The Mediterranean diet prevents reflux

A dietary regimen based on food consumption from the Mediterranean diet and alkaline water, has managed to reduce more symptoms of patients with laryngopharyngeal reflux than standard treatment with medications.

A study published in ‘JAMA Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery’ reveals that people who eat 90-95% of whole foods, predominantly vegetables, similar to the Mediterranean diet, and accompanied by intakes of alkaline water, have the same or less symptoms of laryngopharyngeal reflux than those patients taking proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which are the medications traditionally used to relieve heartburn.

According to the results of the investigation, 62.6% of the patients who took the diet based on vegetables and alkaline water, they showed a decrease of six points in their Index of Reflux Symptoms (RSI) – which is a measure that was used to assess the severity of these symptoms – compared to the 54.1% reduction experienced by patients following PPI treatment.

In addition, although the study involved only patients with laryngopharyngeal reflux, foods included in the dietary regimen that followed could also help people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), one of the health problems of the most common digestive system, and which is estimated to affect about 15% of the population.

Dr. Craig H. Zalvan of Northwell Health’s Phelps Hospital and researcher at the Feinstein Institute has explained that although the drugs used to alleviate this disorder were effective in some patients, recent scientific evidence pointing to side effects which may lead to continued use, such as increased cardiovascular risk, kidney damage, or dementia, led to other treatment alternatives.

Zalvan drew on other studies using diets based on different types of plants and vegetables to treat various chronic diseases, and developed a diet specific for his own patients, consisting mainly of vegetables, fruits, cereals and nuts, and in which meat and dairy products were almost entirely eliminated. Patients also had to follow standard dietary recommendations to prevent reflux, such as avoiding intake of coffee, chocolate, tea, soft drinks, fried or over-fat foods, spicy foods, and alcohol.

This expert found that after following this type of diet, many of his patients not only experienced a decrease in the intensity and frequency of reflux symptoms, but also obtained other benefits such as weight loss or reduced symptoms and the use of medication for other diseases they suffered, such as hypertension or hypercholesterolemia. For this reason, Zalvan suggests that you try to combat reflux with a vegetable diet and alkaline water and following the standard dietary advice, before prescribing drugs, and that the medicines are used only in the short term or in the most severe cases.

The Mediterranean diet prevents reflux

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