Best Acid Reflux Foods

Chad Birt

Written by Chad Birt on Fri Aug 11 2023.

Oats and grains.

Acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is one of the most common digestive problems, affecting up to 20% of Americans. If you or your loved one have GERD, preparing healthy meals is essential. Dietary changes can relieve symptoms and reduce the need for medication.

To learn more about the best acid reflux foods, we reached out to Carmelita Lombera, RDN, a Clinical Nutritionist and Certified Health Coach. Keep reading to learn which foods to include in a GERD-friendly diet.

What is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux causes food and stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus, causing inflammation and scarring. It happens when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) –– a small ring of muscle that acts as a doorway between the esophagus and stomach –– becomes weak or damaged. 

Almost everyone gets heartburn occasionally, but if symptoms occur multiple times a week, it’s likely acid reflux. 

Can My Diet Make Acid Reflux Worse?

Yes. If you suffer from frequent heartburn, it’s essential to consider your diet.

“Some foods trigger the stomach to produce more acid, while other foods cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax, allowing more acid to escape the stomach,” Lombera said. “Limiting portions or avoiding these foods altogether can reduce symptoms and improve your quality of life.”

How We Chose the Best Acid Reflux Foods

We carefully select each and every product we recommend based on:

  • Gathering real caregiver feedback. We read reviews and collect feedback from real caregivers like you. We never recommend a product we haven’t heard a caregiver say they love.

  • Chatting with our in-house RN. Our in-house nurse reviews all our recommendations to make sure the products we suggest our safe and vetted. (Note: You should still always consult your own doctor when making decisions about your diet and health!)

  • Prioritizing quality and safety. The products on this list come from a range of price points but have one thing in common: we’ve made sure to only include the very best quality options that are the most safe for you or your loved one.

  • Talking to our Care Team. Our Care Team speaks to you, our caregivers, every single day about the products they love and hate. We always run our recommendations by them to make sure everything is in line with what our customers love.

Best Acid Reflux Foods

Many people relieve acid reflux symptoms with over-the-counter medication, like antacids. These drugs provide some relief, but they aren’t a cure. The best way to make lasting change is with a healthy diet. 

Here are some foods to start with:

1) High-Fiber Foods

High-fiber foods make you feel fuller sooner. They assist with digestion and help absorb stomach acid that might otherwise flow back into the esophagus. 

Lombera recommends:

  • Green vegetables, like broccoli, green beans, and squash

  • Whole grains, like oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa

  • Root vegetables, like carrots, turnips, and beets

2) Alkaline Foods

“Alkaline foods prevent an increase in acid production. They help replenish essential minerals, such as calcium and magnesium,” Lombera said. “The human body needs to maintain a very specific pH (or acid balance) of 7.35-7.45. Alkaline foods help keep acid levels within the proper range.”

Alkalizing foods include:

  • Leafy greens, like arugula, kale, and spinach

  • Cucumber

  • Bell pepper

  • Broccoli

  • Celery

  • Melons, including watermelon and cantaloupe

3) Watery Foods

Watery foods have higher-than-average water content, which helps neutralize stomach acid. Many watery fruits and vegetables are also alkaline. Some of Lombera’s favorites include:

  • Celery

  • Cucumber

  • Apples

  • Lettuce

  • Pears

  • Watermelon

“Watery foods make great smoothie ingredients. They’re hydrating and the perfect substitute for a big meal.” Lombera said.

Carewell Tip

Drinking herbal teas can help with acid reflux. Chamomile tea, in particular, acts as a digestive aid and helps reduce gastrointestinal inflammation.

Recommended Reading: 8 Thirst Quenching Herbal Teas for a Refreshing Summer

4) Healthy Fats

Foods high in saturated fat, like french fries and hamburgers, take longer for your stomach to digest. They also release a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK), which causes the lower esophageal sphincter to relax.

Thankfully, if you have GERD, you don’t have to avoid fatty foods altogether. Instead, try substituting your favorite go-to’s with healthy (or unsaturated) fats. 

Healthy fats include:

  • Nuts, like walnuts and pistachios

  • Avocados

  • Fatty fish, like salmon, tuna, and trout

  • Egg yolks 

  • Dark chocolate

Remember: you don’t have to avoid your favorite snacks altogether. If you decide to eat saturated fats, try preparing them differently.

“For example, if you miss the crispy crunch of fried chicken, use an air fryer instead of a deep fryer,” Lombera said. “This cooking method uses less oil and is less likely to trigger heartburn.”

5) Lean Proteins

Lean proteins have less fat, allowing for quicker digestion. The stomach releases less acid when breaking these foods down, reducing the risk of post-meal heartburn.

Lean proteins include:

  • Skinless white chicken

  • White flesh fish (for example, rockfish or sole)

  • Turkey

  • Lean cuts of beef (for example, those with less than 10 grams of total fat)

  • Pork loin

Acid Reflux Foods - Commonly Asked Questions

1) Are there any home remedies for acid reflux?

Yes. Baking soda and water can help neutralize excess stomach acid, but a little goes a long way.

“Start with ½ tsp of baking soda in 8 oz of warm water and stir thoroughly,” Lombera said. “You can drink the mixture twice a day, but be careful if you have high blood pressure (hypertension). 1 tsp of baking soda has 1260 mg of sodium, which is ½ of the recommended sodium intake per day.”

2) Does eating large meals make acid reflux worse?

Yes. When you eat large meals or snacks, it’s harder for the lower esophageal sphincter to close. 

“Limit portions, even if you’re eating alkaline foods,” Lombera said. “Instead of eating 1-2 large meals per day, try having 3 smaller meals with 2-3 snacks.” 

3) Why is my acid reflux worse when lying down?

If you lie down immediately after eating, food and stomach acid are more likely to flow back into your esophagus. 

“Going for a walk after eating helps gravity move food from your stomach to your small intestine, resulting in less acid reflux,” said Lombera.

Best Acid Reflux Foods - Takeaways

Living with acid reflux can take pleasure out of mealtime, but small dietary changes make all the difference. 

By replacing fatty or irritating foods with high-fiber, alkaline, and watery ingredients you can reduce the frequency of heartburn and prevent lasting damage to the esophagus. 

Do you have questions about your loved one’s nutrition or diet? Our Care Specialists are standing by and happy to assist. Call (800) 696-CARE or send an email to today.

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Chad Birt
Chad Birt

Chad Birt is a freelance medical writer who resides in Astoria, Oregon. When he isn't behind a keyboard, you can find him hiking, camping, or birdwatching with his wife Ella and their two dogs, Diane and Thoreau.