Tips for Fasting for People with Acid Reflux

Fasting during Ramadan can be quite challenging for individuals with acid reflux. However, those with this condition can still observe fasting safely and maintain their health. As reported by, Prof. Dr. dr. Ari Fahrial Syam, MMB, SpPD, K-GEH, FACG, FACP, FINASIM, and Dr. Dedy G. Sudrajat, SpPD, K-GEH, FINASIM, shared several healthy fasting tips for individuals with acid reflux:

1. Avoid Acidic, Spicy, and Fatty Foods
One of the fasting tips for individuals with acid reflux is to avoid triggering GERD foods. According to Prof. Ari, foods that trigger acid reflux are typically spicy, acidic, and fatty. Consuming high-fat foods during sahur can burden the stomach, leading to discomfort later in the morning. Spicy and acidic foods can worsen acid reflux. Therefore, it’s best to avoid spicy, acidic, and fatty foods as much as possible during Ramadan.

2. Break the Fast Promptly
Do not delay breaking your fast, especially for individuals with acid reflux. Delaying fasting for more than 12 hours may cause an increase in stomach acid.

3. Break Fast and Eat Sahur with Clean Foods
When referring to “clean foods,” Prof. Ari doesn’t just mean the types of food but also their processing. He recommends clean foods such as vegetables, fruits, and lean animal protein. These foods can be steamed or grilled rather than fried with excessive oil. Individuals with acid reflux should consume clean foods during both iftar and sahur.

4. Take Acid Reflux Medication during Sahur and Iftar
Acid reflux medication can be taken nearing the time of imsak, after breaking the fast, or before bedtime. This is done to prevent acid reflux during fasting.

5. Avoid Foods and Drinks Containing Gas
Consuming foods and drinks containing gas, such as cabbage, jackfruit, cauliflower, coffee, tea, and carbonated beverages, can worsen acid reflux.

6. Eat Slowly and Avoid Rushing
Individuals with acid reflux should also pay attention to their eating habits during sahur and iftar. It’s advisable not to consume heavy meals directly in large quantities and in a hurry. Starting iftar with light snacks like dates, bread, and a glass of warm water is recommended.

7. Avoid Stress
One of the main triggers of GERD symptoms is stress. Stress makes the body more sensitive to even small amounts of acid in the esophagus. Therefore, individuals with acid reflux should try to avoid stress by managing their emotions. Some recommended ways to avoid stress include resting, practicing breathing techniques, meditation, or prayer.

8. Avoid Sleeping Immediately after Breaking the Fast or Sahur
Dr. Dedy also advises individuals with acid reflux not to sleep immediately after iftar or sahur. “It is recommended to wait 1-2 hours after sahur or iftar before sleeping,” he said. Sleeping immediately after eating can increase pressure on the stomach, causing stomach acid to rise into the esophagus. This condition can lead to nausea, vomiting, sore throat, stomach pain, or bloating.

According to Dr. Dedy, if you have to sleep after sahur or iftar, it’s best to adjust your body position to avoid lying down. “The sleeping position should preferably be semi-upright to reduce the likelihood of acid reflux,” he added.

9. Maintain Fluid Intake
During sahur and iftar, it is recommended to drink an adequate amount of water. Besides water, maintaining fluid intake with healthy and refreshing fruit juices is also advised.

Remember that everyone’s body responds differently, so it’s important to pay attention to your body’s response. If acid reflux symptoms are uncontrollable or worsen, consult a doctor for further medical advice.

Image Source:
SW Desain; ahmadalfant’s images; Garakta studio

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