Our tube or digestive system -which includes the anus from the mouth- is quite complex because it comprises many organs and segments that are very different from each other, although they serve a common purpose. One of these segments is the esophagus, part of the upper digestive tract, through which the bolus passes from the mouth to the stomach.
This part of the digestive tract can present esophagitis, or what is the same, an inflammatory reaction due to gastric reflux that produces the consumption of some foods and processed products, causing painful symptoms that usually interrupt the pleasure of eating, for which the affected person should know those foods that produce this phenomenon and thus avoid them. Learn about the diet for esophagitis in this FastlyHealarticle.
Esophagitis and its relationship with food
Our digestive system produces gastric juices every time we eat a portion of food, be it a small amount or a fundamental part. These gastric juices are highly acidic, as it is the best way to guarantee the destruction of bacteria and unwanted elements and the simplification of the good to be used by the body as nutrients.
However, some foods and habits, as well as emotional stress, can affect the digestive and immune system, making this acidic environment last longer than it should, causing:
- Damage to the stomach.
- Loss of order in peristaltic movements.
- Among the consequences of this, we find gastric reflux.
This reflux burns or irritates the esophagus, thus being the leading cause of esophagitis. Such a reaction can also be produced by an allergic response directly at the level of the esophagus to certain foods, although it is not the most common cause.
Restricted foods during esophagitis
The most straightforward initial solution is to eliminate those foods identified as allergens for the patient to control this problem. If no allergens are found, or in addition to this measure, the empirical diet against esophagitis is applied, eliminating the foods that are found to cause these alterations already described in the digestive tract. The foods to stop are:
- Animal dairy products and derivatives: either cow, goat, or buffalo.
- Cereals with gluten: Mainly wheat. Also included are oats, barley, Kamut, and rye.
- Legumes and their derivatives: oils, soy meat, flours, hydrolyzed protein, peanut butter, etc.
- Eggs – Although sometimes organically fed poultry, eggs (no soy or corn) are a safe alternative.
- Seafood: mainly shellfish and sometimes fish.
- Processed meats
Although eliminating the vast majority of these foods is the best option, this empirical diet is applied partially or gradually in many cases. The patient begins to eliminate certain specific food groups to identify those that exacerbate the trouble. This does not make it more efficient, but it does make it more acceptable to the patient’s taste while he gets used to it.
Therefore, among the foods eliminated in the first place are dairy and cereals. These are responsible for most of the alterations in the control of the pH of the digestive tract. In at least a third of the cases, the symptoms of esophagitis are reduced after eliminating these foods, regardless of whether the person had an allergic predisposition—intolerance or not.
Next, in order of priority, legumes and processed meats are eliminated. Although they do not always cause a pH alteration as substantial as gluten and dairy products, in the case of sausages and processed meats, these require a more significant effort from the stomach and intestines for their digestion. Legumes alter the immune system and promote acidification throughout the body in the medium and long term. Following this diet may require between 2 to 6 months.
Foods to always incorporate into your diet against esophagitis.
All foods that benefit the balance of the digestive system and the general organism by promoting an alkaline environment are essential to include against esophagitis or any irritation present in the digestive tract. These foods are:
- Vegetables and veggies.
- Fruits: in some cases, citrus fruits may be contraindicated at first, but after the most acute phase, their consumption can be resumed.
- Meats: preferably those grown organically.
- Nuts (peanut is not included, which is a legume).
- Correct hydration: reducing, in turn, the consumption of soft drinks, as well as teas and processed juices.
- If fish, shellfish, and eggs are not allergens for the patient, they can be left in the diet or gradually introduced after several weeks of treatment.
The ideal feeding rhythm is a maximum of 3 to 4 servings per day and with regulated consumption of flours, regardless of whether they are from sources accepted in the diet.
Elemental diet for esophagitis
When none of these alternatives responds to relieve gastric reflux esophagitis or inflammation of the digestive tract is very strong, you can opt for the elemental diet. This consists of feeding through unique non-allergenic formulas in shakes. It is administered for little more than two weeks or between 6 to 12 weeks if it is a severe condition that usually warrants tube feeding. After that, fruits, vegetables, and vegetables are incorporated back into liquid and solid together with formulas that complement other nutrients. This process of the progressive introduction of food can take up to 6 months.
Habits to eliminate during esophagitis
Other essential considerations for more effective treatment of this condition are:
- Eliminate alcohol consumption.
- Do not peck or eat several times in small portions: the stomach produces many gastric juices in the same way.
- Avoid eating in public places or other people’s houses where you do not have control of the ingredients and food preparation.
- Reduce or eliminate the consumption of pastries and refined sugars.
- Reduce or eliminate smoking both in the patient and those who live with him.
- Moderate the consumption of pepper, ginger, and other possible irritants.
This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Diet for esophagitis: foods and dietary advice, we recommend entering our Digestive System category.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.