Silent reflux is also known as laryngopharyngeal reflux. It occurs when stomach acid enters the esophagus and travels up to the larynx.

Laryngopharyngeal reflux can cause no symptoms at all. For example, a person may not experience the heartburn that can come with acid reflux. This is why people call it silent reflux.

However, some people may experience symptoms such as:

  • a bitter taste in the throat
  • a persistent cough
  • difficulty swallowing

If a person has acid reflux, they might be experiencing symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Treating silent reflux may include trying medical treatments and making dietary changes to help prevent excessive stomach acid.

This article discusses some of the best foods to eat, some foods to avoid, and some more information about dealing with silent reflux.

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Modifying the diet can help improve silent reflux.

One 2020 study found that people with silent reflux who eat a diet that is low in protein but high in sugary, acidic, and fatty foods experience more episodes of reflux than people who adjust their diet to increase their intake of protein.

Some foods high in protein include:

Some foods low in acid include:

  • fresh coconuts
  • lean meat
  • ginger
  • oatmeal
  • egg whites

To follow a diet low in sugar, a person can:

  • Read the labels of food products and avoid foods containing any type of sugar or corn syrup.
  • Choose brown bread or rice over white variants, as these contain simple carbohydrates.
  • Opt for whole foods, such as whole grains, fish, and nuts.

To follow a diet low in fat, a person can:

  • Opt for fat-free or low fat dairy products.
  • Opt for wholegrain foods.
  • Fill up on fruits, vegetables, or sources of lean protein.


Medical experts recommend that people with silent reflux drink water or herbal teas.

Plant-based diet

Eating a plant-based diet means avoiding all or most foods that contain animal products. Some foods that people can eat while following this diet include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and nuts.

A 2017 study involved 184 participants. Of these participants, 99 followed a plant-based, Mediterranean-style diet consisting of the above foods, and they used standard treatment for silent reflux for 6 weeks. They also drank alkaline water.

For the same amount of time, the remaining 85 participants used the same standard treatment for silent reflux, as well as proton pump inhibitors (PPI).

At the end of the study, all of the participants experienced fewer symptoms to a similar degree.

The study concluded that following a plant-based, Mediterranean-style diet with alkaline water helped reduce symptoms just as much as taking standard medications.

This could save money, eliminate the risk of side effects, and provide a person with the other health benefits associated with following a plant-based diet.

Learn about the health benefits of a plant-based diet here.

Several foods may aggravate a person’s silent reflux symptoms.

A person may wish to avoid the following items:

  • alcohol
  • chocolates
  • caffeine
  • peppermints

They may also wish to avoid carbonated beverages such as soda and beer, as these can weaken the lower sphincter that holds stomach acid back.

Also, acidic foods can cause stomach acid to rise into the throat. These include:

  • tomatoes
  • kiwis
  • pineapples
  • spicy foods

Some foods can irritate the lining of the esophagus. These include fried or fatty foods, such as:

  • fries
  • chocolate
  • pastries
  • cheese

Also, spicy deli meats and hot spices — including mustard, curry, and hot peppers — can directly irritate the throat lining.

As well as a person changing the food they eat, they can also make adjustments to the way they eat and live to reduce silent reflux.

For example, a person with silent reflux may wish to:

  • Avoid bending over within 2 hours of eating.
  • Eat smaller meals throughout the day instead of three big meals.
  • Avoid lying down within 3 hours of eating.
  • Avoid eating or drinking anything before going to bed.
  • Inserting a 4-inch wedge under the bed to elevate the head when sleeping.

There are several potential ways to include generally healthy foods in small meals throughout the day.


For breakfast, a person may wish to consider eating oatmeal or another wholegrain cereal. Wholegrain cereals can be filling, which means that a person will need less to feel full until lunch.

People can add non-citric fruits such as coconut flakes to their oatmeal for added flavor.


For lunch, a person may wish to consider a grilled chicken breast salad. The grilled chicken breast provides lean protein that can be filling.


Eating snacks can help a person feel full throughout the day. A person can incorporate these to ensure that they are eating smaller meals throughout the day instead of only three larger meals.

A person could eat one hard-boiled egg or a piece of nonacidic fruit, such as melon.

Crackers and hummus may also satisfy hunger without causing additional stomach acid to form.


A person could eat a grilled fish fillet with steamed vegetables, such as broccoli, for a filling meal that should not aggravate silent reflux.

When planning dinners, a person should try to include a variety of healthy foods, such as protein sources, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.


For dessert, a person can choose foods such as:

  • fruit ices
  • nonacidic fruits
  • gelatin products

According to medical professionals, a person with silent reflux can also try:

  • not smoking or using tobacco
  • not wearing clothing that is too tight
  • lying on the left side instead of the right
  • chewing gum containing bicarbonate of soda
  • maintaining a moderate weight
  • taking any prescribed medication as a doctor instructs

There are several medications that may help with silent reflux.

A person should talk with a doctor about potential medications and follow their doctor’s recommendations.

Some common prescription and over-the-counter medications for silent reflux include:

  • PPIs: These are the most effective treatment option. A person can expect fewer symptoms after 4–6 weeks of taking this medication as prescribed.
  • H2 blockers: These are antihistamines and can be especially effective at night.
  • Antacids: These medications may be available over the counter or with a prescription.

Medications and dosages may differ for people with GERD. For example, a person with silent reflux may require a higher dosage of a medication for a longer period of time.

Silent reflux occurs when stomach acid travels into the esophagus and up to the larynx, causing discomfort and symptoms such as a persistent cough and a bitter taste in the throat.

There are several foods that can help reduce the acid in the stomach, dilute this acid, or keep a person feeling fuller with less food.

A person should avoid eating foods that aggravate their condition, including spicy foods, fatty foods, and foods with high acidity levels.

A person can make several lifestyle changes and work with a doctor to take appropriate medication to help treat their silent reflux.