Eliminating Acud Reflux & Heartburn Tips

"Many people can significantly reduce the occurrence of symptoms by avoiding heartburn triggers and behaviors that contribute to acid reflux flare-ups."

Dietary and Eating Habits Tips

  • Fatty foods. Avoid high-fat meals such as those from the fast food chains. High-fat foods will remain in the stomach longer and more acid is secreted to digest them.
  • Foods and beverages to avoid. Try to limit as possible the following:
    • caffeine
    • coffee (both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee increase acid secretion)
    • chocolate
    • peppermint
    • spearmint
    • onions and garlic
    • alcohol
    • carbonated drinks (all carbonated drinks increase the risk for GERD)
  • Safe foods. Those that are usually safe for heartburn sufferers:
    • Fruits: apples, apple juice, banana
    • Vegetables: baked potato, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, green beans, peas
    • Meat: ground extra-lean beef, steak, chicken breast, egg whites, fish
    • Dairy: cheese (feta or goat), cream cheese, sour cream, Soy cheese
    • Grains: bread (mult-grain or white), cereal (bran or oatmeal), corn bread, pretzels, rice (brown or white), rice cakes
    • Fats / Oils: salad dressing
    • Sweets / Desserts: cookie, jelly beans, red licorice, potato chips (baked)
  • Proteins. Increasing protein may help strengthen muscles in the muscle valve. Choose skim dairy products, poultry, or fish, for this purpose.
  • Fruits and vegetables. Have a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Avoid acidic vegetables and fruits such as oranges, lemons, grapefruit, pineapple, tomatoes.
  • Eat small, more frequent meals. Avoid overeating. Eating too much will stimulate the stomach to secret more acids for digestion. Also, overeating places pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, which can trigger acid reflux and heartburn.
  • Eat slowly. Don't eat too quickly. The faster you eat, the harder your stomach has to work and the more likely you are to suffer from heartburn. Take breaks in between bites. Empty you mouth completely and wait a moment or two before you start on the next bite.
  • Relax when you eat. Make it a habit to take a couple of minutes to relax and slow down before eating. Stress increases the production of stomach acid, so make meals a pleasant, relaxing experience.
  • Bed-time snacks. Avoid bedtime snacks. In general, avoid eating for at least two hours prior to bedtime.

Life-style Tips

  • Remain upright after meal. Gravity plays an important factor in keeping acid out of the esophagus. Maintain upright position during and at least 45 min after eating. Lying down with a full stomach can cause stomach contents to press harder against the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).
  • Weight loss. If you're overweight, try to lose weight. Even a small weight loss can make a difference.
  • Raise the head of your bed. Elevate the head of bed 6 - 8 inches when lying down.
  • Sleep on the left side. This may help your stomach empty better. The stomach opens up to the left and this encourages the food and acids to stay in your stomach and away from your esophageal valve.
  • Avoid tight-fitting clothes. Tightness around your waist pressures the abdomen and the esophageal sphincter. Tight-fitting clothes around the abdomen make the job of your stomach difficult. The digestion process needs space and if your clothes fit too tightly, reflux may occur.
  • Avoid heavy lifting, straining.
  • Smoking. Apart from worsening the symptoms of heartburn, smoking is bad for your health in general.
  • A lot of beverages such as beer, wine and pop stimulate acid secretion. The worst of all is beer. It could double your stomach acid within an hour.
  • Gently massage your esophageal valve by rubbing gently just under your solar plexus and stroking downwards toward your belly button.

Tips To Make Your Doctor's Appointments More Productive

  • Try practicing with a friend or family member. If you feel nervous about going back to your health care professional, try practicing what you want to say with a friend or family member. It may also help to take someone along with you on your appointment.
  • Come prepared with information. Since your job is to communicate as clearly as possible with the physician, objective information can be critical. Have a list of signs, symptoms, problems and observations, including dates and times. This information can help focus the conversation and give the doctor valuable insights.
  • Tell about your symptoms. Remember, your doctor can't help you get relief unless you tell him or her about your symptoms.
  • Ask at the beginning of the appointment. Ask your health care professional questions at the beginning of your appointment. He or she may not have adequate time to discuss your concerns if you wait until the end of the visit to mention them.
  • Connect after the appointment. It is reasonable to be able to communicate with your doctor, or his/her office, outside of appointments. Before you leave the appointment, determine what method of communication your doctor prefers.

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