Consuming a Mediterranean style diet that is plant-based and drinking alkaline water might have the same effect at regulating reflux symptoms as do conventional medications, shows a new study that was published on Thursday.
Researchers looked at symptoms of two large groups of patients that had LPR or laryngopharyngeal reflux which is a disease where the stomach and upper digestive tract’s contents can reflux up into the esophagus
Symptoms of this disease include a burning sensation, bitter taste or a feeling that something has been lodged in the back of the throat.
One group was given conventional medications called proton-pump inhibitors (PPI), while the second group maintained a diet that was Mediterranean-style, plant based and supplemented with the drinking of alkaline water.
Researchers found in the 184 patients who were studied that there was a minimal different in symptoms for both groups following a period of six weeks.
Although this study examined a small number of people, the findings suggest the effect of conventional medications on lowering the symptoms of reflux were not any better than that of using the plant-based diet with the consumption of alkaline water
Another worry for medical experts is the link that prolonged use of the inhibitors slightly increases the risk of a heart attack, dementia, kidney disease, as well as bone fractures. However, it is not clear if the drugs are a direct cause.
Nutritional experts have pushed for plant-based diets that include 90% plant consumption eating mainly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes. Dairy and meats should be limited to two to three servings each week.
Those who ate this type of diet in the study were also told to avoid tea, coffee, alcohol and fatty or fried foods.
Researchers found a drop of 6 points in the scale known as reflux symptom index for 63% of those who ate the mostly plant-based diet, which is deemed a clinically meaningful improvement.
That compared to 54% of the patients using PPI medication.
Researchers added that patients in the group on the plant based diet typically lost approximately eight pounds, which could help to explain an improvement in their symptoms.
According to experts, healthy plant foods calm inflammation inside the body, while a diet that has many processed foods does just the opposite. That goes along with more understanding today of acid reflux being an inflammatory disorder.