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Does Feta Cheese Cause Acid Reflux?

Feta cheese is almost synonymous with Greece. It is a staple ingredient in many culinary cultures all over the world, fresh and cooked alike. Usually made using the blend of sheep and goat milk, the flavors are mostly infused from the forage of the animals, resulting in a taste and texture that differ from one region to another.

Does Feta Cheese Cause Acid Reflux?

Through the years, feta cheese rose to popularity, spawning different variants from various culinary cultures, and creating delicious and distinct twists.

However, despite the popularity of feta cheese, some people cannot help but wonder if it is safe for them to eat without any negative effects. Does feta cheese cause acid reflux, for example?

Unfortunately, feta cheese may cause acid reflux. Take note that dairy and milk products like feta cheese have high-fat content, which can worsen acid reflux or heartburn. If you often suffer from GERD symptoms such as acid reflux, eating dairy products high in fat such as cheese can make your symptoms worse.

Aside from this, cold dairy products can also inhibit and numb the function of the lower esophageal sphincter. It allows the stomach acid to easily backwash up to the esophagus.

Can You Eat Feta Cheese If You Have Acid Reflux?

It will be better not just for your gut health but also for your general well-being if you don’t eat feta cheese if you often suffer from chronic acid reflux or GERD. Feta cheese is a type of acidic food with a pH level of 4.4 to 4.6, which means it won’t help with symptoms of GERD.

What is Chronic Acid Reflux?

People with from chronic acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), suffer from the condition where contents in their stomach that contain acid constantly leak back up to their esophagus.

The American Gastroenterological Association revealed that approximately one-third of the whole population suffers from GERD. It means there are billions of other people out there who experience this condition.

Acid reflux is actually a very common condition affecting almost everyone at one point in his or her life, especially these days with stress rates spiking up. It has even become almost normal to hear people complaining about their heartburn and acid reflux.

Acid reflux can turn into an issue if you experience the symptoms more than two times a week. If your symptoms keep coming back, there is also a possibility that you have already developed GERD.

Acid reflux occurs because the lower esophageal sphincter found at the end of the esophagus doesn’t close correctly when the food reaches your stomach. It will then result in an acid backwash that will return through the esophagus back to your throat and mouth.

Symptoms of Acid Reflux

The following are some of the common symptoms experienced by people who suffer from GERD:

  • A burning sensation in the chest, also known as heartburn, after eating that is worse at night
  • Asthma
  • Chest pain
  • Chronic cough
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Laryngitis
  • Regurgitation of sour liquid or food

It is important that you don’t underestimate the symptoms of GERD because these can develop and turn into more serious concerns. It is important to visit a specialist who can help you address and treat your GERD.

Is Chronic Acid Reflux Common?

The prevalence of GERD is not easy to calculate because there are only a few patients who experience the common symptoms of GERD. Some GERD patients might not even exhibit any of the different symptoms at all.

But recent research has estimated the prevalence of GERD to be almost one-third of the entire population. Here is a quick overview of the prevalence of GERD among the population of different regions in the world:

  • East Asia: 3% to 8%
  • Europe: 9% to 26%
  • Middle East: 9% to 33%
  • Australia: 12%
  • North America: 18% to 28%
  • South America: 23%

Based on these numbers, it is easy to tell that GERD might be more prevalent in regions where the population might show some of the potential risks below:

  • Being obese or overweight
  • Eating spicy food
  • Taking medications that can cause acid reflux
  • Smoking or constant exposure to smoke
  • It has also been reported that another potential risk is if the person is older than 40.

Foods to Eat If You Have Acid Reflux

Diet is one of the biggest factors that can trigger or help symptoms of GERD. A piece of advice from the experts that you always need to follow and remember is that it is not a good idea to eat late at night. Once you lay down on your bed at night, the foods you eat might go back up your esophagus. Experts also state that it is better to eat small meals frequently than to eat a single heavier meal in one go.

The following are some of the foods that you can eat to ensure that acid reflux doesn’t happen:

  • Alkaline foods
  • Foods with low pH are more likely to trigger symptoms of GERD. This is why it is highly recommended to eat alkaline foods such as nuts, melons, and bananas.
  • High-fiber foods
  • High-fiber foods can help you feel full while improving your digestion at the same time. Good examples of these foods rich in fiber include asparagus, broccoli, brown rice, carrots, couscous, oatmeal, and sweet potatoes.

Foods to Avoid If You Have Acid Reflux

As stated above, the foods you eat have the most significant effect on your acid reflux and other GERD symptoms. It means that if you want to stay away from these unwanted symptoms, you might want to avoid consuming any of the following food groups:

Acidic foods, such as dairy, which also include feta cheese

  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruits
  • Fried foods
  • Garlic
  • Spicy foods
  • Tomato sauce

It will be a wise idea that you keep a record of the foods that you ate that triggered your symptoms of acid reflux and GERD. Don’t forget that every person is unique and different, which means that if feta cheese made your friend suffer from acid reflux, it might not have the same effects on you.

It is also important that you discuss your condition with your doctor who can help you come up with the best meal plan that suits your condition.