Do you often get heartburn or other symptoms of acid reflux? One of the first things to try for relief is to make some simple changes in your diet and other everyday habits.
1. Revamp Your Meals
You can boil it down to these key ideas:
Favor low-fat, high protein foods. For instance, choose a chicken breast (without the skin) instead of pasta with a rich, creamy sauce.
Think “more and mini.” Eat more often, as long as you cut back on your portions. Smaller meals are easier on your stomach.
Pace yourself. Stop eating before you get too full. It also helps to slow down, since you may not feel full until 15-20 minutes after you start to eat.
2. Outsmart Your Triggers
Notice -- and avoid -- foods or drinks that seem to bring on or worsen your heartburn. These may include:
- Coffee or tea (both regular and decaffeinated)
- Anything that’s fizzy or has caffeine in it
- Citrus fruits, such as oranges and lemons
- Tomatoes and products that contain tomatoes, such as tomato sauce and salsa
- Mint or peppermint
- Fatty or spicy foods, such as chili or curry
- Onions and garlic
3. Solve It While You Snooze
These steps will help reduce reflux when you sleep:
- Put blocks under the legs at the head of your bed to raise it at least 4 to 6 inches. This helps keep your stomach's contents down. Don’t just pile on more pillows. It doesn’t work, because this position may put more pressure on your belly.
- Stop eating at least 2 or 3 hours before lying down.
- If you nap, curl up in a chair instead of in bed. Sleeping upright can help.
4. Loosen Up
Don’t wear tight clothes or tight belts. Often, extra pressure around your belly ramps up acid reflux. Likewise, if you’re overweight, losing some of those extra pounds helps.
If you smoke, stop. Smoking may mean more stomach acid and make it harder to keep that acid down. It can take several tries to kick the habit for good, so hang in there and keep trying! Your doctor can help.