8 Home Remedies for Acid Reflux/GERD

What is acid reflux/GERD?

Occasional heartburn (acid reflux) can happen to anyone. According to the Mayo Clinic, if you experience acid reflux more than twice a week, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In this case, heartburn is just one of many symptoms along with coughing and chest pain.

GERD is first treated with over-the-counter methods, such as antacids and dietary changes. Prescription medications may be needed in more severe cases to prevent damage to the esophagus. While conventional medicine is the most common form of GERD treatment, there are some home remedies you can try to reduce instances of acid reflux. Talk to your gastroenterologist about the following options.

1. Aim for a healthy weight

While heartburn can happen to anyone, GERD seems to be most prevalent in adults who are overweight or obese. Excess weight — especially in the abdominal area — puts more pressure on the stomach. As a result, you’re at an increased risk of stomach acids working back into the esophagus and causing heartburn.

If you’re overweight, the Mayo Clinic suggests a steady weight loss plan of 1 or 2 pounds per week. On the flip side, if you are already considered to be at a healthy weight, then make sure you maintain it with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

2. Know which foods to avoid

No matter what your weight, there are certain known trigger foods that can increase your risk for acid reflux. With GERD, you should be especially wary of items that can lead to symptoms. Try avoiding the following foods:

 

  • tomato sauce and other tomato-based products
  • high-fat foods, such as fast food products and greasy foods
  • fried foods
  • citrus fruit juices
  • soda
  • caffeine
  • chocolate
  • garlic
  • onions
  • mint
  • alcohol

By limiting or avoiding these triggers altogether, you may experience fewer symptoms. You may also want to keep a food diary to help identify problem foods.

After each meal, you may even consider chewing non-mint gum. This can help increase saliva in your mouth and keep acid out of the esophagus.

3. Eat a little, sit up a little longer

Eating smaller meals puts less pressure on the stomach, which can prevent the backflow of stomach acids. By eating smaller amounts of food more frequently, you can reduce heartburn and eat fewer calories overall.

It’s also important to avoid lying down after eating. Doing so can trigger heartburn. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases recommends waiting 2 to 3 hours after eating. (Once you do go to bed, try elevating your head with some extra pillows to avoid nighttime heartburn.)

4. Eat foods that help

There is no one magic food that can treat acid reflux. Still, aside from avoiding trigger foods, a few other dietary changes can help. First, the American Academy of Family Physiciansrecommends low-fat, high-protein meals. Reducing dietary fat intake can subsequently decrease your symptoms, while getting enough protein and fiber will keep you full and prevent overeating. Try incorporating some of these foods into your diet to help your acid reflux.

After each meal, you may even consider chewing non-mint gum. This can help increase saliva in your mouth and keep acid out of the esophagus.

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