Foods which may relieve the symptoms of hiatus hernia

November 12, 2012

Foods which may relieve the symptoms of hiatus hernia

A hiatus hernia occurs when part of the stomach bulges into the lower chest through a weakness in the diaphragm. The diaphragm separates the lungs from the abdomen and works as part of the breathing process. When the stomach bulges through the diaphragm it prevents the sphincter, the one way valve, at the base of the oesophagus from closing properly. Most people with a hiatus hernia experience few, if any, symptoms; however, this condition does make patients more prone to acid reflux – where acid moves from the stomach into the oesophagus – this may, in turn, cause bloating, heartburn or acid indigestion.


Any acid indigestion or heart burn which results from the presence of a hiatus hernia can generally be easily dealt with using over the counter remedies and/or antacids. It should be noted that not everyone who suffers with heartburn or indigestion will have a hiatus hernia.

Many hiatus hernia patients find great benefit from excluding certain foods from their diet and in increasing their intake of others. Choosing foods which will not promote production of excess acid is an essential part of dealing with the associated symptoms of a hiatal hernia.

Whole grains

Choosing whole grain food products should be something we all do – these items provide important dietary fibre and many essential nutrients and vitamins. Switching to whole grain products is also very simple -

  • Use brown rice and whole wheat pasta

  • Choose whole grain bread options

  • Replace some of your carbohydrates with quinoa or whole grain cous cous

  • Choose whole grain breakfast cereals or oatmeal

Whole grain foods are also excellent for heart health and provide slow release energy which will cause the feeling of fullness to last longer.

Lean meat, fish or poultry

Again, the choices for preventing the symptoms of a hiatal hernia developing are really just the same choices we should all be making as part of a healthy well balanced diet. Choosing lean meat or poultry without the skin will mean lower levels of fat, steamed or baked fish is a much better choice than fried.

Avoiding fried and greasy foods is an essential component of relieving the symptoms of a hiatal hernia and of course is also beneficial for overall health and good weight maintenance.

Fruit and vegetables

Baked potatoes make a great choice as part of a hiatal hernia diet and, with the skin on, provide a filling, healthy carbohydrate choice. Avoiding citrus fruits is another essential part of reducing the symptoms of acid indigestion and heartburn. Choose instead bananas, apples, peaches, apricots or melon. Most vegetables can be freely consumed but care should be taken to avoid the use of a lot of butter or cream which may aggravate the hiatal hernia.

Tomatoes and tomato based sauces, dressings and soups should be avoided as they are known to cause flare-ups of the symptoms of acid reflux.

Food preparation

Probably the most important component of a diet which is intended to reduce the levels of acid reflux and the attending acid indigestion and/or heartburn is to choose foods which are steamed, baked, roasted or boiled and which are low fat and grease free. The excessive use of oils or fats may well cause severe indigestion.

Spicy, peppery foods should also be avoided as these too may well aggravate the condition.

Other self help tips

Anyone who suffers the discomfort of regular bouts of indigestion would do well to avoid eating large meals – choosing to eat little and often has been found to be beneficial in reducing both heartburn and acid indigestion. It is also wise to avoid eating close to bedtime, to drink plenty of water and perhaps to chew gum after eating, this may help neutralise any acid production.

Individuals with a hiatal hernia would do well to avoid caffeinated drinks, coffee – even decaffeinated, alcohol and carbonated drinks. It is also essential, for good overall health not just the symptoms of acid reflux, to stop all tobacco use.


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