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A plant-based, Mediterranean-style diet has been shown to provide the same medical benefits for treating laryngopharyngeal reflux (you may know it as heartburn) as popular reflux medications. This is according to new research presented this weaken JAMA Otolaryngology Head Neck Surgery.

The diet suggested by the authors consists primarily of fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts. They recommend near complete elimination of dairy and meats (including beef, chicken, fish, eggs, and pork). Historically, we have suggested watching out for tea, coffee, soda, chocolate, soda, greasy and fried food, spicy foods, fatty foods, and alcohol. Many of the patients in the study who adopted the plant-based diet also had some weight loss and a reduction of symptoms and medication use from other medical conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. One might consider, with the consent of your health care provider, a plant-based diet approach with alkaline water and standard reflux precautions before turning to medications. This approach challenges what we physicians have historically believed. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.