While not life-threatening, a hiatal hernia can be a very uncomfortable experience nonetheless. Did you know that your diet can play a role in your symptoms? When dealing with this condition what you eat can have a direct effect on the level of discomfort you experience. Make sure you know how to eat with your comfort and health in mind.  

Why Food Matters

For people who have been diagnosed with a hiatal hernia, diet is important because of the risk of acid build up. With this type of hernia, it's easier for acids in the stomach to travel and collect inside the esophagus. Since this process can happen much easier than in an otherwise healthy adult, this also places the diagnosed at an increased for heartburn and indigestion. Eating the right foods can help relieve much of this risk.

What To Avoid

Acid can serve as a large trigger for a hiatal hernia. When you consume highly-acidic foods this has a negative effect on your esophageal sphincter, a muscular tube-like structure that connects your stomach to your throat. Highly-acidic foods weaken these muscles, which in turn allows more acid to build up inside your esophagus, leading to heartburn.

Citrusy foods like oranges and lemons, tomato-based sauces, carbonated beverages and spicy foods are just some of the selections you want to try to avoid. Try to consume more low acid containing foods, like lean meats, bananas and grains instead.

Food Prep Tips

In addition to what you eat, how you prepare your food is another way to keep acid content low. For example, when cooking a lean meat, always bake it or broil it instead of frying. Even an otherwise healthy food can become harder to digest when it's fried. The longer it takes to digest a food, the easier it is for acid to build up in your esophagus.

You also want to be mindful of your seasoning selections. A lean cut of fish can quickly increase in acidity if you load it up with spicy seasonings so make sure you are using these types of flavor enhancements in moderation. Lastly, take your time when eating. When you eat too quickly this can only increase your risk of painful bout of heartburn.

While you don't have to give up your favorite foods, you do have to be creative and eat with moderation in mind. Speaking with your physician (such as one from Tampa Bay Reflux Center) about healthy alternatives can also be helpful.