Optimizing Your Diet for GERD/LPR and Hypertension: Foods That Bring Relief

Optimizing Your Diet for GERD/LPR and Hypertension: Foods That Bring Relief

Published on Tuesday, December 05, 2023 by Andy De Santis

Living With GERD/LPR and High Blood Pressure? These Foods Will Help.

Several commonalities that tie together hypertension and reflux diseases; not least of them is the fact they are both quite prevalent conditions.

High blood pressure and GERD consistently rank among the most frequent justifications for primary care visits in North America, and in parallel, the drugs to treat these conditions are prescribed with above-average frequency.

These conditions are physiologically connected as well, with growing evidence suggesting that bouts of acid reflux and high blood pressure may correlate and that the prevalence of GERD is higher among people living with hypertension.

The good news is that the severity of both GERD and hypertension has the potential to be reduced through dietary modification.

Although the link between diet and blood pressure is probably stronger than it is for GERD, there is ample evidence suggesting that those with strong diets are much less likely to deal with acid reflux.

For blood pressure lowering purposes, the well-established DASH diet encourages adequate consumption of three nutrients that are generally quite broadly under-consumed in North America.

These are:

  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium

The foods highest in these nutrients also tend to be among the most nutrient-dense and otherwise important selections health-wise.

Which brings us to the goal of today’s article – identifying the foods that most efficiently deliver the highest combined amount of these three nutrients.

If you are living with hypertension with or without GERD/LPR  - you’ll want to know what these are.

Foods That Fight Back – Optimize K, Mg, Ca

I’ve broken down the optimal foods by their larger grouping using USDA nutrient data to guide my selections.

If you can look at each heading below and work towards incorporating at least one serving per day of food in 6 of 8 families, I believe you’ll be well on your way to orienting your diet towards something with significant potential to improve your blood pressure.

#1 Leafy Greens

In addition to being incredibly high in antioxidants and more uniquely beneficial compounds that I name, leafy greens like spinach and chard are rich sources of all three key nutrients, and working towards a cup cooked of these green wonders daily will take your diet places.

#2 Lima, White & Navy Beans

While I consider all legumes to be wholly underrated super foods, these three bean varieties have the highest total of key nutrients for blood pressure lowering.

Presuming you purchase them from dry or get low-sodium and thoroughly rinsed canned versions, aiming for a minimum of ½ cup daily would do wonders for all aspects of your health, including managing blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

#3 Whole Grains

To the extent to which you are able and willing to switch more towards foods like brown rice, whole wheat bread, and whole pasta will increase your exposure to these key nutrients.

Even if you strongly prefer white rice, you could serve it mixed in 50/50 combinations of any of the beans mentioned in the previous section, and you’d end up with something similar to or even superior to brown rice nutritionally.

#4 Starchy Vegetables

Potato, sweet potato, squash, and even mushrooms are foods in this category with the most potential and can absolutely be part of any GERD/hypertension-friendly grocery list.

#5 Fish 

From salmon to mahi mahi, many types of canned and fresh fish score highly in terms of their potassium and magnesium content, with calcium present in fish bones for those who don’t mind eating them.

It’s also true that fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel are the only rich dietary sources of fatty acids EPA/DHA, which most people do not get in optimal amounts.

#6 Nuts/Seeds 

The reality is that as little as a ¼ cup of nuts or seeds in your diet most days will take you places.

For the sake of today’s article, you’ll find the largest volume of key DASH nutrients in almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds. 

#7 Specific Fruits

Calcium is not particularly abundant in fruit, but these three choices offer meaningful amounts of potassium/magnesium. They could be good places to like for those trying to expand their fruit intake.

The candidates are avocado, banana, and kiwi.

Kiwi, by the way, has been demonstrated to improve constipation outcomes with 2x daily consumption

#8 Yogurt

While dairy is not an essential food for good health, there is no denying that it can be an exceptional vehicle for the key nutrients associated with blood pressure reduction.

Yogurt might be the single best candidate for this purpose because it can also easily be used as a vehicle for other key foods like bananas, kiwi, almonds, cashews, or pumpkin seeds.

A yogurt parfait combining sliced fruit and nuts/seeds is one of the most efficient yet powerful breakfast or snack solutions we can tap into. 

Using This List To Your Advantage

So, I mentioned no more than 20 or so foods across eight different food families.

My vision for this piece is to help you curate a grocery list including a diverse array of foods that you know have been pre-selected for their specific characteristics relating to blood pressure lowering and overall dietary quality.

If more of your days are characterized by the inclusion of more of these foods, you should be able to observe improvements over time in both your blood pressure levels and the frequency/severity of GERD.

  1. Li, Z. T., Ji, F., Han, X. W., Wang, L., Yue, Y. Q., & Wang, Z. G. (2018). The Role of Gastroesophageal Reflux in Provoking High Blood Pressure Episodes in Patients With Hypertension. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, 52(8), 685–690. https://doi.org/10.1097/MCG.0000000000000933
  2. Suyu, H., Liu, Y., Jianyu, X., Luo, G., Cao, L., & Long, X. (2018). Prevalence and Predictors of Silent Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease in Patients with Hypertension. Gastroenterology research and practice, 2018, 7242917. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/7242917 
  3. Zhang, M., Hou, Z. K., Huang, Z. B., Chen, X. L., & Liu, F. B. (2021). Dietary and Lifestyle Factors Related to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: A Systematic Review. Therapeutics and clinical risk management, 17, 305–323. https://doi.org/10.2147/TCRM.S296680 

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