Chocolate The Sweet Price of Acid Reflux
Our love for chocolate dates back thousands of years. For some people, chocolate is the ultimate “feel good” food—literally. Chocolate consumption is known to trigger natural opiates or “feel good” endorphins such as serotonin in the brain, but for sufferers of chronic acid reflux in Macon and Albany, chocolate may result in more harm than good.
Your GERD specialist has explained to you the importance of maintaining a healthy diet to control acid reflux. On top of changing the way you eat by eating less fatty foods and consuming less alcohol, reducing your chocolate intake may have also be worth your while.
Chocolate can aggravate symptoms of chronic acid reflux in two ways. Firstly, some chocolate contains high amounts of caffeine. Caffeine produces a relaxation effect on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). When the LES is relaxed, your chances of getting acid reflux increase. Secondly, chocolate contains the ingredient known as methylxanthine. According to research, this compound can interfere with the function of the lower esophageal sphincter. Similar to caffeine, the compound can cause the LES to relax, making it easier for stomach acids to reflux into the esophagus.
Ditching Chocolate for Acid Reflux
Some sufferers of chronic acid reflux in Macon may find the news of having to remove chocolate from their diet saddening. Ditching chocolate to avoid acid reflux incidence means no more delicious chocolate ice cream, cake and candy. It will be tough, but removing chocolate from your diet is possible. There are several tactics acid reflux sufferers can use to avoid succumbing to a chocolate craving.
- Find a new snack. Try finding a treat that you enjoy but doesn’t aggravate your acid reflux, like fruit or black licorice. According to the National Institutes of Health, black licorice can help ease the pain of heartburn and reduce stomach lining inflammation.
- Get sidetracked. Cravings typically disappear after twenty to thirty minutes—try to distract yourself in the meantime. Head outside and go for a walk or pick up a book to read. Doing something that involves your hands especially can help keep you from rummaging through your chocolate supply.
- Clean out your pantry. If you’re someone who loves to keep chocolate in the house—get rid of it. Do a clean sweep of all chocolate products that may incite acid reflux. If your family still would like to indulge in chocolate, try keeping it somewhere inaccessible or ask them to hide it where you cannot find it.
Giving up chocolate for good to combat symptoms of acid reflux may take some time. Until then, you can learn to avoid cravings by using some of these helpful tactics. Talk with your GERD surgeon about more ways to combat symptoms of chronic acid reflux.