A healthy Barrett’s Esophagus Diet includes foods that help keep the stomach acidity level low and prevent acid reflux. Dietary changes are recommended for someone diagnosed with GERD or Barrett’s disease as certain foods can help keep the disease in control.
What is GERD? What is Barrett’s Esophagus? Most importantly what foods help maintain these disease better?
Read on to know the answers to these questions and much more.
GERD and Barrett’s Disease
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease occurs when the acid produced in the stomach is refluxed back to the esophagus. There is an opening in the end of the esophagus that is known as the sphincter. When it does not contract properly, the acid travels back to the esophagus causing heartburn, indigestion, or acidity.
Barrett’s esophagus happens when the cells in the lining of the esophagus change to tissue that resembles the lining of the intestine. Once the cell damage occurs, the cells in the esophagus lining cannot be brought back to normal. Esophageal cancer occurs when these cells start showing dysplasia (abnormal growth).
Symptoms of Barrett’s syndrome are typically similar to GERD, like frequent heart burn, loss of appetite, and, in severe cases, vomiting and blood in stool. If these symptoms persist, the patient should seek medical help immediately.
Once endoscopy is done and disease diagnosed and prognosis made, the treatment begins. Depending on your health and medical history, the physician will create an appropriate treatment plan. Apart from medicines, your doctor will ask you to follow a special diet.
Barrett’s Esophagus Diet
Nutrition plays an important role in the over-all health of an individual. When you suffer from a health condition, it is important to eat foods which can accelerate your recovery. Similarly, you must avoid foods that can worsen your situation.
Here is a list of foods that Barrett’s patients must avoid:
- Acidic and Spicy Foods – They are irritants both to your throat and stomach. Hot spices like cayenne, jalapeno or chili can cause reflux.
- Fatty Foods – Too much fat can weaken your lower esophageal sphincter (LES), allowing the stomach acid to travel back to the esophagus. This, in turn, will further aggravate the situation. So, it is better to avoid high fat and buttery foods.
- Caffeine and Alcohol – These two can relax the LES, leading to more acid reflux.
What Foods to have?
Barrett’s patients are advised against large meals. Instead of 2-3 large meals a day eat 5 to 6 small meals. Ensure each meal includes at least a few of these:
- Fruits (but not the citrus ones as they can aggravate your condition)
- Vegetables (preferably steamed or boiled)
- Low Fat Milk
- Honey (helps soothe sore throat and is also good for your stomach; full of wonderful healing properties)
- Low Fat Yogurt (has a cooling effect on your stomach)
- Soft Foods, like smoothies, soups (puts less pressure on esophagus)
You are recommended to consult your doctor before making any dietary conditions. Medicine and the right diet go a long way in treating Barrett’s disease quickly and effectively.