Sufferers of acid reflux often experience heartburn after eating. This may be due to a weakness in the ring of sphincter muscle that separates the oesophagus from the stomach. This sphincter muscle should relax to let food through but contract again to keep food in the stomach. It can also be due to a hiatal hernia between the stomach and oesophagus.
Cholecystokinin – Excessive consumption of egg yolks, alcohol and coffee, all increase production of the hormone cholecystokinin. This hormone over relaxes the sphincter muscle between the oesophagus and the stomach, allowing gastric juices to enter the oesophagus where they can cause irritation and damage.
Plant-based diets – Cholecystokinin is also increased by meat consumption. This explains why plant-based diets are good for preventing reflux, and those eating meat have been found to have twice as much reflux. Persistent reflux can increase the risk for cancer of the oesophagus.
Foods such as eggs, meat, spicy foods, tomatoes, vinegar, citrus, saturated fats, mint and bananas can increase the chance of reflux in some people.
Antioxidant-rich foods – People eating the most antioxidant-rich foods have half the odds of oesophageal cancer. Interestingly there is practically no reduction in risk among those people who used antioxidant vitamin supplements, such as vitamin C or E pills.
Protect the Oesophagus – The most protective foods for the oesophagus are red-orange vegetables, dark green leafy vegetables, berries, and apples.