Acid reflux, also referred to as gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a condition where stomach acid and undigested food flows back up into the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms. Apart from medication, lifestyle changes and dietary tips are the best ways to manage this condition. These lifestyle tips for acid reflux can be easily followed, and they help manage the condition effectively and also improve overall health.
This article lists out some effective lifestyle tips to manage acid reflux affectively:
1. Maintain a healthy weight
It has been observed that those who are obese or overweight are likely to experience more severe symptoms of acid reflux as compared to those with a healthy weight. This makes losing weight and maintaining a healthy number on the scale one of the most effective lifestyle tips for managing acid reflux. Cardio exercise and following a low-fat diet can help achieve weight loss goals and relieving the symptoms of acid reflux.
2. Eat smaller portions
Eating a heavy meal can be very harmful to people experiencing acid reflux as it increases the pressure on the digestive system and causes it to produce more acid, aggravating the symptoms. Doctors suggest that it is better to eat frequent and smaller meals rather than three big meals throughout the day, and it’s advised to eat food slowly by chewing for more time to aid digestion and reduce acid production. Also, reducing the calorie intake, especially the calories coming from fats, is recommended. Most importantly, dinner at least two to three hours before sleeping as sleeping immediately after dinner can cause a lot of discomfort.
3. Follow a healthy diet
Dietary habits play an important role in managing acid reflux as certain foods trigger and increase acid production, aggravating the symptoms of GERD. It’s important to identify such foods and strictly avoid them. Some common trigger foods are high-fat foods, spicy foods, onions, coffee, and chocolate. Low-fat food promotes digestion and should be a part of the diet, but it’s important to follow a balanced diet so that the body gets the nutrients required.
4. Drink sufficient water
Drinking water before food is recommended as it dilutes the acid in the stomach and also creates a feeling of fullness, making a person eat less. However, it is also important to not drink water until half an hour after eating. Additionally, people experiencing acid reflux should drink plenty of water while exercising and at least two liters of water every day (unless they have any kidney problems).
5. Avoid alcohol and smoking
Two common vices, alcohol and smoking are harmful to those experiencing acid reflux. Both these habits can worsen the symptoms of acid reflux and can also lead to further complications, so it’s advisable to avoid them.
6. Incline when sleeping
Sleeping with additional pillows may not help, but inclining the bed to raise the level of the head can alleviate the symptoms. Also, sleeping on the back must be avoided.