1.Skip GERD With These Sweet Treats
When it comes to sexy sweets, most people opt for chocolate — Americans spend $1.6 billion on candy on Valentine’s Day alone, and a whopping $83 billion throughout the year. But for those suffering from Gastrointestinal Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), chocolate is more likely to cause heartburn than “heart-yearn.” A small University of Michigan study found that chocolate causes a surge of serotonin to be released from the intestines. This results in an emotional feel-good response that causes the lower esophageal sphincter to relax, which opens the door between the esophagus and stomach and allows stomach acid to flow back up. But having GERD doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the intimate indulgence — try these delicious alternatives that can reduce your risk of GERD attacks. That said, keep in mind that GERD triggers vary from person to person, so you’ll have to find the best treats that work for you.
Naturally sweet treats are going to be the best alternatives, but be mindful of any fruits that are GERD triggers for you, said gastroenterologist Aline Charabaty, MD, director of the Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disorder at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Some people have a bout of heartburn after eating bananas, while others find that citrusy fruits trigger an acid flare. For a more exotic delicacy, try grilling fruit, poaching pears, orbaking apples to release natural sugars without leading to GERD.
Few morsels are more temptingly sweet and romantic than ripe raspberries and strawberries. Serve them in delicate glass bowls or long-stemmed flutes with low-sugar, low-fat yogurt for dipping. Juicy, yes, but also low in calories, said Timothy Harlan, MD, associate chief of outpatient programs at the Tulane University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans and author of the cookbook Cooking to Reduce the Burn. That’s important, he emphasized, because people with GERD have to watch calories, too. “Weight loss is key,” explained Dr. Harlan.
Frozen yogurt has swept across the country, capturing the hearts of sweet-tooths and dieters alike. Yogurts with probiotics can be a good option even if you have lactose intolerance from other dairy foods. Inability to digest the lactose found in dairy can cause gas and belches that bring up acid, mimicking GERD. But yogurt, frozen or not, is soothing for your stomach. Just don’t give yourself chocolate heartburn by layering on the wrong toppings. Go for fruit or granola.