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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Diet and Fitness Diet for Reflux Oesophagitis

Diet for Reflux Oesophagitis

This diet is used to help reduce discomfort in the esophagus caused by acid washing up from the stomach. Heartburn and chest discomfort are symptoms that can occur. A bitter tasting fluid can also wash up from the stomach. Coughing, hoarseness, or shortness of breath can occur if the fluid washes into the breathing passages.

The esophagus is a tube that connects the throat and the stomach. At the bottom of the esophagus, there is a valve that usually prevents acid from washing up from the stomach. A muscle keeps usually the valve tightly closed.

Some foods cause the muscle at the bottom of the esophagus to relax. This diet is designed to avoid these foods and high fat foods.

Treatment may include medications, but the following guidelines should be followed importantly:

  • Stop smoking and chewing tobacco
  • Discuss your weight with your doctor.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight. BMI < 23
  • Do not overeat. Eat small portions at meals and snacks.
  • Avoid tight clothing, tight fitting belts. Do not lie down or bend over within the first 15-30 minutes after eating.
  • Do not chew gum or suck on hard candy. Swallowing air with chewing gum and sucking on hard candy can cause belching and reflux.
  • Use bricks or wood blocks to raise the head of your bed 6-8 inches.
  • Do not eat/drink: Chocolate, tomatoes, tomato sauces, oranges, pineapple and grapefruit, mint, coffee, alcohol, carbonated beverages, and black pepper.


Addition to not eating the foods listed above, a low fat diet can be helpful. The table below will help you to choose low-fat foods.


Choose these foods / beverages

Do not eat these foods / beverages


Most fruits and fruit juices such as apple, grape, cranberry, banana, pears, etc.

Citrus fruits: oranges, grapefruit


Low-fat and fat-free soups such as clear broth based soups*.

Regular cream soups, other high fat soups*.


Decaffeinated tea, herbal tea (not mint), Kool-Aid, soda, water, juices (except orange, grapefruit and pineapple)

Coffee (regular and decaffeinated), alcohol, carbonated beverages

Sweets and deserts

Fruit ices, gelatin, popsicles, ice milks and frozen low-fat yogurt, low fat cookies and cakes (less than 3 g fat per serving).

Chocolate and high fat desserts.


All steamed, roasted, stir-fried (with little oil) vegetables.

Fried, creamed vegetables.

Milk and dairy products

Skim or 1% milk, low fat yogurt, or cheeses (<3 g fat per 30ml milk)

Whole and 2% milk, whole milk yogurt and cheeses. Chocolate milk and hot chocolate.

Bread, cereals and grain products

Low-fat. Rice and Wheat are normally taken

Made with whole milk or cream

Meat, Chicken, Fish, and meat substitutes (nuts, tofu, etc)

Low-fat meats with the fat trimmed before cooking, skinless poultry. Baked, broiled, poached roasted, without added fat.

Fried meats and chicken, salami other high fat meats (> 3 g per 30ml). Chicken skin and meats with visible fat left on.

Oils, butter, margarine

None or small amounts

Animal or vegetable fats

Fat can be skimmed from the top of soups and stews when they are hot or cold.

Make any effort to modify your lifestyle and diet. A few tips you can try are:

  • Stop smoking (if you do smoke)
  • Limit or give up alcohol (if you drink)
  • Restrict or eliminate oily and spicy foods from your diet. Avoid any junk foods, including aerated soft drinks.
  • Limit coffee/tea consumption especially at night.
  • Do not use pain killers as they worsen the problem
  • The major culprits among food that cause excess gas formation are seeds like beans, and other legumes (peas etc), dal and potatoes.
  • Make a regular routine for exercise for at least 30 minutes per day.
  • Drink plenty of water- at least 3 liters per day.
  • Medications like H2 Blockers, Proton pump inhibitors are prescribed by doctors for a long time. These do help in many people along with the above measures.