Help Shoppers Beat Acid Reflux in Your Store

January 25, 2017

Help guide shoppers away from foods that cause acid reflux and towards foods that will help.

Dietary changes are one of the most important elements to help relieve the symptoms of acid reflux – from ditching the junk food to cutting back on alcohol there are a variety of things your shoppers can do. 

Acid reflux, also known as "reflux esophagitis", is an inflammation of the esophagus caused by regurgitation of the contents of the stomach. Acid reflux is most often recognized by its symptom of "heartburn" which reportedly affects 1 out of every 10 adults in the US, daily.  It is important to note that stomach acid is absolutely crucial for absorbing vitamins and minerals and making the most of the food we eat.

Shoppers need to be aware that, certain foods can trigger acid reflux either by stimulating acid production or by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) muscle, which usually stays tight to keep acid in the stomach and out of the esophagus. Foods that can relax the LES include fried foods, caffeinated beverages, mayonnaise, creamy sauces, whole-milk dairy products and allergens. Foods that may stimulate acid production include coffee, chocolate, fried foods, dairy, tomato-based products, carbonated beverages, raw onion, mint, and citrus fruits/beverages. Fermented beverages, like wine and beer, also can increase the production of stomach acid.  Do keep in mind that food triggers vary person to person.

So what should an acid reflux diet look like? Create signage that sites expert recommendations, including: drinking plenty of water, choosing lean meats, whole grains, and simple vegetables and starches such as potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, and green beans. Low-acidic fruits such as apples and bananas are good choices, as well as easy-to-digest dairy products such as goat, feta and low-fat cottage cheese.

Additional lifestyle changes that can benefit your shoppers suffering from acid reflux include eating smaller meals, eating dinner or snack at least three hours before bedtime, and making sure that your shoppers eating in a stress free atmosphere. Keeping a food journal can help determine which foods are most problematic. Suggest shoppers track foods that spark acid reflux, and use journal notes to reintroduce foods that have been cut from the diet to see if they were in fact acid reflux triggers.

It is also important to keep in mind that acid production actually decreases as we age. The acid reflux your shoppers may be feeling is actually an indication that they do not have enough stomach acid to trigger the stomach contents to empty, and thus the food sits, ferments, and gas causes the reflux up the esophagus. This is something to discuss with a dietitian, physician or healthcare practitioner.