I’m a big proponent of natural heartburn relief, so I spend a lot of time researching the best and words foods to eat for acid reflux. Below, I’m sharing everything I’ve learned throughout the years of helping my son manage esophagitis. Just keep reading to check it out!
What Are the Best & Worst Foods to Eat for Acid Reflux?
Whether you’re dealing with heartburn from GERD, esophagitis, or even just temporarily for pregnancy, knowing the best and worst foods to eat for acid reflux can go a long way towards helping keep you off medications. While heartburn medicines do have their place, given recent studies showing that they can cause far more harm than good in long-term users, I’m all about finding alternatives!
As you may know, my son was born with esophageal atresia, a rare condition that makes it difficult to swallow. While he had surgery to correct it on the second day of his life, he’ll always have trouble with heartburn.
So, when I say I’ve extensively researched the best and worst foods to eat for acid reflux, I don’t just mean “I looked it up to write a post on it.” I have literally dedicated my life to finding just the right foods for him (and avoiding the wrong ones) to keep him from spending his life on medication. I just want to make sure you know that.
Let’s start with some of the best foods (and drinks) for heartburn. Then, we’ll go over some of the worst things to eat. We’ll also discuss some “Frequently Asked Questions” about the GERD diet.
Best Foods for Acid Reflux
Before we dive into the list, I just want to remind you that this isn’t medical advice. If you’re experiencing more than just occasional heartburn, talk to your doctor.
According to John Hopkins Medicine, the three main categories of foods that are great for heartburn include those with high water content, alkaline foods, and high-fiber foods.
I was going to break this list down into categories for you, but some foods are all of the above and others fall into two categories. So, to make it easier for you to scan, I’m just making you two handy alphabetical lists. The first is for the best foods that reduce stomach acid, and the second is for drinks. I’ve also included a few of my favorite recipes that are fantastic for GERD.
List of food to eat with acid reflux
- Bananas -these healthy banana pancakes are perfect
- Broth-based soups
- Cauliflower-try Anti-Inflammatory Roasted Cauliflower With Turmeric
- Corn tortillas
- Eggs (NOT fried)
- Fish-for kids, try these homemade baked fish sticks
- Green beans
- Herbs (mild ones, like oregano, garlic, sage, basil, cilantro).
- Honey- raw honey makes a great alternative to sugar
- Lean meat (like skinless chicken and pork)
- Low-fat cheese (Ricotta, Swiss, Cottage, and such)
- Maple syrup- another great sugar alternative. Just make sure it’s real maple.
- Melons (especially watermelon, as it’s high in water content)
- Oatmeal- just avoid the processed flavored stuff that comes in single-serve pouches.
- Potatoes (boiled, baked, or mashed. NOT fried)
- Whole-grains (including bread, rolls, pancakes, cereal and such)
- Zucchini – I have LOTS of zucchini recipes!
I stuck to foods that are mostly good for you here. If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth, though, some safe desserts include:
- Angel food cake or other spongy cakes
- Frozen yogurt (low-fat)
- Custard made with skim milk
- Ice pops (homemade, non-citric, like my fruity coconut water ice pops)
- Pudding made with skim milk
- Slushies made with fruit (try my 5-minute magic slushie hack!)
What to drink for acid reflux
- Aloe Vera juice
- Apple juice (organic)
- Herbal tea (NOT peppermint, though)
- Milk -Skim or 1% (see more below in FAQs)
- Non-citric juices (organic, preferably fresh)
- Smoothies made with non-citric fruits -try my anti-reflux healing morning smoothie
Foods that Cause Acid Reflux (Worst Things to Eat for Heartburn)
While everyone has different trigger foods, GERD and esophagitis experts recommend avoiding the following foods.
- Chocolate (including pies, cakes, and other desserts)
- Cream sauces that are high in fat
- Fried foods and others that are high in fat.
- Fried meats, including fried fish
- High-fat bread, like donuts and most store-bought muffins
- Lunch meats from the deli
- Lemons, grapefruit, and other citrus fruits
- Peppermint (or any type of mint)
- Salty foods
- “Spicy” spices, like jalapeno, chili powder, or spices with “kick,” like nutmeg
Drinks that cause heartburn
- Coffee (or anything with caffeine)
- Chocolate Milk
- Orange juice
- Peppermint tea
- Soda, including caffeine-free and diet
- Tomato juice
- Whole Milk
Before we conclude, I just want to quickly go over some common questions that I see about foods for heartburn.
FAQs about foods for heartburn
I’ll keep this section short and sweet for you!
Does milk help with acid reflux?
Yes, milk can help with acid reflux IF you stick with skim, 1% or 2% (in that order). Buttermilk is also beneficial. High-fat whole milk, on the other hand, can trigger heartburn.
Are there any foods that heal esophagitis?
While there aren’t any specific foods that “cure” esophagitis, choosing from the options listed above will help treat a flare-up and prevent future ones. Just make sure you follow your doctor’s recommendations, too.
Are strawberries good for heartburn?
Strawberries are a high-water-content fruit, so you’d think they’d be great for heartburn. Unfortunately, they’re also mildly acidic, so they can trigger flare-ups. If you want to try them, start slowly with just a few berries and see whether it aggravates your GERD.
What supplements help prevent heartburn?
Probiotics are the best supplements to help prevent heartburn and other symptoms of GERD. I recommend these by Garden of Life for kids, or this one for adults. Turmeric is also a powerful anti-inflammatory. Check out my post on natural remedies for acid reflux for more info and ideas.
This is far from a complete list of ALL of the foods to eat for acid reflux. However, they are in my opinion (and based on my research), the best of the best and the worst of the worst, so to speak.
If you’re newly diagnosed with GERD or esophagitis, I recommend keeping a food journal. Write down everything you eat and note whether or not it aggravates your symptoms. After a few weeks, you should have enough notes to make your own personalized lists of the best and worst foods for your heartburn. After that, you can just add to your journal any new foods that you try.