As a GERD sufferer for the last 10 years, I have been least dependent on medicines, because I’ve always tried to learn how my body reacts to certain foods and the pre-GERD symptom patterns that I experience. In this way, I switch to favorable foods before worsening the condition. Besides this, I have been learning about the causes of GERD.
And, by now, I’m at a stage where I know exactly what I’m stuffing in my mouth and how well I can tolerate it. The result is, that I can eat most of the foods that most of you think are a nightmare. This is the reason you’re here.
And, the good news is that besides helping you know how to eat Ritz crackers with acid reflux, I’ll share my life-saving tips to live happily and sleep peacefully with no more acid reflux.
So, keep reading today’s blog post.
Understanding Acid Reflux: The Basics
First, let’s know what acid reflux is and what causes it. Knowing this will help you manage your condition in the future and eat your favorite foods as well.
Acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a medical condition when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, the tube connecting your mouth and stomach.
Normally, a ring-like muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) keeps the stomach acid from moving upward. However, if the LES doesn’t close properly or relaxes so often owing to low or high stomach acid or other reasons, stomach acid can escape and cause irritation in the esophagus.
This can lead to symptoms such as heartburn, a burning sensation in the chest or throat, regurgitation of sour or bitter-tasting liquid, and sometimes difficulty swallowing.
Some of the most common causes of LES incompetence and low or higher stomach acid production include:
1. Emotional or Physical Stress as Top Most But Least Cared Reason
If you’re nothing under the planet is going to help you cure GERD, except beating the stress. Whether you figure out the root cause of your stress or reduce it, you’ve got to do it!
The stress hormone cortisol is the major factor causing GERD. Stress prompts higher cortisol levels, which can relax the LES and promote stomach acid production, leading stomach acid to flow into the esophagus.
Researchers have confirmed that higher cortisol levels lead to more severe GERD symptoms by lowering LES pressure. These studies emphasized that managing stress and cortisol levels is key to minimizing GERD symptoms and risks.
2. Certain Medications and Dietary Intakes increase or Decrease Stomach Acid
Some medications, such as calcium channel blockers and beta-blockers, can relax the LES. Similarly, fatty foods, spicy foods, and carbonated drinks can increase acid production, relax the LES, and make it more likely to reflux.
Besides these, some other triggers also contribute to interpreting the normal functioning of LES, like smoking and alcohol. So, it’s apparent the problem is about the dysfunction of LES besides low or high stomach acid and triggers.
3. Certain Minerals and Vitamin Deficiencies
Some studies have shown that deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals may be associated with an increased risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which occurs when stomach acid backs up into the esophagus.
Some vitamins and mineral deficiencies linked to GERD include vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin D, magnesium, and zinc.
4. Hiatal Hernia
This condition is where part of the stomach pushes up through the diaphragm, the muscle separating the chest from the abdomen. This can put pressure on the LES and make it more likely to relax.
5. Other Medical Conditions
Excess weight can put pressure on the LES, making it more likely to relax. Likewise, pregnancy hormone changes can relax the LES, making it more likely to reflux.
By identifying the actual cause of your LES dysfunction and affected acid production (higher or lower), you can heal your stomach. But, until you figure out the actual cause of your GERD, you can work on managing the symptoms by avoiding the triggers.
What’s in Ritz Crackers and How These Ingredients Affect Stomach?
Ritz Crackers typically contain the following ingredients: unbleached enriched flour, palm oil, sugar, salt, leavening agents (baking soda and/or calcium phosphate), soy lecithin (an emulsifier), and natural flavor. These ingredients contribute to the crackers’ buttery taste and crispy texture.
Now, let’s break down whether Ritz Crackers are GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) friendly:
Unbleached Whole Wheat Flour
Unbleached whole wheat flour is the main ingredient in Ritz Crackers. While it’s not inherently problematic for GERD, some people with GERD might find that refined flour products can contribute to their symptoms. Opting for whole-grain versions could be a better choice.
Palm oil is used as fat in Ritz crackers. Individuals with GERD might tolerate palm oil differently. Fat can sometimes trigger reflux symptoms, so moderation is key.
Sugar in moderate amounts shouldn’t pose a significant problem for GERD, but monitor added sugars if you’re sensitive.
Salt itself is not a major GERD trigger, but very salty foods can sometimes exacerbate symptoms.
Baking soda and calcium phosphate are used as leavening agents. While these are not typically known to worsen GERD, consuming large quantities of baking soda could potentially affect acid levels in the stomach.
Soy lecithin is an emulsifier that’s considered safe for most people with GERD.
The “natural flavor” ingredient might vary, but it usually isn’t a primary GERD trigger.
So, Can You Have Ritz Crackers when Suffering from GERD?”
The good news is that Ritz Crackers, in most cases, aren’t highly acidic. Their ingredients, like flour, palm oil, sugar, and salt, don’t usually bring acidity to the party. This means they might be easier on your stomach than acidic foods.
However, remember that acid reflux triggers can be different for everyone, depending on the actual cause. Some folks might still experience discomfort even with foods that aren’t very acidic. The key here is paying attention to how your body reacts.
Tips for Eating Ritz Crackers with Acid Reflux
Here are a few most effective tips to eat Ritz crackers and other foods without triggering GERD.
1. Chew, Chew, and Chew
Chew your crackers slowly at least 25 times and enjoy each bite to digest through saliva. The key is to avoid drinking water when eating the crackers, whether you eat 5 or 10. Eating this slowly will incorporate as much saliva as possible to digest the food in the mouth, reducing stomach work.
2. Eat in Small Portions
Instead of munching on a mountain of crackers, start with a small serving. Less is often more when it comes to managing acid reflux. In this way, you’ll also have control over sugar intake, which can increase stomach acid production when consumed in higher amounts.
3. Plain or Topped
Eating plain Ritz Crackers might work well for some. If you want to add a topping, opt for something gentle on your stomach, like a bit of cheese or a smear of nut butter.
4. Timing Matters
Consider when you’re eating. Having a small serving of crackers between meals might be easier on your tummy compared to having them as a late-night snack.
5. Stay Upright
Sit or stand while eating. This helps your food go down more smoothly and can reduce the chances of heartburn.
6. Stay Hydrated
Sip water half an hour before eating crackers or 1-hour post snacking. It helps with digestion and keeps things flowing smoothly.
Consult Your Health Consultant
If you’re unsure about adding Ritz Crackers to your acid-reflux-friendly menu, chatting with a healthcare pro is always smart. They can give you personalized advice based on your unique needs.
In a Nutshell: Enjoy Ritz Crackers with Caution
In most cases, Ritz Crackers might be a relatively friendly option for those dealing with acid reflux. Their not-so-acidic nature can work in your favor. Just remember to keep portions in check, savor each bite, and tune in to your body’s signals. By being mindful of what you eat, you can savor the buttery goodness of Ritz Crackers without the pesky discomfort of acid reflux.