Diet For Hiatal Hernia
Hiatal Hernias, which are hernias that form where your diaphragm joins with your stomach, are known for their atypical hernia symptoms. Though most people suffering from a hiatal hernia experience no symptoms at all, these hernia types can cause food and acid to get pushed back into your esophagus, causing heartburn, excessive burping, nausea and chest pain.
These symptoms are often not severe enough to require surgery, so if an individual is suffering from a hiatal hernia, proper self-care is important. In addition to standard medications, one of the most important parts of self care is one’s diet, as this can reduce the amount of acids that gets pushed back into your stomach. In addition, foods must be eaten in such a way that it does not cause excess pressure on your esophagus.
What Is The Appropriate Diet For A Hiatal Hernia?
In order to maintain the proper diet for hiatal hernias, very specific foods need to be avoided. These foods not only tend to be acidic (possibly leading to damage to your esophageal lining), they also relax your lower esophageal sphincter.
Acidic Foods That Should Be Avoided
- Certain fruits need to be avoided. Mostly citric fruits, including Oranges (and Orange Juice), lemons, grapefruit and tomato.
- Some vegetables, most notably onions or potatoes, need to be avoided. Starchy foods like potatoes can cause acids to build in your esophagus for digestion.
- Meats – Usually, it is the additives to meats that are particularly necessary to avoid. For example, chicken wings may have spices on it that should be especially avoided. Still, most meats have some acids, so refraining from beef and steak is advisable.
- All dairy products have some acid. While dairy may be a standard part of one’s diet, it may be necessary to either vastly limit dairy consumption or stop eating dairy products altogether.
- Coffee – even decaffeinated coffee contains a great deal of acids, and all caffeine products (chocolate and tea included) increase acid build up.
- Try not to drink alcohol.
- Finally, avoiding fats can also decrease the amount of acid that builds in your stomach.
While some foods need to be avoided, others are perfectly acceptable. If you are suffering from a hiatal hernia, feel free and gorge on the following foods:
- Fruits such as apples and bananas have little to no additional acid, so these are acceptable for hiatal hernias.
- Vegetables like broccoli and carrots are acceptable on a diet for hiatal hernias. These are not a heavy as potatoes or as acidic as onions.
- Not dairy cheeses and milks, like feta and soy milk, all have significantly less acid levels than cow milk, so these may be good substitutes if you are forced to take cow dairy products out of your diet.
- Lean meats and fish are low in acid, so these can be eaten at your discretion.
- Wheat and rice products, such as bread or rice milk do not cause any additional stomach acids.
- Sweets that are low in fat can be a part of one’s diet. Hard candies (non-mint), for example, will not increase an individual’s stomach acids.
Keeping to these diets greatly reduces the amount of acid in your system, which can help decrease the likelihood of any long term injuries.
Additional Self Care For Hiatal Hernias
In addition to maintaining the proper diet for hiatal hernias, it is important to follow a few simple regimen in order to ensure you do not exacerbate the problem.
After eating, make sure you wait at least three hours before going to bed or take a nap. Your food should fully digest before you fall asleep.
Similarly, make sure you continue sitting up for at least two hours, so that food does not flow back into your esophagus.
Do not exercise immediately after eating or do any strenuous activity, as this can cause increased strain on your body. Walking is fine, but running should be avoided.
Eating smaller meals can help these foods digest as well. Some people with hiatal hernias eat four or five smaller meals a day rather than three large ones in order to aid digestion.
Finally, refrain from tight fitting clothes which can cause pressure on your stomach.
By maintaining the proper diet and limited the behaviors that can harm digestion, it is possible to keep your hiatal hernia in check and avoid any additional injury or discomfort.