Are you tired of hearing the importance of diet and exercise from your doctor? Well, doctors can be quite persistent when it comes to these things. That because your diet and also exercise is vital to your health. That’s why many diseases out there have diet plans. Including Barrett’s esophagus. So if you have Barrett’s esophagus it’s expected that you follow Barrett’s esophagus diet. That’s because with this diet the symptoms associated with Barrett’s esophagus would improve.
It has not been proven that diet causes Barrett’s esophagus or can cure it. But it has been proven that diet helps improve the symptoms. People with Barrett’s esophagus have gastroesophageal reflux disease. And this is known to be greatly affected by diet. Barrett’s esophagus on its own isn’t so serious. It’s precancerous. So if not properly taken care of it can lead to cancer.
Overview of Barrett’s Esophagus
Barrett’s esophagus is a condition wherein the normal tissue that lines the esophagus changes. The esophagus is a tube that helps transfer food from the mouth to the stomach. The tissue that now replaces the normal tissue of the esophagus is similar to that of the small intestine.
Barrett’s esophagus is known to be a complication that arises from gastroesophageal reflux. In gastroesophageal reflux, there is a regurgitation of acid to the lower esophagus. The acid comes from the stomach.
Normally, Barrett’s esophagus is not a serious condition. But it could lead to other conditions such as cancer of the esophagus. So proper care is needed when you have Barrett’s esophagus.
There are no pronounced symptoms associated with this condition. But there are symptoms associated with acid reflux. Which is a risk for developing Barrett’s esophagus. Some of the symptoms include heartburn, chest pain, and also difficulty swallowing food. When you notice these symptoms over a long period you must go see a doctor.
Now the big question is can it be treated? Well, yes. But in treating Barrett’s esophagus the primary goal is lifestyle changes. Then it’s coupled with medication. And one of the lifestyle changes is your diet. For a person with Barrett’s esophagus diet is very important. That’s why we will be having a look at Barrett’s esophagus diet. With this, you will be well-guided as to foods that can help you and foods that can’t.
Barrett’s esophagus diet
Some foods can worsen the symptoms, and some foods can improve the symptoms. So you must know these categories of foods. And after knowing to make sure you take the bold step in removing some foods and adding some to your daily diet. It’s advised though that before you take any step you talk to your doctor. Your doctor would be able to tell you if avoiding some of these foods and adding some would be a great idea.
Foods to eat
Generally, fiber is one of the best foods you can include in your diet. Fiber has great health benefits that help with your overall health. At the same time, it makes you full for a long period. Research also shows that fiber helps improve symptoms of Barrett’s esophagus. And at the same time, it lowers the risk of development of esophageal cancer.
Here are some fiber-rich foods:
- Brown rice
- Fresh, frozen, and dried fruit
- Fresh and dried herbs
- Fresh and frozen vegetables
- Whole-grain pasta and bread
Foods to avoid
A study showed that increasing the amount of sugar you consume increases the risk of developing Barrett’s esophagus. When there is too much glucose consumption there will be a rise in blood glucose level. And when that happens there would be an increase in the amount of insulin being produced. And insulin is known to cause changes in tissues which can lead to cancer.
At the same time, too much sugar consumption can lead to obesity and excess weight gain. So, avoid or limit taking too many refined sugars by avoiding these foods:
- Corn syrup
- Table sugar
- Ice cream
- Glucose, maltose, or dextrose
- Baked foods like cakes and cookies
- Boxed cereals
- Potato chips
- Rice, flour, pasta, and white bread
- Fruits juices and other sugary drinks
Foods that trigger acid reflux
If acid reflux is controlled well enough then there would be lesser symptoms of Barrett’s esophagus. The thing though is that different people have different foods that cause acid reflux. The important thing is to find out foods that cause acid reflux whenever you eat and stay away from them. But here’s a list of some of the common foods that causes acid reflux.
- Tomatoes and ketchup
- Onion rings
- Hot sauce
- Hot dogs
- Processed meats
- French fries
- Milk and dairy
- Battered fish
Other lifestyle tips
Changing your diet happens to be one of the lifestyle changes. And it’s also one of the most important. But there are also other lifestyle changes you must-do if you want your symptoms to get better.
- Stop Smoking: It has been found out that people that smoke is at higher risk of developing cancer of the esophagus than those that don’t. when you smoke there’s an increase in the amount of acid your stomach produces. Also, there’s a decrease in the amount of saliva the mouth produces. And saliva helps neutralize the acid. It might not be that easy to stop all at once but start small. And also you could go for counseling if you want to quit smoking.
- Drinking: Alcohol triggers acid reflux. And at the same time, it increases the risk of having esophageal cancer. Research shows that it increases the risk to as much as 7.4 times depending on how much you take a day. So, reduce the number of alcoholic drinks you take in a day. Or completely stay away for a while.
- Weight Management: You must manage your weight. That’s because when there’s excess weight especially around the belly there is a rise in stomach acid. When that happens the symptoms worsen. It is also tied to the things you eat. Avoid eating junk foods and also processed foods. Eat more fruits and vegetables. At the same time, exercise more so that you can lose weight. Most importantly, to reduce the symptoms, do not forget to follow Barrett’s esophagus diet.