View Full Version : Hiatal Hernia Diet

14-02-2012, 10:39 AM
Hiatal Hernia Diet Tips

Many people with hiatal hernia, a condition in which part of the stomach bulges upward through an opening in the diaphragm, have no symptoms. But, for those who do, what they eat can be the difference between a good day (or night) and a bad one. Diet plays an important role in controlling the symptoms of hiatal hernia, namely heartburn and acid indigestion.

When you have a hiatal hernia, it is easier for stomach acids to come up into the esophagus, the tube that carries food from your throat to your stomach, causing a burning feeling in your throat and chest. Certain foods can make these symptoms worse. Fortunately, heartburn symptoms associated with hiatal hernia usually can be controlled with diet and lifestyle modifications.

Hiatal Hernia: Foods to Avoid

The following foods are highly acidic and/or may weaken the lower esophageal sphincter, making it easier for stomach acids to back up into your esophagus:

Citrus foods, such as oranges, grapefruits, and lemons, and orange juice, grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, and lemonade
Fatty and fried foods, such as fried chicken and fatty cuts of meat
Garlic and onions
Spicy food
Peppermint and spearmint
Tomato-based foods such as spaghetti sauce, pizza, chili, salsa, and tomato juice
Coffee, tea (including decaffeinated versions), and alcohol
Carbonated beverages
Dairy products, such as whole milk, ice cream, and creamed food. Try soy milk; it may be a good milk substitute. Also, mild cheeses, like feta or goat, may be enjoyed in moderation, or more often if you can tolerate them.
Oil and butter

Hiatal Hernia: Foods to Enjoy

The following foods are low-acid-producing foods and should not aggravate your hiatal hernia symptoms:

Bananas and apples

Green beans, peas, carrots, and broccoli

Grains, like cereals (bran and oatmeal), bread, rice, pasta, and crackers

Low-fat or skim milk and low-fat yogurt

Egg whites and egg substitutes

Fat-free cheeses, cream cheese, and fat-free sour cream

Lean meat, chicken, and fish


Pretzels, graham crackers, rice cakes, and baked potato chips

Low-fat sweets (no chocolate or mint)

You may find that some of the foods listed under "foods to avoid" may not bother you, while others on the "foods to enjoy" list may cause discomfort. Everyone tolerates food differently. To determine the best diet for you, keep a food diary for a few weeks.

Hiatal Hernia: Cooking Tips

A good way to enjoy the foods listed above is to cook them in a healthy way. Here are some heartburn-friendly cooking tips:

Choose lean meats, such as skinless chicken, meat with little visible fat, ground turkey instead of ground beef, and fish. Lean beef cuts include round, chuck, sirloin, or loin. Lean pork cuts include tenderloin or loin chop.
Bake or broil foods instead of frying.
Skim off fat from meat during cooking.
Go easy on seasoning. Most seasonings are OK as long as they are not spicy, but should be used in moderation.
Substitute low-fat dairy products, such as low-fat yogurt, for ice cream.
Steam your vegetables using water only.
Limit butter, oils, and cream sauces. Use cooking spray instead of cooking oil when sautéing.
Choose low-fat or non-fat ingredients over full-fat products.
Get creative. There are all kinds of ways to modify recipes. Don't be afraid to try new things.

Hiatal Hernia: Lifestyle Tips

In addition to making adjustments to what you eat and how you cook, modifying certain habits can lessen heartburn symptoms too, including:

Do not overeat. Instead, eat small, frequent meals. And take your time. Eating fast can worsen heartburn symptoms.
Avoid lying down or going to sleep for at least three hours after a meal.
Do not bend over right after eating.
Do not smoke.
Lose weight, if necessary.
Wear loose-fitting clothes so as to not add extra pressure on your stomach.
Raise the head of your bed 6 to 8 inches with wood blocks or some other sturdy objects. Propping your head up with pillows probably won't give you the relief you need.

If these diet and lifestyle tips don't help, or you need additional relief, over-the-counter antacids and acid-reducing or blocking drugs may help control your heartburn symptoms. Talk to your doctor to learn more about over-the-counter or prescription medications to treat your symptoms. Surgery may be needed in some cases.

Hiatal hernia symptoms can be bothersome. But, most people feel better after they adjust their diet and lifestyle.