What is the best bread for acid reflux?

What is the best bread for acid reflux?


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Acid reflux can cause symptoms such as heartburn. The best bread for people with acid reflux is one that contains whole grains, as it is rich in fiber. This in turn plays an important role in digestion.

Whole grain breads may contain any of the following ingredients:

A person with acid reflux should avoid foods containing refined grains, including white bread, as these products contain very little fiber.

There are many different types of whole grain bread a person can choose from.

In this article, we discuss some of the best breads for acid reflux, as well as other foods that may help people with the condition.

To reduce symptoms of acid reflux, a person can include in their diet the following types of bread:

  • French bread
  • hamburger buns
  • hard or plain rolls
  • saltines
  • melba toast
  • English muffins
  • bagels

A person with acid reflux should always choose a whole grain version of bread where possible rather than opting for bread containing refined flour.

The International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) state that people with acid reflux can benefit from incorporating whole grains in their diet.

A 2018 study reports that the fiber in whole grain bread has an inverse relationship to acid reflux symptoms. This suggests the more fiber a person consumes in their diet, the fewer symptoms they will have.

The authors of the study also note that people who mostly eat high fiber bread may halve their risk of experiencing symptoms, compared with those who mostly eat low fiber bread.

People with acid reflux should opt for whole grain bread over bread containing refined flours, such as white bread.

However, there are many different types of whole grain bread available.

Here, we list some healthy options:

100% whole wheat bread

Whole wheat bread and other whole grains contain a number of healthy nutrients in addition to fiber. These include several B vitamins, as well as magnesium, selenium, and iron, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

Bread with a “wheat bread” label is not always whole grain bread. Although it may contain some whole wheat flour, its primary ingredient is white flour.

To find a whole grain wheat bread, it is advisable to look for a “100% whole wheat bread” label. In the ingredients section of the label, whole wheat flour should be first on the list.

100% whole grain bread

A 100% whole grain bread is a particularly healthy choice for people with acid reflux.

Rather than containing only whole wheat, it can include other whole grains, so it provides a broader spectrum of nutrients.

It is also worth noting that breads with a “seven grain” or “multigrain” label are not necessarily whole grain.

As with whole wheat bread, the main ingredients on the label should be some type of whole grain flour, such as:

  • whole millet flour
  • whole corn flour
  • whole brown rice flour

Whole grain oatmeal bread

In addition to fiber, vitamins, and minerals, oats contain unsaturated fatty acids.

Oats reduce cholesterol and improve blood sugar control. They may also lower the incidence of cancer, inflammation of the arteries, and coronary heart disease, which affects blood vessels in the heart.

The first ingredient on the label of whole grain oatmeal bread will likely be whole wheat flour. However, the list will include oats.

Sprouted whole grain bread

The term “sprouted seeds” refers to seeds that are in the earliest stage of growth, having just sprouted.

In a 2019 review, researchers found that sprouted grain bread contains higher concentrations of antioxidants than non-sprouted whole grain bread. Also, its nutrients have greater bioavailability, which means it is easier for the body to absorb them.

For these reasons, the authors of the review conclude that sprouted grains are functional foods, meaning they offer health benefits beyond providing basic nutrients.

When shopping for sprouted whole grain bread, a person should check that the first ingredient on the label is a sprouted whole grain flour, such as sprouted whole wheat flour.

Bread appearance and labels may mislead shoppers who are looking for whole grain products.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics explain that just because bread looks brown or dark does not necessarily mean it is whole grain.

Molasses or other ingredients may be responsible for the dark color.

Instead, a person should look for the Whole Grain Stamp, which is a packaging symbol on thousands of products, according to the Whole Grain Council.

The IFFGD state that, in order to reduce acid reflux, a person should eat a nutritious diet, which will include:

  • Fruit: A person should opt for non-citrus fruits, such as bananas, melons, apples, and pears.
  • Vegetables: Any vegetable that does not irritate the stomach will be beneficial. Therefore, a person with the condition should avoid tomatoes and onions.
  • Complex carbohydrates: In addition to whole grains, a person can eat oatmeal, brown rice, and barley, which are sources of complex carbohydrates.
  • Lean proteins: A person can add to their diet lean proteins, such as eggs and lean meats. It is better to broil or bake lean meats rather than fry them.
  • Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats: Foods containing these fats include olives, nuts, and oily fish.

Mediterranean diet

A 2016 study found the Mediterranean diet is beneficial for the management of acid reflux. People who followed this diet had a lower incidence of acid reflux and other symptoms of GERD.

The Mediterranean diet includes a high intake of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and unsaturated fats.

Learn more about the Mediterranean diet here.

According to the IFFGD, products that can trigger acid reflux include:

Further types of treatment for acid reflux include at-home remedies and medical options.

At-home treatment

While diet is important in helping manage acid reflux, doctors also suggest making lifestyle changes and applying various strategies.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology recommend:

  • quitting smoking
  • reaching or maintaining a moderate weight
  • elevating the head of the bed by 6–8 inches
  • remaining in an upright position for 2–3 hours after a meal
  • avoiding heavy meals before bedtime
  • eating moderately sized meals

Medical treatment

When lifestyle changes and other strategies do not prove effective, doctors may recommend the following:

  • Over-the-counter antacids: Doctors recommend these medications for mild symptoms.
  • H2 blockers: These drugs lower the amount of stomach acid.
  • Proton pump inhibitors: An option for long-term acid reflux, these medicines are more effective at reducing stomach acid levels than H2 blockers.
  • Surgery: Doctors may recommend one of several surgical procedures, including:
    • fundoplication, which involves wrapping part of the stomach around the esophagus, or food pipe, and sewing it in place
    • endoscopy, which can involve using a tube with a light and camera to enter the stomach and sew the top of it around the lower esophageal sphincter
    • bariatric surgery, including gastric bypass surgery

A person looking for the best bread for acid reflux may choose from a variety of whole grain breads. These foods are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Whole grain bread should be part of a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.

Other strategies and lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and eating dinner early in the evening, may also help alleviate acid reflux.

When these measures do not result in adequate relief, doctors may prescribe medications or recommend surgery.



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