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Caffeinated beverages should be limited on a Barrett's esophagus diet.
Affecting only the hollow tube between your mouth and stomach, Barrett's esophagus is a medical condition characterized by progressive damage and destruction to the inner walls of the esophagus. Commonly associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease, Barrett's esophagus increases your risk for developing a specific type of esophageal cancer. Making specific modifications to your diet can help lessen the severity of the condition -- just make sure you consult your doctor before initiating any dietary changes.
Meal Size and Timing
Adjust your diet so you're eating six to seven small meals every two to three hours, rather than eating three large meals during the day. After you eat a large meal, your stomach may have a difficult time keeping the contents settled -- which could result in stomach acid leaking into the esophagus. But if you eat smaller, more frequent meals, your stomach is better able to handle the quantity. Save yourself some time by preparing large portions of food at one time and dividing them into smaller containers.
Acid Reflux Triggers
Because of the link between Barrett's esophagus and GERD, it's beneficial to avoid any foods or beverages that trigger symptoms of acid reflux. Although these triggers can vary from one person to the next, common triggers include fried or greasy foods, chocolate, peppermint, citrus fruits, onions, garlic, tomatoes and spicy foods. Beverages that can trigger acid reflux include alcohol, coffee, tea and acidic fruit or vegetable juices.
According to the John Hopkins Pathology website, fatty foods take longer for the body to digest -- so they tend to sit in the stomach for a longer period of time, increasing the risk of acid reflux. Since low-fat foods quickly digest, they are an excellent option for people with Barrett's esophagus. Choose fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes and low-fat dairy products. Limit your intake of prepackaged foods, baked goods, fatty meats, fried foods and sweets.
Although the idea of ditching your morning coffee might seem impossible, the John Hopkins Pathology website recommends limiting your caffeine intake if you have Barrett's esophagus. When caffeine is consumed, it causes the muscle between the esophagus and the stomach to relax. Since this muscle is responsible for keeping stomach contents out of the esophagus, a loose or relaxed muscle can easily lead to reflux of stomach contents back into the esophagus. Caffeine is frequently found in coffee, tea, soda and energy-boosting beverages.