Diets for Barretts Esophagus

green and red healthy foodBarrett’s esophagus is a medical condition that is diagnosed mostly in people already suffering from gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). There are two criteria for diagnosis. One is histologic and one is endoscopic (displacement of the squamocolumnar junction proximal to the gastroesophageal junction, or GEJ, should be demonstrated in upper endoscopy). Once it is diagnosed, the treatment for Barrett’s esophagus is quite similar to that of GERD. This includes medical treatment with acid-suppressing drugs or surgical treatment known as fundoplication. Treatment is necessary as Barrett’s esophagus is known to lead to invasive cancer.

Are there any specific types of foods to be avoided?

Along with prescribed treatment for Barrett’s esophagus, you need to follow very strict diet rules. There are some types of foods that may heighten the existing Barrett’s esophagus condition and hence should be avoided. The diet should be chosen carefully because all types of diets are not perfect for every individual as the internal organs may react to certain types of foods in some people.

You should avoid those foods that have the ability to increase the acid production in your body as this can worsen your condition and can even lead to low grade or high grade dysplasia. Foods that have the ability to inflame your lower esophagus should also be avoided. This includes citrus fruits and juices like lemon, tomato, orange, pineapple and grapefruit. Extremely spicy foods are also proscribed. It is often recommended o maintain a food journal as it helps in tracking symptoms of various foods causing distress. This will help you to avoid those foods especially.

Some of the other foods and related products that should be avoided include:

  • Fried food includes junk food or street food
  • Food that contains too much fat like ham fat, bacon fat, and lard
  • Peppermint
  • Alcohol
  • Any drink that contains caffeine like coffee
  • Chocolate contains methyxanthin, which is known to cause problems with reflux
  • Aspirin
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Tomato sauce and Ketchup
  • Mustard and Vinegar
  • Creamy salad dressings
  • Full fat dairy products like whole milk, butter, sour cream, and regular cheese
  • Onions and garlic are the most common type of “trigger” foods for heartburn

Are there any recommended diets?

The diet recommendation for Barrett’s esophagus is the same as that of gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). In order to create a proper diet plan for your medical condition, you need to undergo the process of identifying the foods that your body can tolerate `and also the “trigger” foods that will worsen you existing condition or symptoms. The following foods are recommended as a part of your diet:

a)     Peanut Butter: This is considered to be a low fat protein option as compared to red meat and nuts like almonds and walnuts. You can consume peanut butter only if you have a tolerance for the same.

b)     Fiber: Research has proven that fiber protects from digestive woes including GERD symptoms, ulcers, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Fiber is available in fruits, vegetables, and grains that can be easily digested by your body. According to a research carried out by Johns Hopkins Medicine, increasing consumption of fiber can help in avoiding GERD symptoms. High fiber foods include barley, Oatmeal, brown rice, turnip greens, kale, mushroom, lima beans, spinach, avocado, and lentils among others.