(HealthCastle.com) Over-the-counter medications may seem like a quick fix for acid reflux. However, the effect is usually short-lived and doesn't help prevent the next episode. For most people, a slight adjustment of diet and lifestyle changes are the best solutions for overcoming acid reflux.
9 Diet and Lifestyle Changes That Help Relieve Heartburn
- Eat small, frequent meals instead of three big meals a day. Eating small amounts of food each time creates less of a workload for the stomach and therefore requires less acid secretion for digestion. In other words, don't overeat.
- Include complex carbohydrates in each meal. These foods, such as rice, oatmeal, and whole grain bread and pasta, are able to tie up excess stomach acid and are often easy on the stomach.
- Avoid deep-fried foods. High-fat foods stay in the stomach longer, thus causing the need for more stomach acid secretion to digest them.
- Avoid trigger drinks. Some drinks seem to trigger heartburn more often, including coffee and tea, caffeinated soda, carbonated soda, and alcohol. The worst of all is beer; it can double your stomach acid within an hour.
- Don't always resort to milk. You may have tried drinking milk to ease acid reflux before sleep. But milk often ends up causing reflux during sleep. To understand the whole situation, you must realize that bedtime heartburn stems from eating too much at dinner. Eating a big meal at dinner causes excess stomach acid production. Milk may be a quick fix, but it has a rebound action and eventually encourages secretion of more stomach acid. If you have a medical condition that requires you to eat before bedtime (like diabetes), try eating a piece of whole grain bread or a small bowl of oatmeal instead.
- Eat more ginger. This natural heartburn-soothing food has been used for centuries in Asian cultures as a natural GI remedy!
- Use more parsley. Parsley shouldn't just be used as a garnish. This medicinal herb has been used as a digestive aid.
- Address reflux that occurs at bedtime. For nighttime reflux, try the following:
- Stop eating at least two hours before bedtime.
- Elevate the head of your bed six to eight inches using an extra firm pillow or blocks
- Lose extra weight if you're overweight. A 2006 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that overweight people with BMI between 25 and 30 were twice likely to develop acid reflux. People who were obese with BMI over 30 had triple the risk of developing acid reflux!