A GERD diet is designed to reduce the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). GERD occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. Symptoms of GERD include:
Following a GERD diet can help you manage the symptoms of GERD. Changes to your diet are usually included along with other lifestyle changes and medications. If reflux is not treated, it can cause damage to your esophagus.
It can be easy to make changes to your diet to treat GERD. There are 2 main categories to consider: How you eat and what you eat.
Making these simple changes can help reduce your GERD symptoms:
Certain foods may trigger your GERD symptoms or make them worse. You may want to try keeping a food diary. Keep track of what you eat, when you eat, and your symptoms for 1-2 weeks. This may help you make connections between certain foods and GERD symptoms.
Common triggers include:
When you know what foods trigger your GERD symptoms, it is best to avoid eating them. Instead, eat foods that do not lead to symptoms. Here is a sample menu that shows how you can eat a variety of foods without aggravating your GERD.
Apple Juice (1/2 cup [118 milliliters (mL)])
Whole-grain cereal (3/4 cup [177 mL])
Whole-wheat toast (2 slices)
Jelly or jam (2 tablespoons [29 g])
Skim milk (1 cup [237 mL])
Vegetable soup (1 cup
Lean beef patty (3 ounces [86 g])
Reduced-calorie mayonnaise (1 tablespoon [14 g])
Mustard (1 tablespoon [14 g])
Fresh fruit salad (no citrus) (1/2 cup [114 g])
Graham crackers (4)
Skim milk (1 cup [237 mL])
Green salad (4 ounces [114 g])
Vinegar and oil dressing (1 tablespoon [15 mL] )
Broiled skinless chicken breast (3 ounces [85 g])
Herbed brown rice (1/2 cup [114 g])
Steamed broccoli (1/2 cup [114 g])
Low-fat frozen yogurt (1/2 cup [114 g])
|Tip: Skipping coffee at breakfast can decrease stomach acid. You may want to try tea instead.||Tip: Skip the tomatoes and onions on your burger to decrease stomach acid.||Tip: Stick to low-fat dairy products.||Tip: Choose low-fat meats, like skinless chicken breasts.|
In addition to changing the way you eat by avoiding trigger foods, these steps may help keep your GERD symptoms away:
American Gastroenterological Association
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Canadian Institute for Health Information
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 14, 2013. Accessed February 21, 2014.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Nemours Kids Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/gerd-reflux.html. Updated June 2011. Accessed February 21, 2014.
The GERD diet (gastroesophageal reflux disease). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: McKinley Health Center website. Available at: http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu/handouts/gerd_diet.html. Updated April 16, 2008. Accessed February 21, 2014.
Kahrilas PJ. Clinical practice. Gastroesophageal reflux disease. N Engl J Med. 2008 ;359(16):1700-1707.
Oliver K, Davies G, Dettmar P. Diet and lifestyle as trigger factors for the onset of heartburn. Nurs Stand. 2011; 25(36): 44-48.
Treatment of GERD. International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders website. Available at: http://www.aboutgerd.org/site/about-gerd/treatment. Updated February 5, 2014. Accessed February 21, 2014.
Last reviewed April 2016 by Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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