An individual can eat a wide variety of foods that do not cause heartburn when attempting to control gastroesophageal reflux disease with diet. It is more important to know what foods to avoid. Dietary control of the symptoms involves avoiding heartburn-inducing foods, such as chocolate, fat and citrus fruits.
Each person with GERD has specific foods that trigger his symptoms. Some find mint, garlic or onions make their symptoms worse. Others battle acid reflux after eating tomatoes, drinking caffeinated beverages or consuming alcohol.
Many people with GERD also benefit from a diet and exercise program to help them lose weight. Excess fat puts pressure on the stomach, which increases the reflux. If the person wears clothing that is too tight, he often makes the symptoms worse.
Eating smaller meals helps to control GERD. Reducing the amount of food one consumes at each setting keeps the acid lower in the stomach so it is less likely to enter the esophagus and cause pain. Similarly, it is helpful for the individual to sit upright after meals instead of lying down.
Raising the head at night, either by elevating the head of the bed frame by 6 to 9 inches or inserting a wedge under the mattress also helps to prevent acid reflux. However, simply elevating the head by adding more pillows is not effective for treating GERD.