A hernia of any type is no picnic, and that applies to a hiatal hernia as well. This condition which is characterized by part of the stomach bulging upward through an opening in the diaphragm might leave the sufferer with no symptoms. However, for this who do demonstrate them, it is important to know that what you eat can have a large impact on having a good day and having a bad one.
Two of the most notable symptoms of a hiatal hernia is heartburn and acid indigestion. This happens because it is easier for stomach acid to come up into the esophagus. The result is a burning sensation in the throat and chest. Thankfully, heartburn like symptoms associated with a hiatal hernia can be controlled through diet.
Foods that are highly acidic or that weaken the lower esophageal sphincter can cause and contribute to this symptom. Some of the foods to avoid are:
Citrus – oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes and some juices
Fried and Fatty Food – fried chicken or fatty cuts of meat
Garlic and Onions
Tomato-Based Food – pasta sauce, pizza, chili and salsa
Coffee and Tea
Now that we have reviewed some of the foods that can add to your hiatal hernia discomfort, allow us to take a look at some that are less likely to cause symptoms:
Bananas and Apples
Green beans, Peas, Carrots and Broccoli
Grains – Including bran and oatmeal based cereals, bread, rice, pasta, and crackers
Low-fat or Skim Milk
Fat-free cheeses, cream cheese and fat-free sour cream
Pretzels, Rice Cakes and Baked Potato Chips
While the division between what foods are “good” or “bad” for a hiatal hernia is relatively clear, there are also some best practices that can be followed in the preparation of food to limit the potential for heartburn-like symptoms. This includes:
Choosing lean cuts of meat like skinless chicken, turkey, and fish
Baking and boiling food instead of frying it
Removing fat from meat during the cooking process
Going light on the seasoning
Substituting low-fat dairy foods like yogurt instead of ice cream
Steaming vegetables using only water
Limiting the use of butter, oils and cream sauces when cooking
A hiatal hernia is by no means an ideal diagnosis, but it certainly doesn’t have to drastically impact your life. By following the above tips, avoiding certain foods and making the appropriate lifestyle changes, anyone with a hiatal hernia can live an enjoyable life while mitigating the impact of the symptoms.