Delicious Mediterranean Diet Hacks for Summer Acid Reflux Relief
Article

Delicious Mediterranean Diet Hacks for Summer Acid Reflux Relief

Published on Tuesday, July 09, 2024
by
Emily Hamm

Acid Reflux
GERD
Nutrition
Gut Health

Summertime Feasts on the Mediterranean Diet for a Happy Gut

Don't let heartburn ruin your summer! The Mediterranean Diet, with its delicious and gut-friendly options, is your key to a carefree summer season with a happy and healthy gut. Explore the benefits of this diet and discover recipes perfect for the warm weather.

Sunshine & Gut Health: Mediterranean Diet for Acid Reflux

The Mediterranean Diet, a familiar ally here at Foodguides, offers a promising path to managing various chronic diseases, including GERD and acid reflux. Unlike a typical Western or American diet, which can worsen reflux and other health conditions due to its high levels of saturated fats, added sugars, and processed foods, the Mediterranean-style diet stands out. It's rich in anti-inflammatory properties and nutrient-dense foods, which can help reduce inflammation and optimize digestion and GI processes. It's time to take control of your health and embrace the unique benefits of the Mediterranean Diet. 

A Mediterranean-style diet is anti-inflammatory; it is packed full of nutrient-dense foods containing a wide array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, which help to reduce inflammation in the body. Furthermore, because this diet emphasizes the importance of consuming great sources of fiber, lean proteins, and nourishing fats, it is excellent for optimizing digestion and GI processes by feeding good gut bacteria by producing short chain fatty acids

Why not try the practical and effective Mediterranean Diet? A recent study conducted in a Southeastern European population found that following this diet significantly lowered the risk of GERD compared to consuming a Western-style diet. Another cohort study, which focused on diet therapy alone, indicated that effective control of symptoms associated with laryngopharyngeal reflux was obtained. These studies provide strong evidence for the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet in managing acid reflux. 

Summer Produce for Gut-Friendly Choices

During the summer, farmers' markets and produce stands are flooded with ripe, luscious local produce packed with nutrients ready to reduce inflammation. How do you know what to choose if you have difficulty managing acid reflux?

Remember, the Mediterranean Diet is not a rigid set of rules but a flexible and adaptable lifestyle. While limiting acidic fruits and vegetables is generally recommended, listening to your body is essential. If you notice an increase in reflux symptoms with certain fruits and vegetables on this list, please take note and reduce your exposure to that food item. You control your diet, and you have the power to make it work for you.

Acid Reflux-Friendly Summer Recipe Ideas

I don’t know about you, but cooking with fresh produce is so much fun. This summer, get adventurous with fresh recipes and explore different flavor profiles with all the fresh produce you buy! Give The Real Food Dietitians recipe for Sheet Pan Baked Salmon with Vegetables a try. Instead of onions, opt for some fresh squash or broccoli to reduce reflux symptoms. You can also try their Sheet Pan Balsamic Chicken and Veggies- omit the onions and tomatoes and substitute for another low-acid vegetable if those are triggers for you. 

Are you having a dinner party and trying to find some good appetizers? Try gazpacho, such as this Iced Cucumber Soup by Dr. Gourmet or Cucumber Gazpacho with Avocado by RadFoodie. This recipe offers options for alternate ingredients in case you have other possible triggers.

If gazpacho isn’t your cup of tea, you can always whip up a fresh salad loaded with greens, low-acid veggies, fruits, legumes like chickpeas or lentils, low-fat cheese, and quinoa, and top with a homemade vinaigrette dressing. I like this classic balsamic dressing—it's so simple and delicious in many recipes, too!

Check out my sample meal plan for the day:

Breakfast – Overnight oats with fresh fruit

Lunch – Garden salad mixed with quinoa and beans of choice and topped with grilled chicken and classic balsamic dressing

Dinner – Lemon-dill baked salmon with roasted veggies of choice. It can pair with a brown rice pilaf.

Snack: Low–fat vanilla Greek yogurt with melons and granola—try Cascadian Farms Coconut Cashew Granola, which has no added sugars!

Cooking Techniques for Easy Digestion in Summer

While we are on the topic of recipes, it is essential to highlight the preparation methods of produce and the best cooking methods to retain the most nutrients. Eating raw, fresh produce is the best way to obtain all the nutrients from the food. However, some people do not tolerate raw produce; therefore, cooking food can help break down the fiber content and make it easier to digest. There are a multitude of ways to cook vegetables. Some of my favorite ways are blanching and roasting. You can also boil, grill, and bake vegetables. Roasting is a great way to cook vegetables because of the dry heat- there is minimal nutrient loss. Blanching is a great alternative to boiling due to the shortened time in the water, which allows for greater nutrient retention in the produce; when you boil, some nutrient content will be lost. 

Opt for cold-pressed olive oil or avocado oil when using oils to cook vegetables. Limit cooking with butter, lard, or other highly processed seed oils, as these are more inflammatory. Deep frying is not recommended due to its increased fat content, which could trigger reflux in sensitive individuals.

Keep in mind that all things in excess are not necessarily good. This goes for nutritious foods as well. If you have difficulty managing reflux, adhering to portion control at meals can help with the overall severity of symptoms. Even over-eating a plate of fresh veggies could make you feel crummy. Make sure to chew foods well and take time to enjoy your meal. Listen for cues that your body is satisfied when eating; this also helps to manage reflux symptoms. Check out the Mediterranean Healthy Plate by Kaiser Permanente for a guide on portion control!

If you have further questions regarding diet and lifestyle modifications to manage reflux, talk with a registered dietitian nutritionist. Also, if you like, please share any great recipes or menu suggestions with our Foodguides community in the comments below!

 

  1. García‐Montero, C., Fraile-Martínez, Ó., Gómez-Lahoz, A. M., Pekarek, L., Castellanos, A. J., Noguerales-Fraguas, F., Coca, S., Guijarro, L., García‐Honduvilla, N., Asúnsolo, Á., Sánchez‐Trujillo, L., Lahera, G., Buján, J., Monserrat, J., Álvarez‐Mon, M., Álvarez-Mon, M. Á., & Ortega, M. Á. (2021). Nutritional components in Western diet versus Mediterranean diet at the gut Microbiota–Immune system interplay. Implications for Health and disease. Nutrients, 13(2), 699. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13020699
  2. Heidarzadeh‐Esfahani, N., Soleimani, D., Hajiahmadi, S., Moradi, S., Heidarzadeh, N., & Nachvak, S. M. (2021). Dietary Intake in relation to the Risk of Reflux Disease: A Systematic review. Preventive Nutrition and Food Science, 26(4), 367–379. https://doi.org/10.3746/pnf.2021.26.4.367
  3. Mone, I., Kraja, B., Bregu, A., Duraj, V., Sadiku, E., Hyska, J., & Burazeri, G. (2015). Adherence to a predominantly Mediterranean diet decreases the risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease: a cross-sectional study in a South Eastern European population. Diseases of the Esophagus, 29(7), 794–800. https://doi.org/10.1111/dote.12384
  4. Tsigalou, C., Konstantinidis, T., Paraschaki, A., Stavropoulou, E., Voidarou, C., & Bezirtzoglou, E. (2020). Mediterranean Diet as a tool to combat inflammation and chronic diseases. An overview. Biomedicines, 8(7), 201. https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines8070201
  5. Zalvan, C. H., Hu, S., Greenberg, B., & Geliebter, J. (2017). A Comparison of Alkaline Water and Mediterranean Diet vs Proton Pump Inhibition for Treatment of Laryngopharyngeal Reflux. JAMA Otolaryngology-- Head & Neck Surgery, 143(10), 1023. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamaoto.2017.1454

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Expert Contributor

Emily Hamm

MS, RDN, CSO, LD

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