No one likes the word diet, however when you have a hernia, the foods you eat can help or harm your recovery.  Over half of hernia patients suffer with heart burn and indigestion which are common side effects from a hernia.  While over the counter medications can help combat the symptoms digestion discomfort, being selective about the foods you eat are a more effective coping mechanism than drugs.

A hernia friendly diet focuses on eliminating foods that exacerbate gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), how food is consumed and being mindful about the portions of food consumed.  In other words, to manage your symptoms be mindful about what you eat, how you eat, and how much you eat.

What to Eat:

  • Lean meats (turkey, chicken, salmon, etc.)
  • Protein-rich foods such as eggs, legumes, etc.
  • Whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, bulgur)
  • Variety of vegetables and fruits (green vegetables are best)
  • Healthy fats such as olive oil, avocados, walnuts, ghee, coconut oil
  • Lots of water and other non-caffeinated beverages

You should avoid spicy foods or foods that are high in fat.  Fruits that contain citric acid and caffeinated beverages are also hard on the esophagus.

How You Eat:
Your eating habits are equally as important to living pain free with a hernia. Eating meals while sitting straight at a table make food easier to flow smoothly into the stomach.   Food should be consumed at a relaxed pace and avoid wearing tight fitting clothes around your waist.  After you are done eating, remain sitting upright for the next hour so that the food in your body will properly digest.   Avoid laying down or bending for at least three hours after your last meal.

How Much You Eat:
Portion control is another critical component to managing hernia pain. Smaller bites and smaller portions make it easier for the body to digest and reduces stomach acid and indigestion.  Eating smaller portions also helps manage your weight which is important because obesity can lead to additional health complications.

Other Factors to Consider:
A healthy lifestyle will also decrease complications.  Avoid heavy stress and don’t consume alcohol and tobacco use.  If you have any questions regarding your diet, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor.