Having been diagnosed with a hiatal hernia, the first thing most people want to know is whether or not it will make any difference in their lifestyle and if they will need a special hiatal hernia diet. Actually, statistics show that only about half of all people who have a hiatal hernia present any symptoms while the other half will not only have symptoms, but they are severe enough to need treatment. Sometimes a hiatal hernia diet plan is sufficient to relieve those symptoms while other times they may need either medication or surgery, and sometimes both. Following are some hiatal hernia diet tips.
What is a Hiatal Hernia?
Before discussing a hiatal hernia diet plan, it should be understood exactly what a hiatal hernia is. Basically, a hiatal hernia is when the top region of the stomach pushes up through the diaphragm into the chest. The opening through which it comes through is called the esophageal hiatus and sometimes it is called the diaphragmatic hiatus. The end result is that the acid produced in the stomach isn’t kept there and pushes up (acid reflux) through the weakened esophageal hiatus. The condition is called a hiatal hernia and the best way to alleviate symptoms is to eat in such a way so as not to exacerbate the condition.
Hiatal Hernia Diet Menu
When you understand that it is the acid coming up from the stomach that causes symptoms such as heartburn, then you will want to choose a hiatal hernia diet menu with foods that don’t cause an excess of acid. It is also suggested that you do not eat three large meals a day and instead eat six smaller meals so as not to stretch the stomach, placing additional stress on the hernia. Doctors will tell you to avoid chocolate, coffee, tomatoes, citrus fruits and fats of any type whatsoever, including those considered to be healthy fats. Hiatal hernia diet tips usually always suggest that you refrain from drinking alcohol and that you completely stop smoking as these also relax the lower esophageal sphincter which would then allow acid reflux.
Hiatal Hernia Diet Recipes
As well as avoid fats, most hiatal hernia diet plans call for you to drastically reduce your intake of sweets. Therefore, hiatal hernia diet recipes will provide alternatives to using fats and sugar. If anyone has ever had occasion to make a box cake mix that says you can substitute applesauce for oil, you will get the idea of what it is like to find ways to substitute other ingredients for fats and sugar. Instead of frying your chicken, back it in the oven. Instead of making a cake, try eating a dish of applesauce or a cup of low fat yogurt. Most recipes can be altered to correspond with the foods you can safely eat on a hiatal hernia diet – it might just take a bit of creativity on your part.
If your hiatal hernia is severe enough to require surgery, your doctor will most likely provide special instructions for a hiatal hernia diet after surgery. This would actually be a good regimen to follow from that point forward as the foods and food groups on the diet plan are those not known to promote excess acid in the stomach. Whether you are treated with medications or through surgery, a hiatal hernia diet is also recommended to alleviate many of the symptoms which cause distress. As one last piece of advice, also make sure that any exercises you do in conjunction with a healthier diet will not place additional stress on the abdomen as that can actually make matters worse.