Diet for Esophagitis: What Should You Eat?

If you suffer from esophagitis, you may need to make a number of dietary changes to prevent symptoms and disease progression.
Diet for Esophagitis: What Should You Eat?
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 06 May, 2023

When suffering from esophagitis, it’s important to modify the diet to ensure a good control of symptoms, thus increasing the feeling of well-being and improving the patient’s life. This pathology is usually chronic and can be caused by several factors. However, often the use of drugs isn’t enough, and an intervention based on lifestyle is necessary.

Before starting, we must emphasize that modifying habits can help prevent the development of many pathologies, as well as facilitating their management. The keys are usually physical exercise, good nutrition, and regular exposure to sunlight. Also, a good night’s rest will make a difference in the long term.

What is esophagitis?

Esophagitis is an illness that causes a reduction in the pressure of the internal esophageal sphincter, which causes gastric juice and digestive enzymes to flow upwards again.

This can lead to reflux and the dreaded heartburn. In fact, if not remedied, you’ll experience a modification in the intestinal epithelium that can end up with what’s known as Barrett’s esophagus. This is evidenced by research published in Missouri Medicine.

El globo histérico y su relación con el reflujo
The main symptoms of esophagitis are usually reflux and heartburn.

However, there are different grades of esophagitis depending on the erosion of the tissue. We can distinguish grade A, B, C, or D according to the size of the ulcers caused in the digestive tract. Normally, as the incidence of these increases, the use of drugs may become necessary to prevent their progression, so that greater evils don’t occur.

Those suffering from esophagitis should optimize their diets to prevent the progression of the disease. Above all, it’s recommended that you avoid big meals with a high fat content, mainly of the trans fat type. This type of fat has been shown to produce a clear inflammatory effect, which could cause symptoms to worsen.

Similarly, foods with irritating properties, such as coffee, chocolate, spicy foods and, of course, alcoholic beverages, should be avoided. In particular, alcohol is considered a risk factor for the development of this type of disease affecting the gastrointestinal tract.

This is confirmed by a study published in Current Medicinal Chemistry . There’s no safe dose of this toxic substance, so it’s best to remove it from the diet to maintain good health.

Other good habits, such as maintaining an orderly meal schedule and increasing the presence of foods high in mucilage, can help. These last compounds are a type of fiber present in vegetables, such as pumpkin and zucchini, which help to soften the mucosa, thus protecting the walls of the digestive tube.

The digestive tube.

Finally, it will be crucial to avoid lying down right after eating in order not to favor the appearance of reflux. It’s always important to maintain a position as upright as possible until digestion is complete, at least in the stomach area. This will reduce the risk of suffering discomfort.

When to go to the doctor?

Despite following the indications mentioned above, there may be no significant improvement in the control of symptoms. In this case, it may be necessary to consult a specialist to calmly assess the condition, to seek an effective pharmacological treatment.

In addition, it’s always good to avoid harmful alterations in the state of body composition. Esophagitis becomes more pronounced as fat weight increases and decreases as weight is lost. Therefore, regular physical exercise is highly recommended. Above all, strength work should be prioritized to achieve a significant change that’s maintained in the long term.

Improve your diet to control esophagitis

As you have seen, esophagitis is a pathology that usually responds well to dietary control. A change of habits is usually enough to experience a good improvement.

The combination of a proper diet with exercise will cause changes in body composition, which will greatly reduce the pressure on the esophageal sphincter. Likewise, it may be advisable to avoid wearing tight clothing and to eliminate toxic habits.

Finally, it should be noted that another major risk factor for the development of esophagitis is smoking. It’s becoming less and less frequent for people to start smoking thanks to prevention campaigns, but it’s still a major public health problem. This toxic substance increases the risk of suffering complex pathologies, so it must be avoided at all costs.

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All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Bujanda DE, Hachem C. Barrett’s Esophagus. Mo Med. 2018;115(3):211-213.
  • Oteng AB, Kersten S. Mechanisms of Action of trans Fatty Acids. Adv Nutr. 2020;11(3):697-708. doi:10.1093/advances/nmz125
  • Surdea-Blaga T, Negrutiu DE, Palage M, Dumitrascu DL. Food and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. Curr Med Chem. 2019;26(19):3497-3511. doi:10.2174/0929867324666170515123807

The contents of this publication are for informational purposes only. At no time can they serve to facilitate or replace the diagnoses, treatments, or recommendations of a professional. Consult with your trusted specialist if you have any doubts and seek their approval before beginning any procedure.