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Renouncing Favorite Foods due to Acid Reflux

Renouncing Favorite Foods due to Acid Reflux
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Q. I have been diagnosed with a bad case of acid reflux. I am not supposed to eat citrus fruits, tomatoes or tomato-based foods. Those are the staples of my diet. I put tomatoes in almost everything. There go pastas, pizza, soups, you name it.

Is there anything I can put on tomatoes or fruit that will neutralize the acids? I have also been told to avoid fizzy water, caffeine and alcohol, so there’s not much left. Decaf iced tea doesn’t agree with me. Help!

A. There is an over-the-counter product called Prelief (calcium glycerophosphate) that takes the acid out of food. It comes in tablets or powder form and is sold in drugstores or online at www.prelief.com. It should make digesting juice or tomatoes less challenging.

We are sending you our Guide to Digestive Disorders for many more non-drug ideas on dealing with heartburn and reflux.

Cutting back on carbohydrates like pasta and pizza may be more helpful than eliminating tomatoes. Studies have found that a low-carb diet can often ease symptoms of reflux, especially in overweight individuals (Digestive Disease and Sciences, Aug. 2006).

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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