GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease. It’s a condition where acid from the stomach travels back up into the esophagus. The acid irritates the esophagus and causes heartburn and other uncomfortable symptoms. To be diagnosed with GERD, the older adult must experience mild reflux a minimum of twice per week, or more serious reflux once a week or more. Depending on how severe GERD is, your aging relative might be able to control it simply by making some lifestyle changes, including altering their diet. Managing GERD through dietary changes requires knowing which foods are helpful and which are harmful.
Foods to Avoid
There are a couple of reasons certain foods should be avoided by seniors with GERD. One reason is that some foods cause the valve at the top of the stomach to relax, allowing acid to flow back into the esophagus. Some foods that may have that effect are:
* Fatty foods.
Other foods cause there to be more acid in the stomach. Some of those foods are:
* Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, etc.).
* Carbonated drinks are also problematic. They increase the amount of pressure inside the stomach, which pushes against the esophageal valve and allows acid to get through.
Foods to Eat
Avoiding foods that worsen symptoms doesn’t have to mean feeling deprived. There are several alternatives to trigger foods that your older family member can eat and still manage symptoms, such as:
Low-Fat Dairy: Instead of drinking full-fat milk or eating full-fat cheeses or other dairy products, opt for the low-fat versions. Or, use non-dairy alternatives, such as soy or almond milk.
Lower Fat Baked Goods: Some baked goods, like croissants and doughnuts, are high in fat. Instead, offer lower fat baked goods, like bagels and pancakes.
Lean Protein: Instead of fatty cuts of meat, choose lean proteins such as poultry, fish, and tofu.
Fruits: Rather than having citrus fruits, serve berries, apples, or other kinds of fruits.
Not all people will be affected in the same way by certain foods. To determine which foods trigger GERD symptoms in your loved one, consider keeping a log of the foods they eat and whether they cause problems. If you notice a certain food consistently causing problems, limit the amount the senior eats or eliminate it completely.
Home care can help older adults with GERD to manage the condition. Home care providers can cook healthy meals that avoid foods that may make symptoms worse. If the doctor has recommended that they take medication for the condition, a home care provider can remind them to do so.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Northbrook IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.