Acid Reflux is no joke. Discomfort after eating can make meals a dreaded affair. I’m here to tell you that you can still enjoy bread. Not just any bread though. What is the best bread for acid reflex? It’s the healthiest bread for many reasons: heart health, digestive health and more. Whole grains top the charts for calming acid reflux symptoms. Let’s go over the best breads you can use and why they work. In addition, we’ll review what breads to avoid if you struggle with acid reflux or GERD.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this post is not meant to prescribe, diagnose or take the place of your medical practitioner. Please see your own medical practitioner for medical guidance.
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Acid Reflux Symptoms
There are many symptoms of acid reflux or even G. Some of these may be no stranger to you.
- Feeling of a “lump” in your throat
- Having a hard time swallowing
- Chronic coughing
- Hoarseness or inability to speak
- Sleep disruption
- Onset or worsening asthma
You can find an extensive list of acid reflux symptoms HERE.
Symptoms of GERD (symptoms or gastroesophageal reflux disease) also known as chronic acid reflux are quite similar to that of plain acid reflux. The main difference being they happen more often. In chronic acid reflux, a person may experience symptoms more than twice a week for several weeks.
Whether you’re dealing with GERD or acid reflux, the dietary changes are similar as well.
Causes of Acid Reflux
There are two main thoughts when addressing the cause of acid reflux. No matter which theory you agree with, both result in acid coming through an opening in the lower esophageal sphincter. Usually, after food is swallowed, the esophagus closes. If the esophagus doesn’t close, the opening can allow food back up into the esophagus from the stomach. Stomach acid is no joke. There’s a reason why it’s supposed to stay in the stomach. It can burn and cause serious issues.
This still doesn’t explain why the esophagus doesn’t close. Here are two theories about where acid reflux comes from.
Too Much Acid In the Stomach
The most prominent thought, is the overabundance of acid in the stomach which leads to acid overflowing to the esophagus. The normal action taken for such symptoms is to prescribe:
- PPLs and H2 Blockers to decrease the amount of acid produced in the stomach. Note: these can lead to malabsorption.
- Antacids. Some are based in sodium bicarbonate, calcium bicarbonate, magnesium hydroxide and aluminum. Others use an algae that creates a foamy barrier atop the stomach acid. The acid then becomes, less harmful as it contains alginic acid as opposed to stomach acid.
Too Little Acid in the Stomach
The other less popular theory for why acid reflux happens is too little acid in the stomach. The thought behind this view is that instead of increasing, stomach acid production decreases over time. Those supporting this view ask, “If more acid were the problem, why do kid’s not struggle more from acid reflux?” Jonathan V. Wright M.D. wrote the book Why Stomach Acid is Good For You after finding thousands whose symptoms were relieved by supplementing with hydrochloric acid and pepsin. 90 % of tested individuals with acid reflux, heartburn or indigestion were also found to have less than adequate stomach acid production. Digestive enzymes are often prescribed in this case.
There are other problems that may also be part of the equation so if you are struggling with acid reflux, do your own research and talk to your doctor or see a functional medicine practitioner who can help you get to the bottom of your problems.
What Foods to Avoid
Many foods are considered trigger foods, causing havoc within digestive tract. The stomach contents are important in preventing your discomfort. Among the worst foods for acid reflux are the following:
- Fried Food/ Fatty Food such as potato chips or fast food
- Spicy Foods
- Fatty Meats
- Acidic Foods such as Citrus fruits or Tomatoes
- Carbonated Drinks
- Onions, Garlic and Leeks
Best Options: Food for Acid Reflux
These foods provide a good choice for heartburn sufferers and those wanting relief from stomach discomfort.
- Fiber filled foods
- Fruit such as Bananas, Apples, Pears and Plums
- Yogurt or Cottage cheese
- Whole Grains
- Lemon Ginger and Honey Tea (See Recipe Here)
- Lean Meat
- Lean proteins such as turkey, Chicken Breasts or Beans
- Leafy Green Vegetables
- Root Vegetables such as Sweet Potatoes
Best Bread for Acid Reflux
The best bread for acid reflux shouldn’t be a surprise if you understand your body’s needs.
You’ve probably figured I was going to sell you on eating a whole-grain bread and you’re right! Whole grain bread is a good source of fiber, digestive compounds and nutrition.
This 2018 study found the benefits of a whole grain fiber rich diet for those suffering from acid reflux. The best way to shop for bread is to look at the ingredients. Here are different types of bread that all contain high fiber, nutrition and will be gentle on the digestive system struggling with acid reflux.
100% Whole Grain Bread
If your bread has other “all-purpose flour,” “white flour” or “simply says “wheat flour” on the ingredients, that’s a bad sign. Any of these ingredients make a basic white bread. White bread contains very little fiber and essential nutrients. It will only make your symptoms worse. It’s a good idea to look for completely whole grain breads: not just in part. It doesn’t have to be wheat, as long as they are using the whole grain. Try variety of whole grains that also have high fiber content:
- Whole Grain Rye Bread
- Gluten Free Breads Containing Oats, Brown Rice, Millet or Buckwheat (Also great for those with a gluten sensitivity)
- Multigrain Breads Using Whole Grain Flours
Sprouted Grain Bread
Sprouting Grain can help to break down the grains to be more easily digested in addition to the nutrition being more easily absorbed. You can see how I sprout my einkorn grain HERE. Even just soaking grain the night before use (think overnight oats) is enough to help their breakdown in your body.
100% Whole Wheat Bread
Whole wheat may be beneficial if it’s taken from a good source and your body can tolerate wheat. The most important thing with 100% whole grain bread is to make sure it isn’t partially made with refined flours. I’m going to take this one step further and recommend whole wheat einkorn bread. Einkorn is the oldest form of wheat known to man. While our modern varieties have 42 chromosomes, einkorn only has 8. It has amazing nutrition, high protein and the gluten is very weak. This makes einkorn one of the most easily digested grains. You can read more about this heirloom grain HERE. If you’re interested in trying it, I love going through the Idaho growers at Ancient Grains.
Is Sourdough Good for Acid Reflux
The answer to this question is less about whether sourdough causes acid reflux, and more about if you can personally tolerate sourdough bread. For more information on whether sourdough is good for you check out the guest post I wrote HERE. Histamine in sourdough can cause digestive issues in some, but the fermentation process breaks down phytic acid and makes it easier to digest for most people. Severe acid reflux sufferers may not tolerate sourdough due to the lactic acid in the bread.
If you can eat sourdough bread, that’s great! The most important things when eating sourdough is to eat a whole-grain bread or a multigrain bread. This assures you receive the benefits of having high fiber content in the loaf. As encouraged above, whole grain breads are best for acid reflux, GERD, heartburn and other forms of indigestion.
Make Your Own Bread
I absolutely love making my own bread. Since learning how to bake bread, my stomach has rejoiced and my draw to store bought bread has all but diminished. I love using einkorn flour, but bread can be made out of many different flours. Take the time to purchase fresh whole grain flour to get the most nutrition. You can find recipes for many different breads:
The options are endless. I hope you’re able to find bread to enjoy, no matter what acid reflux symptoms you experience.
From the Hilltop,