The silent reflux diet is an alternative treatment that can provide relief from reflux symptoms through simply dietary changes. This diet is a lifestyle change that eliminates or limits trigger foods known to irritate your throat or weaken your esophageal muscles.
Unlike acid reflux or GERD, silent reflux (laryngopharyngeal reflux) can cause little or no symptoms until it has progressed to later stages. If you have been diagnosed with silent reflux, you may experience symptoms including:
The silent reflux diet eliminates foods that can aggravate reflux symptoms and relax muscles in your lower esophagus. These muscles, also known as the esophageal sphincter, are the gateway between your esophagus and stomach that prevents stomach acid and food from traveling backward. When it’s relaxed, the esophageal sphincter can’t close properly and causes reflux symptoms.
Paired with medication, dietary changes help prevent reflux symptoms and identify the trigger foods that can worsen your condition.
Foods to avoid
If you decide to pursue the silent reflux diet, doctors recommend eliminating high-fat foods, sweets, and acidic beverages.
Some foods to avoid include:
- whole-fat dairy products
- fried foods
- fatty cuts of meat
- tomatoes and tomato-based foods
It’s also important to avoid chocolate, mints, and spicy foods because they’re known to weaken the esophageal sphincter.
However, each trigger food can affect people differently. Pay close attention to what foods cause you more discomfort or worsen your upper endoscopy results.
Foods to eat
The silent reflux diet is similar to other balanced diets that are usually high in fiber, lean proteins, and vegetables. A 2004 study showed that increasing fiber and limiting salt in your diet can protect against reflux symptoms.
Some of these foods include:
In addition to modifying your diet, starting a food diary can help you to track your symptoms and identify trigger foods.
There are a number of lifestyle changes you can implement to maintain optimal health and reduce discomfort after eating, including these:
- Quit smoking.
- Stop eating at least two to three hours before bed.
- Exercise to maintain a healthy weight.
- Reduce portion sizes.
- Chew gum to increase your saliva output and neutralize acid.
- Elevate your head when sleeping to prevent reflux symptoms at night.
- Wear looser clothing to ease pressure on your stomach.
- Maintain a well-balanced diet that’s low in fat to improve your digestive health.
The silent reflux diet is a food-based approach to reduce reflux symptoms. Though effective, these dietary changes may not treat the underlying cause of silent reflux. Traditional treatment methods shouldn’t be ignored and can be used in combination with this diet.
Before incorporating the silent reflux diet into your treatment plan, discuss your options and risks with your doctor. If you begin to experience irregular symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.