger supplements. Like many common herbs, ginger is available in supplement form. Though ginger supplements can make it easy to add this digestive aid to your daily routine, remember to always check with your GERD surgeon to be sure these will be a good choice for you.

Ginger is a useful root, but a delicious one as well. By introducing more ginger to your diet, you can add some flavor to your meals along with reflux relief. But remember: ginger is no substitute for reflux surgery or the advice of your GERD surgeon.

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Eat Slowly for Heartburn Relief

Along with reflux surgery, taking time to eat slowly can help you control acid reflux symptoms

Reflux surgery and slower eating can help you resolve heartburn

Though acid reflux can come from what we eat, it can also come from how fast we eat. We live in a world where everyone seems to be on the go, especially here in Dallas, but the speed of microwave-ready meals and drive-thru menus can play as big a role in gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) as the unhealthy ingredients they contain.

Did you know that the digestion process begins as soon as we start to chew our food? Saliva coats each bite in digestive enzymes that start to break things down before they reach your stomach, taking some of the burden off of your stomach. When fast-paced eating allows food to make it to the stomach without time to be properly chewed and broken down, indigestion and heartburn may be the result.

Slowing down to enjoy each meal can help you prevent heartburn, but it can also take some of the stress out of eating in a rush. Whether you’re considering a visit to a GERD surgeon or have already had reflux surgery, taking time for each meal can help you improve your digestive health and relax more at mealtime. Take at least 20 minutes to sit and enjoy each meal and use the time to slow down and re-energize yourself for the rest of the day’s challenges.

Reflux surgery can help you beat GERD, but so can taking time to eat slower by:

  • Getting rid of distractions. If you eat in front of the TV or computer or scarf down meals as you drive, your diverted attention may lead to unintentionally fast face stuffing. Take your mind off technology and responsibilities for a few minutes and focus your attention on food in front of you. Instead of zoning out, take time to notice the flavor, texture and smell of each bite.
  • Cutting down on portions. Try filling your plate with a smaller portion and eating it at a gradual pace, then going back for seconds if needed. Because it takes time for our bellies to tell our brains they’re full, taking your meal in waves of lighter portions can help you avoid overeating.
  • Being the tortoise instead of the hare. Slow and steady will always win the race to beat heartburn, so try to be the last to finish your meal when eating in a group. If you notice others eating at a slower pace, take a moment to put down the fork and enjoy the conversation.

Eating slow can help you avoid the painful symptoms of GERD, but it can also help you enjoy every bite more. Whether you hope to soothe your heartburn or have already sought your GERD surgeon’s help with reflux surgery, slower eating can be a boon for your digestive health and your relationship with food.

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Fiber Power for GERD

Ask your GERD surgeon about the benefits of eating a high fiber diet for heartburn relief.

Reflux Surgery and a Healthy Diet for Heartburn Relief

Before undergoing reflux surgery, many GERD sufferers look left and right for dietary options that will help lessen the severity of their heartburn. Unfortunately, most people with frequent heartburn have a longer list of items that worsen their heartburn than they do knowledge of dietary ingredients that might help relieve their pain.

Your GERD surgeon can help you craft a diet that is beneficial for your heartburn symptoms, and you shouldn’t add to or alter that diet unless you’ve discussed the changes with your GERD surgeon first. However, if your diet doesn’t involve eating fiber, then you might want to ask your GERD surgeon if fiber would be a healthy addition to your GERD diet.

What is fiber?

Fiber is also known as roughage. These are the threads or filaments in food that aren’t digestible by gastrointestinal enzymes. When we consume fiber, it pushes through our digestive system without breaking down, absorbing water as it goes and making bowel movements easier.

Fiber is touted as a beneficial dietary supplement for weight loss, diabetes, cancer and even heart disease, but that isn’t all. As fiber moves through the digestive tract without breaking down, it reduces acid production and helps push foods through the digestive tract, reducing the chances of acid reflux occurring later on.

Fiber can be found in many different foods, including fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Unfortunately, some of the greatest food sources of fiber are also highly acidic, making them troublesome for those who suffer from frequent acid reflux and heartburn.

GERD sufferers can find fiber from the following dietary sources:

  • Whole-wheat pasta
  • Multigrain breads
  • Whole-grain cereal
  • Brown rice
  • Oatmeal
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Peaches

Since eating a high-fiber diet rich in whole grains is also respected as beneficial for weight loss, you might find that following a diet filled with the items above can help alleviate your heartburn by reducing the pressure of excess weight on your lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Eating a diet high in fiber isn’t going to repair damage that’s already occurred to the LES or esophagus and won’t completely cure gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). However, when combined with medical tactics and reflux surgery, eating a high fiber diet can be quite beneficial.

Have you found that following a high fiber diet has helped with your heartburn? Share your thoughts, experiences and recipes in a comment below!

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The Treacherous Waters of the Local Fish Market

Navigating the fish market after visiting your GERD surgeon in Dallas or Ft. WorthDallas may be five hours from the coast, but our fine city is still full of the bounty of the sea. From five-star restaurants to teeming fish markets, Dallas residents have plenty of options when it comes to finding fish, which may be a great thing for those who suffer from heartburn. As your GERD surgeon and any nutritionist will tell you, fish is one of the very best sources of protein for your diet—a less fatty alternative to the cholesterol-packed red meat and pork that may spark reflux symptoms in many GERD patients.

Yet, when many of us hit the local fishery for some fresh, flippered food, we may find that there are actually too many fish in the sea. Hitting the seafood counter at your supermarket can often raise more questions than answers. Though we often see labels that make claims like “wild caught,” we may not know how these options differ from farmed fish. We may have heard about mercury contamination, but not everyone is familiar with exactly what that entails.

Chock full of omega-3 fatty acids that can protect you from heart disease and inflammation, fish can be a healthy and tasty part of any seafood enthusiast’s diet. Consistently skipping the fish counter may mean that you’re also skipping the many benefits that eating fish can provide. If you find yourself leaving the market without fish because of unanswered questions, here’s some information that you may find helpful.

What’s the difference between “wild caught” and “farm-raised”?

You’ll often see these terms used for salmon, which may well be the fish most admired for its high nutritional value. However, farm-raised salmon can contain dangerous PCBs, which are manmade chemicals that were once used in a number of different manufacturing and industrial processes.

Though PCBs were banned from use in 1979 because of their toxicity, they do not break down easily and have remained in the environment, cycling between water, air and soil as they’ve slowly spread. They can gradually build up in the bodies of fish and have been linked to cancer and problems in the endocrine, reproductive, immune and nervous systems.

Those in the know refer to fish farming as “aquaculture” and many highlight the practice as an important way to keep our consumption of fish sustainable and prevent the overfishing of oceans and waterways. Yet, some environmental groups warn that fish farming can actually be detrimental for natural ecosystems. Ultimately, the impact and healthiness of aquaculture comes down to the species, methodology and location.

Monterey, California’s popular Monterey Bay Aquarium has done a lot of advocacy work to educate people about the potential dangers of the fish we eat. They’ve compiled a list of the fish that have the lowest impact on the environment and our health for each region of the United States. For Dallas residents and everyone else in the Southeast, here are the fish that Monterey Bay considers safe to buy farmed.

  • Rainbow trout
  • Tilapia
  • Arctic char
  • Baramundi
  • Catfish

What’s all this about mercury contamination?

Pollution has, unfortunately, made mercury contamination prevalent in many different bodies of water. Despite the recognized dangers of mercury pollution, attempts to regulate industrial sources of the contaminant have so far been largely unsuccessful, making it a persistent problem.

Mercury attacks the nervous system and brain when it enters the human body, creating the potential for problems with vision, memory and even blood pressure regulation. Though it can spell trouble for any human being, mercury poisoning is most detrimental to children, who can develop learning disabilities or experience delays in how quickly they learn to talk or walk. This makes avoiding mercury contamination important for expectant mothers as well.

Bacteria break down mercury in waterways, but this doesn’t remove the problem. Rather, this broken down mercury moves up the food chain as small fish are eaten by larger ones. This results in a slow build-up of mercury in larger fish like swordfish, sharks and tunas, who may ultimately reach up to 10,000 times the mercury content of their surrounding waters.

Monterey Bay suggests avoiding or limiting consumption of the following fish because of mercury contamination:

  • Swordfish
  • Yellowfin, bluefin and bigeye tuna
  • Grouper
  • Blue-striped marlin
  • Sharks

Fish can be a big boon for your reflux diet, helping you eat valuable protein without the resulting heartburn. However, not all fish are equally healthy for your body or the environment. Though these may be among the most important factors to consider when buying fish, you can continue to educate yourself on buying healthy fish by visiting Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Page.

 

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Eat Raw, Beat Reflux

Incorporating raw foods into your diet could alleviate the symptoms of GERD.

You may have heard of people eating a raw food diet to lose weight, but did you know that a raw diet can also help reduce the symptoms of your gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)? Whether you’re considering reflux surgery or are already a patient of Dr. Ihde, below are some fruits and vegetables that, in raw form, may help alleviate many of your reflux symptoms.

  • Antioxidant-rich Fruits: Often hyperbolically referred to as “superfruits,” fruits like pomegranates, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, kiwis, cherries and tomatoes are rich in substances called antioxidants. What makes them super? Antioxidants prevent oxygen from reaching molecules called free radicals, which accumulate from food chemicals, smoke and environmental toxins. Free radicals can damage the lining of your esophagus and digestive tract if allowed to get oxygen, making antioxidants a great tool in preventing free radicals from worsening the burning sensations and pain caused by GERD.
  • Pineapple: Rich in an enzyme called bromelain, pineapple may help to improve your overall digestion. Bromelain is believed to reduce the production of stomach acids, so getting more in your diet will reduce your chances of having those acids make their way up to your esophagus. However, canning and freezing can destroy bromelain, so make sure to eat raw, fresh pineapple for the most beneficial results.
  • Raw Vegetables: Certain raw vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, spinach leaves, kale and carrots are rich in fiber, which can reduce the severity of GERD attacks by binding to the hydrochloric acid in your stomach and preventing the escape of acid into your esophagus. Eating these vegetables is also a great way to get more vitamin A into your diet, which your body needs to repair esophageal tissues.
  • Legumes and Sprout Grains: Legumes and grains like lentils, barley, wheat and chickpeas are rich in B-vitamins, which experts say can help to reduce the symptoms of GERD. Like the raw vegetables above, legumes and sprout grains are also a great source of fiber.

Given the lack of raw food options in most restaurants and the difficulty of planning and preparing raw meals that have full nutritional value, a full raw food diet is not the best option for everyone, but getting more of these raw foods into your diet could be a big help with managing your GERD. Next time you reach for a snack, think about eating some fresh pineapple or antioxidant-rich berries instead of a handful of potato chips. Of course, you should always consult Dr. Ihde before making any changes to your diet—ask about the possible benefits of raw foods in addressing the symptoms of GERD.

 

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Can Tea Help Heartburn?

Suffering from heartburn is a painful experience. One natural remedy that helps some patients avoid or diminish heartburn pain is drinking ginger tea. It is important not to begin adding any supplements to your diet without discussing their benefits and risks with your physician first. For many people, transoral surgery in Dallas is necessary to overcome the severe discomfort caused by heartburn and acid reflux.

About Ginger Tea

Ginger is a spice used to add a pungent, sweet flavor to recipes. It has also been used as a natural treatment for a range of digestive problems, including upset stomach related to chemotherapy, pregnancy and other conditions. People with heartburn often find relief with ginger. To make ginger tea, grate a teaspoon of fresh ginger and put it in a tea ball. Let this steep it in a pot of hot water for about four minutes, and then it will be ready to drink.

How it Works

Ginger tea soothes the digestive tract and has anti-inflammatory properties. Even the simple fact that it is consumed warm helps patients feel better. Ginger also eases related stomach issues, such as acid indigestion, nausea and gassiness.

Ginger tea is more effective for some patients when it is combined with other natural remedies such as slippery elm bark or goldenseal. Combining these herbs helps digestive linings heal.

Side Effects

Most people don’t experience side effects when they drink ginger tea. However, some do have diarrhea, increased heartburn or mouth irritation. Taking no more than 4 grams of ginger a day limits the chance of side effects so patients can benefit from the soothing benefits of the tea.

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Indigestion and Coffee

Many people rely on a cup of coffee to provide that early morning boost of energy. However, for those who suffer from the discomfort of indigestion in Dallas, it is likely time to find a new caffeinated beverage. Coffee has been shown to contribute to indigestion, whether it is decaffeinated or not, which suggests that some other component in it is irritating the digestive tract. Before naming coffee as the culprit of indigestion, however, it is worthwhile to investigate other causes.

What Causes Indigestion?

The symptom of indigestion is independently related to several conditions, including gastrointestinal reflux disorder (GERD) and overeating. It may occur simultaneously with heartburn, but these two symptoms ultimately have different causes. If there is a frequent experience of heartburn and acid indigestion, then it may be time to see a doctor about a potential diagnosis of GERD, which is an abnormality or weakening of the sphincter that closes off the stomach during digestion.

How Does Coffee Make the Symptoms Worse?

Several of the chemicals contained in a cup of coffee are known to contribute to the risk of high acid gastric secretions. Caffeine may not even be the most active of the list, which also includes N-methyl pyridinium and chlorogenic acid. Cutting back on coffee may reduce the symptoms of acid indigestion, but it alone is not the cause of GERD. It is important to remember that indigestion triggers often vary from person to person, and so it is impossible to say that coffee is a sure cause of heartburn or an upset stomach. In fact, specialists say that an occasional cup may offer health benefits that outweigh the potential risk. The best thing to do is to cut back and see if this leads to a reduction of symptoms.

If GERD is suspected, it is important to get a formal diagnosis for the indigestion in Dallas, because there are medications that can help, as well as a list of other foods and beverages to avoid or use sparingly.

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Almonds and Indigestion

There are many people suffering from indigestion in Ft Worth, often as a result of acid reflux. Acid reflux occurs when there is a weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter. This allows stomach acids to leave the stomach and enter the esophagus. Acid reflux can be very painful and may consist of a burning sensation in the throat, heartburn, chest pain and even regurgitation. These occurrences are most often linked to the consumption of spicy, fatty or oily foods, but almonds may also have an impact on acid reflux.

While almonds are often considered to be a healthy snack, this may not be the case for those who suffer from frequent heartburn and indigestion. Their fat content makes them undesirable for chronic sufferers of acid reflux. One serving of almonds contains more than 17.9 grams of fat. Considering that the recommended daily fat consumption for adults is 44 grams to 78 grams per day, 17.9 grams is a considerable amount of fat.

Acid reflux can be managed by eating properly and avoiding common trigger foods. Research has proven that almonds are a trigger and that removing them from your diet can help alleviate symptoms. The best way to determine if they should be avoided is by monitoring your consumption and noting your reaction to them. If you find that almonds trigger your symptoms, then it may be worth your while to avoid them in your diet, and speak with your physician about other dietary triggers that may be aggravating your acid reflux symptoms.

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Zinc and Acid Reflux

Chronic indigestion in Dallas can mean more than sleepless nights and a reliance on antacids. It can mean an end to indulging in any of the dishes that make Dallas cuisine so special.

Recent research from the Yale University School of Medicine indicates that taking a common and essential mineral can relieve indigestion and acid reflux. This type of indigestion is incredibly common in the United States, affecting more than 50 million Americans.

This promising mineral is zinc. In a study of 12 participants, Yale’s researchers found that 200 mg of zinc chloride administered orally after a 10-hour fast quickly reduced stomach acid secretion. The lowered secretions continued for three or more hours.

Acidity in participants receiving plain water or an acid reflux PPI medication remained high. The researchers indicate that delayed relief is a long-standing shortcoming of PPIs. Their findings, published in the January 2011 American Journal of Gastroenterology, also mention that regular use of zinc also thickens the stomach surface’s acid-buffering protective gel layer.

The stomach’s acid-secreting parietal cells contain tiny pumps that release acidic hydrogen ions. PPI acid reflux medications block the pumps’ ion release. Their regular use, however, may cause zinc deficiency. As an essential mineral, zinc helps cells grow properly. Zinc deficiency may cause nerve damage, problems with developing infants and digestive system irregularity.

The Yale researchers speculate that zinc may relieve indigestion quickly by preventing the negative electrical charge that signals the stomach cavity to begin producing acid. They suggest that at daily levels higher than the National Institutes of Health’s recommended 8 to 11 mg, zinc may be a supplemental or alternative acid reflux treatment.

If indigestion has put your favorite Dallas cooking off limits, talk to your doctor about adding zinc to your acid reflux treatment regimen.

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Diets for Heartburn Avoidance

Heartburn, a predominant symptom experienced by patients that have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is a condition where stomach acids flow upward into the esophagus. Besides taking medications prescribed by your Dallas/Fort Worth physician, the characteristic burning sensation felt in the upper abdomen or lower chest can be reduced by eating foods that don’t aggravate the condition.

Diets for Heartburn Avoidance

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) patients should eat a diet low in fat to minimize their symptoms. They can have meat, fish and poultry as long they are low in fat. Likewise with beverages make sure to drink skim or low-fat milk rather than the full-fat variety. A bland diet is more likely to stave off heartburn than one filled with spicy foods is. Chocolate and red wine are common heartburn triggers, as well. In fact, any drink that has caffeine or alcohol is more likely to cause you to feel the burn. Foods, like spaghetti sauce, chili, and heartburn that are tomato-based are frequent culprits as are some citrus fruits. Some individuals are also bothered by peppermint, spearmint, onions, and garlic. Diets that are high in fiber are recommended for people who have GERD.

Eating Habits to Avoid Heartburn

Eating smaller portions more often will prevent you from overfilling your stomach, and will lower your risk of developing acid reflux. Don’t lie down right after eating, it’s best to wait at least two hours after eating before going to bed. If you are obese, try to lose weight. Excess fat pushes on the abdomen, causing increased pressure on the stomach. This increased pressure can lead to acid reflux. Even if you don’t have GERD now but you are obese it is wise for you to lose weight because obesity is a risk factor for developing Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).

 

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