Implications and Management of GERD

May 16 3:17pm | Abby McWaters, Registered Dietitian | @amcwaters

Written by Isabella Wiggins, Mayo Clinic dietetic intern

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common problem that affects many people. One in five people say they have GERD symptoms at least once a week. GERD is often referred to as acid reflux. Heartburn and regurgitation are the two main symptoms of GERD. It may be made worse by lying down, bending over, or eating certain foods.


Tips for GERD management

Lifestyle changes:

  • Eat smaller meals more often. Do not eat large meals or overeat, especially before exercising
  • Stop eating two to four hours before going to bed
  • Eat slowly and chew food well
  • Stand or sit upright for at least 30 minutes after eating
  • When you go to bed, start by lying on your left side to help make it less likely that you will reflux.
  • If you smoke, stop. Do not be around tobacco smoke
  • Lose weight. Excess weight around your waist causes more pressure on the stomach. Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink
  • Do not wear tight-fitting clothes


Limit or stop eating foods that bring on your GERD symptoms or make your symptoms worse. Some of the following foods can cause or worsen GERD symptoms:

  • Fatty foods, including cream sauces, butter margarine, shortening
  • Fatty meat including high-fat hamburgers, bacon, sausage and ribs
  • Chocolate, especially high-fat milk chocolate
  • Spearmint, peppermint
  • Tomatoes and tomato-based products
  • Citrus and fruit juice
  • Caffeine
  • Carbonated drinks, especially soda pop with caffeine
  • Fried foods such as French fries and onion rings
  • High-fat dairy products including whole milk
  • Peanut butter and high-fat nuts
  • Hot sauces and peppers
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Apples
  • Cucumbers and pickles
  • Green peppers
  • Spicy foods


Talk with your doctor about other ways to manage symptoms of GERD medically.

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