Acid – what’s the best diet?

Esophagitis Diet for Acid Reflux and Heartburn

There are two best diets! One is Dr Hahnemann’s which, shamefully, even homeopaths haven’t promoted but to which I will return in another post. The other diet is one I devised myself with help from the Food Combining diet, otherwise known as The Hay Diet. This diet is for excessive stomach acid and suffering due to it.

diet Heartburn acid reflux esophagitis Barrett's

There are two aspects to the Hay Diet. One is the food combining part, more accurately food not combining; proteins and carbohydrates are eaten at different meals. The other part, which interests me, is about foods which produce acid or alkaline. This I have developed further with my own experience and experimenting.

This diet is focused on reducing the production of stomach acid and will greatly help people suffering from heartburn, indigestion, reflux, Barrett’s oesophagus, bloating and hiatus hernia etc.

Below is a list of foods I recommend to be avoided and others to take.

Foods To Avoid
Bananas, biscuits (biscuits are lethal for acid!), bread (some home-made brown bread and soda bread is fine in moderation. Avoid white bread and especially avoid toast). Instant coffee. (Fresh coffee is fine in moderation but definitely avoid instant coffee. It seems to be a totally different substance!). Chocolate makes a lot of acid. (If you must eat it, eat a small amount of a good quality chocolate such as a health-food store will sell). Cereals, which means all breakfast cereals, especially Weetabix. Porridge is good for fibre and cholesterol but produces acid so should be avoided. All Grains make acid (cereals, bread, biscuits, beer etc.). Milk. Milk is difficult to digest (consider all the babies with colic!) but this is the effect on the bowel more than the stomach. However, in an acidic stomach, milk will only curdle (as will ice-cream) causing more indigestion. Oranges, grapefruit and tangerines may be ok but are best avoided. Juices made from concentrate.(Apple juices made from pressed apples should be fine.) Nuts and seeds. Tomato sauces in pasta and Bolognese. (A little fresh tomato might be fine.) Alcohol, especially wine. Fizzy drinks. Vinegar and vinaigrettes. Pickles. Potatoes and rice should be taken in moderation, especially mashed potatoes.

Some people have their own individual sensitivities and people sensitive to onions, turnip, carrots and cabbage should be particularly careful.

Foods To Take
When prone to excess stomach acid, begin the day with a small yoghurt drink. (I don’t recommend Actimel as it is a bit sickly being so sugary but a simple one, preferably natural will line the oesophagus and help neutralise the acid. Note that the hay diet does not recommend yoghurt at all.) For breakfast I suggest fruit. Although fruit may contain acid, it becomes alkaline inside. (See my post on apples.) Some cereals like Kallo Puffed Rice are often tolerated – preferably with an alternative to milk – but fruit is the best start to the day. Apples are a great food being high in fibre but great at reducing gas and acid.

Stick to this as much as possible and within a few days most patients will notice a huge difference and might no need ant-acids and PPI drugs to reduce stomach acid. Those suffering with reflux and hiatus hernias are advised to raise the head of their beds by 8 inches. Sometimes the cure is simple!

Updates: I’ve just received the following from a chap who has stuck to my diet recommendations for a couple of weeks. He’s been on PPIs (Losec/Nexium/Ranitidine) for 10 years,

Hi Steve, Thanks for your emails and links. Just a brief email to say since I stopped eating cereals, biscuits and bananas and replaced them with yogurt drink and fruit in the morning it has definitely made a difference to the extent of acid reflux. I can now go several days without any ppi’s or ranitidine. 

May 2016: Doctor’s Diary: Fertility clinics’ tricks of the trade: Disturbed heart rhythm – extra ectopic beats caused by PPI drugs (Omeprazole/Losec)

July 2017: Research shows “excess risk of death among PPI users according to research at the Washington University School of Medicine in the United States.” The research is available at BMJ Open with a summary at the Daily Telegraph

Nov. 2017: PPI drugs cause cancer

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