Hiatal Hernia Diet Dos and Don’ts

04. 16. 2018

A hiatal hernia is a condition in which a portion of the stomach bulges upward through an opening in the diaphragm. This structural abnormality can weaken the valve between the stomach and esophagus and increase the chance of developing GERD. Some people do not experience side effects or symptoms from a hiatal hernia, but others experience heartburn and indigestion.

If your hiatal hernia is causing symptoms like chest pain, sore throat or difficulty swallowing, try altering your diet. The foods you eat can make a big difference in digestive comfort.

Foods That Trigger Hiatal Hernia Problems

The same foods known to aggravate heartburn can also be triggers when it comes to a hiatal hernia. These include:
• Citrus fruits like orange, lemon, lime and grapefruit
• Chocolate
• Spicy foods
• Tomato-based foods
• Caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea
• Carbonated drinks
• Alcohol
• Garlic
• Onions
• Mint
• Fried foods
• Processed foods

Foods That are Gentle on a Hiatal Hernia

Foods that have a low acid content are generally safe for a hiatal hernia. Low-acid foods are easy to digest. These may include:
• Fruits like apples, bananas, pears, grapes, and melon
• Vegetables like potatoes, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and pumpkin
• Leafy greens like spinach, bok choy, red leaf lettuce and kale
• Lean proteins like skinless chicken, fish, turkey breast and lean cuts of grass-fed beef
• Eggs and legumes
• Still water (not carbonated)

Other Helpful Eating Tips

A hiatal hernia affects everyone differently, but here are additional tips for eating and snacking:
1. Eating puts pressure on the stomach, so eat small amounts of food. You will feel more comfortable if you spread out the volume of the food you consume in a day instead of eating three larger meals.
2. Avoid using a straw when drinking because you are more likely to swallow air which produces excess stomach gas.
3. Chew gum sparingly. This also causes you to swallow more air.
4. Finish all meals and snacks at least three or four hours before going to bed. This will help prevent reflux.
5. Avoid lying down after eating. Staying upright will help gravity work in your favor and keep food contents in the stomach.

If you are experiencing acid reflux on a weekly basis, call a gastroenterologist. Our board-certified GI specialists can answer your questions and help you with heartburn issues. Do not suffer in silence. Get help with your hiatal hernia and call one of our GI centers today.

Related Articles:

5 Common Myths About Heartburn
Who is at Risk for GERD?
What Does an Upper Endoscopy Diagnose?

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