Most people who have Barrett’s esophagus suffer from symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) as well. Because the condition results in the same uncomfortable symptoms, the recommended foods to eat with Barrett’s esophagus are nearly identical to recommendations for dealing with GERD.
Barrett’s esophagus is a condition where the lining of the esophagus becomes replaced, bit by bit, with tissue resembling the lining of the intestines. In itself, Barrett’s is asymptomatic, but most people diagnosed with it also have heartburn and acid reflux.
Eat a Low-Fat and Low-Acid Diet
Low-fat meals move through the digestive system more quickly, lowering the risk of acid reflux coming up into the esophagus. Focus on low-acid foods as well. Foods that most people find do not cause their Barrett’s esophagus to act up include:
Fruits to eat occasionally include peaches, blueberries, grapes, raspberries, strawberries, and cranberries.
- green beans
Vegetables to eat occasionally include the allium family (garlic, leeks, onion, scallions) and sauerkraut.
- graham crackers
Grains to eat occasionally include muffins, garlic bread, and granola.
- egg whites and egg substitute
- feta cheese
- goat cheese
- low-fat or fat-free sour cream
- low-fat or fat-free cream cheese
- soy cheese
Dairy to eat occasionally includes cheddar, mozzarella, or cottage cheese; yogurt, and milk.
- lean ground beef
- skinless chicken breast
- fish cooked without fat
Meat to eat occasionally includes tuna or chicken salad, hot dogs, ham, whole eggs, and fried fish
- fat-free cookies
- red licorice
- jelly beans
- baked potato chips
Sorry about the bad snack news, but a sweet snack to try occasionally is a low-fat cookie.
All the listed foods should be completely safe to eat with Barrett’s esophagus, and the "occasional" foods are just that: try them from time to time but don’t make them a daily habit, and you’ll be fine. Not everyone is sensitive to the same foods, so pay attention to your body’s reaction to foods — you may find that a "safe" or "occasional" food doesn’t work well for you personally.
Foods to Avoid Completely
- Chocolate — it contains methylxanthine, which can aggravate the condition
- Citrus juices — they are high in acid
- Mint — many people find that spearmint, peppermint, and other mint products trigger acid reflux and aggravate Barrett’s esophagus
- Tomato products — they are also high in acid
- Fatty and fried foods — their longer digestion time makes acid reflux more likely
Also avoid caffeine, because it promotes gastroesophageal reflux by relaxing the muscle at the bottom of the esophagus. The same goes for alcohol. And quit smoking, because nicotine will also stimulate reflux.
In sum, try a low-fat, low-acid diet to find foods to eat with Barrett’s esophagus. Avoiding heartburn triggers is critical to keeping symptoms of GERD in check. Use this list of foods as a reference, and hopefully it will help you control your symptoms with less medication.
References and Image Credits
Barrett’s Esophagus: https://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/barretts/
Georgia Health Info | Barrett’s esophagus: https://georgiahealthinfo.gov/cms/node/134648
Diet and Barrett’s Esophagus: https://apps.pathology.jhu.edu/blogs/barretts/?p=48
The GERD Diet: https://www.mckinley.illinois.edu/handouts/pdfs/gerd_diet.pdf