Are you experiencing heartburn when you eat savoury sandwiches? Is it forcing you to eat them seldomly, or not at all? Well, don’t worry anymore, we can improve this! You can still eat your favourite sandwiches and avoid heartburn or any other acid reflux symptoms. You just need to know the best types of bread for acid reflux.
The best bread to avoid acid reflux is any type of bread that’s made from whole grains. This is because these types of bread are high in fibre and other nutritional benefits. The high fibre content of whole-grain bread helps to improve the digestive system which prevents acid reflux.
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What is acid reflux and its effects on your body?
Acid reflux is the release of stomach acid into the oesophagus. It occurs when the muscles (sphincter) that are designed to keep the stomach acid in the stomach are weakened or not working properly. This allows the stomach acid to flow backwards, or reflux, into the oesophagus. While this may just happen for a couple of minutes, it shouldn’t be taken lightly if it happens often.
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Acid reflux can affect people of all ages, but it’s more common for this to occur during middle age. Common signs and symptoms of acid reflux include:
- Heartburn or an uncomfortable burning sensation in your chest. This usually happens after eating, where in some cases it’s worse at night.
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Regurgitation of food or liquid from your stomach into your mouth. This is the development of sour or bitter tasting-acid backing up into your throat or mouth
- Hiccups that don’t let up
- Dysphagia – the sensation of food being stuck in your throat
- Breathing problems like chronic cough or asthma
Experiencing acid reflux more than twice a week opens up to a more severe form called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This happens because as the sphincter muscles behave abnormally, a constant backflow of acid will continue. This will then irritate the lining of your oesophagus, which can lead to inflammation and eventually, tissue damage.
What triggers acid reflux?
A variety of different triggers can cause acid reflux. Physical causes, such as pregnancy and smoking can be some of the factors. But the most common triggers are the food and beverages that you consume. Having a combination of a bad lifestyle and a bad diet is more likely to trigger acid reflux. Some examples of these include:
- Eating heavy meals and lying down right after it
- Eating heavy meals late at night
- Eating certain foods, such as citrus, tomato, chocolate, spicy, fatty, or fried foods
- Alcoholic, caffeinated, and carbonated drinks
- Being overweight or obese
- Taking certain medications, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or muscle relaxers
Types of Whole Grain Bread
As I’ve mentioned above, bread that is made with whole grains are the best type to prevent acid reflux. It’s also noted that having a high fibre bread diet reduces acid reflux symptoms compared to having one that’s low in fibre. Excellent examples of these types of bread are:
– Multigrain Bread
As you can easily define by its name, multigrain bread is made from different types of grains. This bread is usually made with whole-grain flour. But this becomes better, as it contains at least 3 kinds of grains from rye, barley, millet, oat, or flax seeds. Besides an earthy flavour, the grains in this bread are high in protein, so they lower the risks of acid reflux.
– 100% Whole Grain Bread
Needless to say, 100% whole grain bread is probably the best type of bread that you should eat if you have acid reflux. All the grains that are used in this type of bread are 100% whole grain, so they are high in fibre and protein. These help to slow down the digestion of the food you eat, which slows down the amount of acid your stomach produces.
– 100% Whole Wheat Bread
Another healthy option, whole wheat bread contains a number of healthy nutrients in addition to high fibre content. This bread is also a good source of iron, magnesium, and B vitamins. Just be careful in picking up whole wheat bread in grocery stores. A lot of bread companies and bakeries nowadays put whole wheat as a marketing gimmick and actually use refined flour. So always check the label, and get 100% whole wheat bread.
– Sprouted Whole Grain Bread
Sprouted whole grain bread has been dubbed as the healthiest type of bread. This is similar to a whole grain bread, except that the grains are sprouted. The process of sprouting grains makes the nutrients and antioxidants higher in concentrations. This process also makes the grains easier to absorb, which, of course, would then make it easier to digest.
Types of bread to avoid if you have acid reflux
As bread that is made with whole grains is the best to counter acid reflux, others made with refined grains are the exact opposite. These types of bread usually contain lots of sugar, fat, and just a little amount of fibre. An example of this is white bread, which has a very low nutritional value.
White bread also contains a high glycemic index. Since this bread is usually made with white or refined flour, it quickly spikes up your blood sugar level. These types of bread are also rich in sodium and other processed ingredients, which will only worsen acid reflux symptoms.
Tips on what you can do to reduce the effects of acid reflux
If you want to take control of your acid reflux, you can start by changing your diet. You should know what kind of food to eat and which ones to avoid. While there are only a few types of bread that help with acid reflux and heartburn, they do exist! Adding some exercise to your routine will also be of great help. In the long run, improving your lifestyle will be a lot more helpful (and affordable) than taking medications.
Useful tips to avoid acid reflux:
- Avoid drinking too much alcohol and smoking. Alcohol and smoking can weaken the lower oesophagal sphincter.
- Eat small portions at regular intervals each day. Eating too much food in one sitting can cause your stomach to produce a lot of acids, which will trigger heartburn and acid reflux.
- Avoid eating heavy meals before going to bed – your stomach needs to rest and digest the food you ate. Going to sleep right after a meal usually causes reflux.
- Change your diet – avoid the types of food that can trigger acid reflux. Instead, eat other foods that are high in fibre.
- Lose weight if you are overweight or obese
Frequently asked questions about bread for acid reflux
What if all bread types give me acid reflux?
If you’ve tried eating all types of bread and your acid reflux is still present, then stop eating it. Studies found out that a person with celiac disease is also possible to have symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn. The best thing to do is consult a medical practitioner.