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If You Have Acid Reflux, Don’t Eat or Drink These 20 Things Slideshow

If You Have Acid Reflux, Don’t Eat or Drink These 20 Things Slideshow

That burning sensation is all too familiar, but avoiding these foods can help prevent it

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If You Have Acid Reflux, Don’t Eat or Drink These 20 Things

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Acid reflux can be painful. Burning in the throat, pressure in the chest, tension in the stomach… The symptoms go on and on, and they often don’t truly go away until you fall asleep.

Acid reflux, otherwise known as heartburn, occurs when contents of the stomach travel back up through the esophagus. Since your stomach is so acidic, this process can result in an intense burning sensation and cause severe distress.

The condition is all too common. People who are overweight or pregnant are more likely to experience the pain, but really everyone is at risk. Even the youngest, healthiest of people can become afflicted — all it takes is one tiny trigger to set off a scorching episode.

Some foods are more common triggers than others. The last thing you want is to set yourself up for failure with a food that triggers heartburn. Get in the know about which foods you should avoid if you experience acid reflux.

Bacon

Black Pepper

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Butter

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Carbonated Drinks

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The bubbles from carbonated beverages expand even more inside your stomach. This puts pressure on your esophagus and can push food and liquid back up. While all carbonated drinks put you at risk for reflux, colas are particularly acidic and therefore much more dangerous.

Cheese

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Cheese is high in fat and made entirely of dairy — two qualities of food that slow down digestion. The slower you digest, the more likely you are to experience heartburn. Since cheese has such small serving sizes (two small cubes is the recommended serving) people often overeat it. Save yourself the stomach stress. Either skip the cheese entirely or save it for snack time when you’re not also eating a large meal.

Chocolate

Citrus

Coffee

Garlic

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People with heartburn often don’t do well with garlic. This one is difficult to avoid, since garlic is present in so many recipes and used in nearly all popular restaurant foods. Instead of attempting to cut it out of your diet, reduce the amount of garlic you use while cooking. Additionally, using a couple of whole cloves instead of a bunch of garlic powder can help to keep the concentration at a minimum. Try subbing in black garlic for an even bigger health boost.

Mint

Though many people believe mint to be a soothing food for digestion, this is a misconception. Peppermint tea won’t help if you are a common victim of acid reflux. It relaxes the sphincter muscle at the base of the esophagus, increasing the likelihood of stomach acid making its way up.

If you’re on a date and have already eaten a heavy meal that puts you at risk, play it safe and skip the mint. Try one of these foods to solve your bad breath instead.

Onions

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Red Meat

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Red Wine

This one is a major bummer. While indulging in a glass or two of red wine has been shown to have some health benefits, if you have acid reflux, the cons may outweigh the pros. Alcohol opens the sphincter, which is the opening at the base of the esophagus. When this is open, more food and stomach acid is likely to flow back up.

Salty Foods

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High-salt foods are not only dangerous for your blood pressure, they can also instigate your digestion to fight back. Avoid bloating, heart problems, and acid reflux by keeping your sodium intake low.

Salsa

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Salsa is like the trifecta of heartburn triggers: It contains tomatoes, lots of sodium, and spicy foods. All three of these factors can increase your chance of acid reflux. Dip your chips in a simple bean dip or lightened-up guacamole instead.

Spicy Foods

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Tomatoes

Too Much Food


9 ways to relieve acid reflux without medication


Image: Bigstock

A few lifestyle changes are worth trying before resorting to drugs for controlling gastroesophageal reflux.

If you are sounding a little hoarse and have a sore throat, you may be bracing for a cold or a bout of the flu. But if you've had these symptoms for a while, they might be caused not by a virus but by a valve—your lower esophageal sphincter. That's the muscle that controls the passage between the esophagus and stomach, and when it doesn't close completely, stomach acid and food flow back into the esophagus. The medical term for this process is gastroesophageal reflux the backward flow of acid is called acid reflux.

Acid reflux can cause sore throats and hoarseness and may literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. When acid reflux produces chronic symptoms, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD. The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn—pain in the upper abdomen and chest that sometimes feel like you’re having a heart attack.

Three conditions—poor clearance of food or acid from the esophagus, too much acid in the stomach, and delayed stomach emptying—contribute to acid reflux, says Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of A Woman's Guide to a Healthy Stomach: Taking Control of Your Digestive Health.

If you've been having repeated episodes of heartburn—or any other symptoms of acid reflux—you might try the following:

1. Eat sparingly and slowly

When the stomach is very full, there can be more reflux into the esophagus. If it fits into your schedule, you may want to try what is sometimes called "grazing"—eating small meals more frequently rather than three large meals daily.

2. Avoid certain foods

People with acid reflux were once instructed to eliminate all but the blandest foods from their diets. But that's no longer the case. "We've evolved from the days when you couldn't eat anything," Dr. Wolf says. But there are still some foods that are more likely than others to trigger reflux, including mint, fatty foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, onions, garlic, coffee, tea, chocolate, and alcohol. If you eat any of these foods regularly, you might try eliminating them to see if doing so controls your reflux, and then try adding them back one by one. The Foodicine Health website at www.foodicinehealth.org has diet tips for people with acid reflux and GERD as well as for other gastrointestinal disorders.

3. Don't drink carbonated beverages

They make you burp, which sends acid into the esophagus. Drink flat water instead of sparkling water.

4. Stay up after eating

When you're standing, or even sitting, gravity alone helps keeps acid in the stomach, where it belongs. Finish eating three hours before you go to bed. This means no naps after lunch, and no late suppers or midnight snacks.

5. Don't move too fast

Avoid vigorous exercise for a couple of hours after eating. An after-dinner stroll is fine, but a more strenuous workout, especially if it involves bending over, can send acid into your esophagus.

6. Sleep on an incline

Ideally, your head should be 6 to 8 inches higher than your feet. You can achieve this by using "extra-tall" bed risers on the legs supporting the head of your bed. If your sleeping partner objects to this change, try using a foam wedge support for your upper body. Don't try to create a wedge by stacking pillows. They won't provide the uniform support you need.

7. Lose weight if it's advised

Increased weight spreads the muscular structure that supports the lower esophageal sphincter, decreasing the pressure that holds the sphincter closed. This leads to reflux and heartburn.

8. If you smoke, quit

Nicotine may relax the lower esophageal sphincter.

9. Check your medications

Some—including postmenopausal estrogen, tricyclic antidepressants, and anti-inflammatory painkillers—can relax the sphincter, while others—particularly bisphosphonates like alendronate (Fosamax), ibandronate (Boniva), or risedronate (Actonel), which are taken to increase bone density—can irritate the esophagus.

If these steps aren't effective or if you have severe pain or difficulty swallowing, see your doctor to rule out other causes. You may also need medication to control reflux even as you pursue lifestyle changes.


9 ways to relieve acid reflux without medication


Image: Bigstock

A few lifestyle changes are worth trying before resorting to drugs for controlling gastroesophageal reflux.

If you are sounding a little hoarse and have a sore throat, you may be bracing for a cold or a bout of the flu. But if you've had these symptoms for a while, they might be caused not by a virus but by a valve—your lower esophageal sphincter. That's the muscle that controls the passage between the esophagus and stomach, and when it doesn't close completely, stomach acid and food flow back into the esophagus. The medical term for this process is gastroesophageal reflux the backward flow of acid is called acid reflux.

Acid reflux can cause sore throats and hoarseness and may literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. When acid reflux produces chronic symptoms, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD. The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn—pain in the upper abdomen and chest that sometimes feel like you’re having a heart attack.

Three conditions—poor clearance of food or acid from the esophagus, too much acid in the stomach, and delayed stomach emptying—contribute to acid reflux, says Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of A Woman's Guide to a Healthy Stomach: Taking Control of Your Digestive Health.

If you've been having repeated episodes of heartburn—or any other symptoms of acid reflux—you might try the following:

1. Eat sparingly and slowly

When the stomach is very full, there can be more reflux into the esophagus. If it fits into your schedule, you may want to try what is sometimes called "grazing"—eating small meals more frequently rather than three large meals daily.

2. Avoid certain foods

People with acid reflux were once instructed to eliminate all but the blandest foods from their diets. But that's no longer the case. "We've evolved from the days when you couldn't eat anything," Dr. Wolf says. But there are still some foods that are more likely than others to trigger reflux, including mint, fatty foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, onions, garlic, coffee, tea, chocolate, and alcohol. If you eat any of these foods regularly, you might try eliminating them to see if doing so controls your reflux, and then try adding them back one by one. The Foodicine Health website at www.foodicinehealth.org has diet tips for people with acid reflux and GERD as well as for other gastrointestinal disorders.

3. Don't drink carbonated beverages

They make you burp, which sends acid into the esophagus. Drink flat water instead of sparkling water.

4. Stay up after eating

When you're standing, or even sitting, gravity alone helps keeps acid in the stomach, where it belongs. Finish eating three hours before you go to bed. This means no naps after lunch, and no late suppers or midnight snacks.

5. Don't move too fast

Avoid vigorous exercise for a couple of hours after eating. An after-dinner stroll is fine, but a more strenuous workout, especially if it involves bending over, can send acid into your esophagus.

6. Sleep on an incline

Ideally, your head should be 6 to 8 inches higher than your feet. You can achieve this by using "extra-tall" bed risers on the legs supporting the head of your bed. If your sleeping partner objects to this change, try using a foam wedge support for your upper body. Don't try to create a wedge by stacking pillows. They won't provide the uniform support you need.

7. Lose weight if it's advised

Increased weight spreads the muscular structure that supports the lower esophageal sphincter, decreasing the pressure that holds the sphincter closed. This leads to reflux and heartburn.

8. If you smoke, quit

Nicotine may relax the lower esophageal sphincter.

9. Check your medications

Some—including postmenopausal estrogen, tricyclic antidepressants, and anti-inflammatory painkillers—can relax the sphincter, while others—particularly bisphosphonates like alendronate (Fosamax), ibandronate (Boniva), or risedronate (Actonel), which are taken to increase bone density—can irritate the esophagus.

If these steps aren't effective or if you have severe pain or difficulty swallowing, see your doctor to rule out other causes. You may also need medication to control reflux even as you pursue lifestyle changes.


9 ways to relieve acid reflux without medication


Image: Bigstock

A few lifestyle changes are worth trying before resorting to drugs for controlling gastroesophageal reflux.

If you are sounding a little hoarse and have a sore throat, you may be bracing for a cold or a bout of the flu. But if you've had these symptoms for a while, they might be caused not by a virus but by a valve—your lower esophageal sphincter. That's the muscle that controls the passage between the esophagus and stomach, and when it doesn't close completely, stomach acid and food flow back into the esophagus. The medical term for this process is gastroesophageal reflux the backward flow of acid is called acid reflux.

Acid reflux can cause sore throats and hoarseness and may literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. When acid reflux produces chronic symptoms, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD. The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn—pain in the upper abdomen and chest that sometimes feel like you’re having a heart attack.

Three conditions—poor clearance of food or acid from the esophagus, too much acid in the stomach, and delayed stomach emptying—contribute to acid reflux, says Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of A Woman's Guide to a Healthy Stomach: Taking Control of Your Digestive Health.

If you've been having repeated episodes of heartburn—or any other symptoms of acid reflux—you might try the following:

1. Eat sparingly and slowly

When the stomach is very full, there can be more reflux into the esophagus. If it fits into your schedule, you may want to try what is sometimes called "grazing"—eating small meals more frequently rather than three large meals daily.

2. Avoid certain foods

People with acid reflux were once instructed to eliminate all but the blandest foods from their diets. But that's no longer the case. "We've evolved from the days when you couldn't eat anything," Dr. Wolf says. But there are still some foods that are more likely than others to trigger reflux, including mint, fatty foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, onions, garlic, coffee, tea, chocolate, and alcohol. If you eat any of these foods regularly, you might try eliminating them to see if doing so controls your reflux, and then try adding them back one by one. The Foodicine Health website at www.foodicinehealth.org has diet tips for people with acid reflux and GERD as well as for other gastrointestinal disorders.

3. Don't drink carbonated beverages

They make you burp, which sends acid into the esophagus. Drink flat water instead of sparkling water.

4. Stay up after eating

When you're standing, or even sitting, gravity alone helps keeps acid in the stomach, where it belongs. Finish eating three hours before you go to bed. This means no naps after lunch, and no late suppers or midnight snacks.

5. Don't move too fast

Avoid vigorous exercise for a couple of hours after eating. An after-dinner stroll is fine, but a more strenuous workout, especially if it involves bending over, can send acid into your esophagus.

6. Sleep on an incline

Ideally, your head should be 6 to 8 inches higher than your feet. You can achieve this by using "extra-tall" bed risers on the legs supporting the head of your bed. If your sleeping partner objects to this change, try using a foam wedge support for your upper body. Don't try to create a wedge by stacking pillows. They won't provide the uniform support you need.

7. Lose weight if it's advised

Increased weight spreads the muscular structure that supports the lower esophageal sphincter, decreasing the pressure that holds the sphincter closed. This leads to reflux and heartburn.

8. If you smoke, quit

Nicotine may relax the lower esophageal sphincter.

9. Check your medications

Some—including postmenopausal estrogen, tricyclic antidepressants, and anti-inflammatory painkillers—can relax the sphincter, while others—particularly bisphosphonates like alendronate (Fosamax), ibandronate (Boniva), or risedronate (Actonel), which are taken to increase bone density—can irritate the esophagus.

If these steps aren't effective or if you have severe pain or difficulty swallowing, see your doctor to rule out other causes. You may also need medication to control reflux even as you pursue lifestyle changes.


9 ways to relieve acid reflux without medication


Image: Bigstock

A few lifestyle changes are worth trying before resorting to drugs for controlling gastroesophageal reflux.

If you are sounding a little hoarse and have a sore throat, you may be bracing for a cold or a bout of the flu. But if you've had these symptoms for a while, they might be caused not by a virus but by a valve—your lower esophageal sphincter. That's the muscle that controls the passage between the esophagus and stomach, and when it doesn't close completely, stomach acid and food flow back into the esophagus. The medical term for this process is gastroesophageal reflux the backward flow of acid is called acid reflux.

Acid reflux can cause sore throats and hoarseness and may literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. When acid reflux produces chronic symptoms, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD. The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn—pain in the upper abdomen and chest that sometimes feel like you’re having a heart attack.

Three conditions—poor clearance of food or acid from the esophagus, too much acid in the stomach, and delayed stomach emptying—contribute to acid reflux, says Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of A Woman's Guide to a Healthy Stomach: Taking Control of Your Digestive Health.

If you've been having repeated episodes of heartburn—or any other symptoms of acid reflux—you might try the following:

1. Eat sparingly and slowly

When the stomach is very full, there can be more reflux into the esophagus. If it fits into your schedule, you may want to try what is sometimes called "grazing"—eating small meals more frequently rather than three large meals daily.

2. Avoid certain foods

People with acid reflux were once instructed to eliminate all but the blandest foods from their diets. But that's no longer the case. "We've evolved from the days when you couldn't eat anything," Dr. Wolf says. But there are still some foods that are more likely than others to trigger reflux, including mint, fatty foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, onions, garlic, coffee, tea, chocolate, and alcohol. If you eat any of these foods regularly, you might try eliminating them to see if doing so controls your reflux, and then try adding them back one by one. The Foodicine Health website at www.foodicinehealth.org has diet tips for people with acid reflux and GERD as well as for other gastrointestinal disorders.

3. Don't drink carbonated beverages

They make you burp, which sends acid into the esophagus. Drink flat water instead of sparkling water.

4. Stay up after eating

When you're standing, or even sitting, gravity alone helps keeps acid in the stomach, where it belongs. Finish eating three hours before you go to bed. This means no naps after lunch, and no late suppers or midnight snacks.

5. Don't move too fast

Avoid vigorous exercise for a couple of hours after eating. An after-dinner stroll is fine, but a more strenuous workout, especially if it involves bending over, can send acid into your esophagus.

6. Sleep on an incline

Ideally, your head should be 6 to 8 inches higher than your feet. You can achieve this by using "extra-tall" bed risers on the legs supporting the head of your bed. If your sleeping partner objects to this change, try using a foam wedge support for your upper body. Don't try to create a wedge by stacking pillows. They won't provide the uniform support you need.

7. Lose weight if it's advised

Increased weight spreads the muscular structure that supports the lower esophageal sphincter, decreasing the pressure that holds the sphincter closed. This leads to reflux and heartburn.

8. If you smoke, quit

Nicotine may relax the lower esophageal sphincter.

9. Check your medications

Some—including postmenopausal estrogen, tricyclic antidepressants, and anti-inflammatory painkillers—can relax the sphincter, while others—particularly bisphosphonates like alendronate (Fosamax), ibandronate (Boniva), or risedronate (Actonel), which are taken to increase bone density—can irritate the esophagus.

If these steps aren't effective or if you have severe pain or difficulty swallowing, see your doctor to rule out other causes. You may also need medication to control reflux even as you pursue lifestyle changes.


9 ways to relieve acid reflux without medication


Image: Bigstock

A few lifestyle changes are worth trying before resorting to drugs for controlling gastroesophageal reflux.

If you are sounding a little hoarse and have a sore throat, you may be bracing for a cold or a bout of the flu. But if you've had these symptoms for a while, they might be caused not by a virus but by a valve—your lower esophageal sphincter. That's the muscle that controls the passage between the esophagus and stomach, and when it doesn't close completely, stomach acid and food flow back into the esophagus. The medical term for this process is gastroesophageal reflux the backward flow of acid is called acid reflux.

Acid reflux can cause sore throats and hoarseness and may literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. When acid reflux produces chronic symptoms, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD. The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn—pain in the upper abdomen and chest that sometimes feel like you’re having a heart attack.

Three conditions—poor clearance of food or acid from the esophagus, too much acid in the stomach, and delayed stomach emptying—contribute to acid reflux, says Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of A Woman's Guide to a Healthy Stomach: Taking Control of Your Digestive Health.

If you've been having repeated episodes of heartburn—or any other symptoms of acid reflux—you might try the following:

1. Eat sparingly and slowly

When the stomach is very full, there can be more reflux into the esophagus. If it fits into your schedule, you may want to try what is sometimes called "grazing"—eating small meals more frequently rather than three large meals daily.

2. Avoid certain foods

People with acid reflux were once instructed to eliminate all but the blandest foods from their diets. But that's no longer the case. "We've evolved from the days when you couldn't eat anything," Dr. Wolf says. But there are still some foods that are more likely than others to trigger reflux, including mint, fatty foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, onions, garlic, coffee, tea, chocolate, and alcohol. If you eat any of these foods regularly, you might try eliminating them to see if doing so controls your reflux, and then try adding them back one by one. The Foodicine Health website at www.foodicinehealth.org has diet tips for people with acid reflux and GERD as well as for other gastrointestinal disorders.

3. Don't drink carbonated beverages

They make you burp, which sends acid into the esophagus. Drink flat water instead of sparkling water.

4. Stay up after eating

When you're standing, or even sitting, gravity alone helps keeps acid in the stomach, where it belongs. Finish eating three hours before you go to bed. This means no naps after lunch, and no late suppers or midnight snacks.

5. Don't move too fast

Avoid vigorous exercise for a couple of hours after eating. An after-dinner stroll is fine, but a more strenuous workout, especially if it involves bending over, can send acid into your esophagus.

6. Sleep on an incline

Ideally, your head should be 6 to 8 inches higher than your feet. You can achieve this by using "extra-tall" bed risers on the legs supporting the head of your bed. If your sleeping partner objects to this change, try using a foam wedge support for your upper body. Don't try to create a wedge by stacking pillows. They won't provide the uniform support you need.

7. Lose weight if it's advised

Increased weight spreads the muscular structure that supports the lower esophageal sphincter, decreasing the pressure that holds the sphincter closed. This leads to reflux and heartburn.

8. If you smoke, quit

Nicotine may relax the lower esophageal sphincter.

9. Check your medications

Some—including postmenopausal estrogen, tricyclic antidepressants, and anti-inflammatory painkillers—can relax the sphincter, while others—particularly bisphosphonates like alendronate (Fosamax), ibandronate (Boniva), or risedronate (Actonel), which are taken to increase bone density—can irritate the esophagus.

If these steps aren't effective or if you have severe pain or difficulty swallowing, see your doctor to rule out other causes. You may also need medication to control reflux even as you pursue lifestyle changes.


9 ways to relieve acid reflux without medication


Image: Bigstock

A few lifestyle changes are worth trying before resorting to drugs for controlling gastroesophageal reflux.

If you are sounding a little hoarse and have a sore throat, you may be bracing for a cold or a bout of the flu. But if you've had these symptoms for a while, they might be caused not by a virus but by a valve—your lower esophageal sphincter. That's the muscle that controls the passage between the esophagus and stomach, and when it doesn't close completely, stomach acid and food flow back into the esophagus. The medical term for this process is gastroesophageal reflux the backward flow of acid is called acid reflux.

Acid reflux can cause sore throats and hoarseness and may literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. When acid reflux produces chronic symptoms, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD. The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn—pain in the upper abdomen and chest that sometimes feel like you’re having a heart attack.

Three conditions—poor clearance of food or acid from the esophagus, too much acid in the stomach, and delayed stomach emptying—contribute to acid reflux, says Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of A Woman's Guide to a Healthy Stomach: Taking Control of Your Digestive Health.

If you've been having repeated episodes of heartburn—or any other symptoms of acid reflux—you might try the following:

1. Eat sparingly and slowly

When the stomach is very full, there can be more reflux into the esophagus. If it fits into your schedule, you may want to try what is sometimes called "grazing"—eating small meals more frequently rather than three large meals daily.

2. Avoid certain foods

People with acid reflux were once instructed to eliminate all but the blandest foods from their diets. But that's no longer the case. "We've evolved from the days when you couldn't eat anything," Dr. Wolf says. But there are still some foods that are more likely than others to trigger reflux, including mint, fatty foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, onions, garlic, coffee, tea, chocolate, and alcohol. If you eat any of these foods regularly, you might try eliminating them to see if doing so controls your reflux, and then try adding them back one by one. The Foodicine Health website at www.foodicinehealth.org has diet tips for people with acid reflux and GERD as well as for other gastrointestinal disorders.

3. Don't drink carbonated beverages

They make you burp, which sends acid into the esophagus. Drink flat water instead of sparkling water.

4. Stay up after eating

When you're standing, or even sitting, gravity alone helps keeps acid in the stomach, where it belongs. Finish eating three hours before you go to bed. This means no naps after lunch, and no late suppers or midnight snacks.

5. Don't move too fast

Avoid vigorous exercise for a couple of hours after eating. An after-dinner stroll is fine, but a more strenuous workout, especially if it involves bending over, can send acid into your esophagus.

6. Sleep on an incline

Ideally, your head should be 6 to 8 inches higher than your feet. You can achieve this by using "extra-tall" bed risers on the legs supporting the head of your bed. If your sleeping partner objects to this change, try using a foam wedge support for your upper body. Don't try to create a wedge by stacking pillows. They won't provide the uniform support you need.

7. Lose weight if it's advised

Increased weight spreads the muscular structure that supports the lower esophageal sphincter, decreasing the pressure that holds the sphincter closed. This leads to reflux and heartburn.

8. If you smoke, quit

Nicotine may relax the lower esophageal sphincter.

9. Check your medications

Some—including postmenopausal estrogen, tricyclic antidepressants, and anti-inflammatory painkillers—can relax the sphincter, while others—particularly bisphosphonates like alendronate (Fosamax), ibandronate (Boniva), or risedronate (Actonel), which are taken to increase bone density—can irritate the esophagus.

If these steps aren't effective or if you have severe pain or difficulty swallowing, see your doctor to rule out other causes. You may also need medication to control reflux even as you pursue lifestyle changes.


9 ways to relieve acid reflux without medication


Image: Bigstock

A few lifestyle changes are worth trying before resorting to drugs for controlling gastroesophageal reflux.

If you are sounding a little hoarse and have a sore throat, you may be bracing for a cold or a bout of the flu. But if you've had these symptoms for a while, they might be caused not by a virus but by a valve—your lower esophageal sphincter. That's the muscle that controls the passage between the esophagus and stomach, and when it doesn't close completely, stomach acid and food flow back into the esophagus. The medical term for this process is gastroesophageal reflux the backward flow of acid is called acid reflux.

Acid reflux can cause sore throats and hoarseness and may literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. When acid reflux produces chronic symptoms, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD. The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn—pain in the upper abdomen and chest that sometimes feel like you’re having a heart attack.

Three conditions—poor clearance of food or acid from the esophagus, too much acid in the stomach, and delayed stomach emptying—contribute to acid reflux, says Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of A Woman's Guide to a Healthy Stomach: Taking Control of Your Digestive Health.

If you've been having repeated episodes of heartburn—or any other symptoms of acid reflux—you might try the following:

1. Eat sparingly and slowly

When the stomach is very full, there can be more reflux into the esophagus. If it fits into your schedule, you may want to try what is sometimes called "grazing"—eating small meals more frequently rather than three large meals daily.

2. Avoid certain foods

People with acid reflux were once instructed to eliminate all but the blandest foods from their diets. But that's no longer the case. "We've evolved from the days when you couldn't eat anything," Dr. Wolf says. But there are still some foods that are more likely than others to trigger reflux, including mint, fatty foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, onions, garlic, coffee, tea, chocolate, and alcohol. If you eat any of these foods regularly, you might try eliminating them to see if doing so controls your reflux, and then try adding them back one by one. The Foodicine Health website at www.foodicinehealth.org has diet tips for people with acid reflux and GERD as well as for other gastrointestinal disorders.

3. Don't drink carbonated beverages

They make you burp, which sends acid into the esophagus. Drink flat water instead of sparkling water.

4. Stay up after eating

When you're standing, or even sitting, gravity alone helps keeps acid in the stomach, where it belongs. Finish eating three hours before you go to bed. This means no naps after lunch, and no late suppers or midnight snacks.

5. Don't move too fast

Avoid vigorous exercise for a couple of hours after eating. An after-dinner stroll is fine, but a more strenuous workout, especially if it involves bending over, can send acid into your esophagus.

6. Sleep on an incline

Ideally, your head should be 6 to 8 inches higher than your feet. You can achieve this by using "extra-tall" bed risers on the legs supporting the head of your bed. If your sleeping partner objects to this change, try using a foam wedge support for your upper body. Don't try to create a wedge by stacking pillows. They won't provide the uniform support you need.

7. Lose weight if it's advised

Increased weight spreads the muscular structure that supports the lower esophageal sphincter, decreasing the pressure that holds the sphincter closed. This leads to reflux and heartburn.

8. If you smoke, quit

Nicotine may relax the lower esophageal sphincter.

9. Check your medications

Some—including postmenopausal estrogen, tricyclic antidepressants, and anti-inflammatory painkillers—can relax the sphincter, while others—particularly bisphosphonates like alendronate (Fosamax), ibandronate (Boniva), or risedronate (Actonel), which are taken to increase bone density—can irritate the esophagus.

If these steps aren't effective or if you have severe pain or difficulty swallowing, see your doctor to rule out other causes. You may also need medication to control reflux even as you pursue lifestyle changes.


9 ways to relieve acid reflux without medication


Image: Bigstock

A few lifestyle changes are worth trying before resorting to drugs for controlling gastroesophageal reflux.

If you are sounding a little hoarse and have a sore throat, you may be bracing for a cold or a bout of the flu. But if you've had these symptoms for a while, they might be caused not by a virus but by a valve—your lower esophageal sphincter. That's the muscle that controls the passage between the esophagus and stomach, and when it doesn't close completely, stomach acid and food flow back into the esophagus. The medical term for this process is gastroesophageal reflux the backward flow of acid is called acid reflux.

Acid reflux can cause sore throats and hoarseness and may literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. When acid reflux produces chronic symptoms, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD. The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn—pain in the upper abdomen and chest that sometimes feel like you’re having a heart attack.

Three conditions—poor clearance of food or acid from the esophagus, too much acid in the stomach, and delayed stomach emptying—contribute to acid reflux, says Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of A Woman's Guide to a Healthy Stomach: Taking Control of Your Digestive Health.

If you've been having repeated episodes of heartburn—or any other symptoms of acid reflux—you might try the following:

1. Eat sparingly and slowly

When the stomach is very full, there can be more reflux into the esophagus. If it fits into your schedule, you may want to try what is sometimes called "grazing"—eating small meals more frequently rather than three large meals daily.

2. Avoid certain foods

People with acid reflux were once instructed to eliminate all but the blandest foods from their diets. But that's no longer the case. "We've evolved from the days when you couldn't eat anything," Dr. Wolf says. But there are still some foods that are more likely than others to trigger reflux, including mint, fatty foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, onions, garlic, coffee, tea, chocolate, and alcohol. If you eat any of these foods regularly, you might try eliminating them to see if doing so controls your reflux, and then try adding them back one by one. The Foodicine Health website at www.foodicinehealth.org has diet tips for people with acid reflux and GERD as well as for other gastrointestinal disorders.

3. Don't drink carbonated beverages

They make you burp, which sends acid into the esophagus. Drink flat water instead of sparkling water.

4. Stay up after eating

When you're standing, or even sitting, gravity alone helps keeps acid in the stomach, where it belongs. Finish eating three hours before you go to bed. This means no naps after lunch, and no late suppers or midnight snacks.

5. Don't move too fast

Avoid vigorous exercise for a couple of hours after eating. An after-dinner stroll is fine, but a more strenuous workout, especially if it involves bending over, can send acid into your esophagus.

6. Sleep on an incline

Ideally, your head should be 6 to 8 inches higher than your feet. You can achieve this by using "extra-tall" bed risers on the legs supporting the head of your bed. If your sleeping partner objects to this change, try using a foam wedge support for your upper body. Don't try to create a wedge by stacking pillows. They won't provide the uniform support you need.

7. Lose weight if it's advised

Increased weight spreads the muscular structure that supports the lower esophageal sphincter, decreasing the pressure that holds the sphincter closed. This leads to reflux and heartburn.

8. If you smoke, quit

Nicotine may relax the lower esophageal sphincter.

9. Check your medications

Some—including postmenopausal estrogen, tricyclic antidepressants, and anti-inflammatory painkillers—can relax the sphincter, while others—particularly bisphosphonates like alendronate (Fosamax), ibandronate (Boniva), or risedronate (Actonel), which are taken to increase bone density—can irritate the esophagus.

If these steps aren't effective or if you have severe pain or difficulty swallowing, see your doctor to rule out other causes. You may also need medication to control reflux even as you pursue lifestyle changes.


9 ways to relieve acid reflux without medication


Image: Bigstock

A few lifestyle changes are worth trying before resorting to drugs for controlling gastroesophageal reflux.

If you are sounding a little hoarse and have a sore throat, you may be bracing for a cold or a bout of the flu. But if you've had these symptoms for a while, they might be caused not by a virus but by a valve—your lower esophageal sphincter. That's the muscle that controls the passage between the esophagus and stomach, and when it doesn't close completely, stomach acid and food flow back into the esophagus. The medical term for this process is gastroesophageal reflux the backward flow of acid is called acid reflux.

Acid reflux can cause sore throats and hoarseness and may literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. When acid reflux produces chronic symptoms, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD. The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn—pain in the upper abdomen and chest that sometimes feel like you’re having a heart attack.

Three conditions—poor clearance of food or acid from the esophagus, too much acid in the stomach, and delayed stomach emptying—contribute to acid reflux, says Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of A Woman's Guide to a Healthy Stomach: Taking Control of Your Digestive Health.

If you've been having repeated episodes of heartburn—or any other symptoms of acid reflux—you might try the following:

1. Eat sparingly and slowly

When the stomach is very full, there can be more reflux into the esophagus. If it fits into your schedule, you may want to try what is sometimes called "grazing"—eating small meals more frequently rather than three large meals daily.

2. Avoid certain foods

People with acid reflux were once instructed to eliminate all but the blandest foods from their diets. But that's no longer the case. "We've evolved from the days when you couldn't eat anything," Dr. Wolf says. But there are still some foods that are more likely than others to trigger reflux, including mint, fatty foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, onions, garlic, coffee, tea, chocolate, and alcohol. If you eat any of these foods regularly, you might try eliminating them to see if doing so controls your reflux, and then try adding them back one by one. The Foodicine Health website at www.foodicinehealth.org has diet tips for people with acid reflux and GERD as well as for other gastrointestinal disorders.

3. Don't drink carbonated beverages

They make you burp, which sends acid into the esophagus. Drink flat water instead of sparkling water.

4. Stay up after eating

When you're standing, or even sitting, gravity alone helps keeps acid in the stomach, where it belongs. Finish eating three hours before you go to bed. This means no naps after lunch, and no late suppers or midnight snacks.

5. Don't move too fast

Avoid vigorous exercise for a couple of hours after eating. An after-dinner stroll is fine, but a more strenuous workout, especially if it involves bending over, can send acid into your esophagus.

6. Sleep on an incline

Ideally, your head should be 6 to 8 inches higher than your feet. You can achieve this by using "extra-tall" bed risers on the legs supporting the head of your bed. If your sleeping partner objects to this change, try using a foam wedge support for your upper body. Don't try to create a wedge by stacking pillows. They won't provide the uniform support you need.

7. Lose weight if it's advised

Increased weight spreads the muscular structure that supports the lower esophageal sphincter, decreasing the pressure that holds the sphincter closed. This leads to reflux and heartburn.

8. If you smoke, quit

Nicotine may relax the lower esophageal sphincter.

9. Check your medications

Some—including postmenopausal estrogen, tricyclic antidepressants, and anti-inflammatory painkillers—can relax the sphincter, while others—particularly bisphosphonates like alendronate (Fosamax), ibandronate (Boniva), or risedronate (Actonel), which are taken to increase bone density—can irritate the esophagus.

If these steps aren't effective or if you have severe pain or difficulty swallowing, see your doctor to rule out other causes. You may also need medication to control reflux even as you pursue lifestyle changes.


9 ways to relieve acid reflux without medication


Image: Bigstock

A few lifestyle changes are worth trying before resorting to drugs for controlling gastroesophageal reflux.

If you are sounding a little hoarse and have a sore throat, you may be bracing for a cold or a bout of the flu. But if you've had these symptoms for a while, they might be caused not by a virus but by a valve—your lower esophageal sphincter. That's the muscle that controls the passage between the esophagus and stomach, and when it doesn't close completely, stomach acid and food flow back into the esophagus. The medical term for this process is gastroesophageal reflux the backward flow of acid is called acid reflux.

Acid reflux can cause sore throats and hoarseness and may literally leave a bad taste in your mouth. When acid reflux produces chronic symptoms, it is known as gastroesophageal reflux disorder, or GERD. The most common symptom of GERD is heartburn—pain in the upper abdomen and chest that sometimes feel like you’re having a heart attack.

Three conditions—poor clearance of food or acid from the esophagus, too much acid in the stomach, and delayed stomach emptying—contribute to acid reflux, says Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and author of A Woman's Guide to a Healthy Stomach: Taking Control of Your Digestive Health.

If you've been having repeated episodes of heartburn—or any other symptoms of acid reflux—you might try the following:

1. Eat sparingly and slowly

When the stomach is very full, there can be more reflux into the esophagus. If it fits into your schedule, you may want to try what is sometimes called "grazing"—eating small meals more frequently rather than three large meals daily.

2. Avoid certain foods

People with acid reflux were once instructed to eliminate all but the blandest foods from their diets. But that's no longer the case. "We've evolved from the days when you couldn't eat anything," Dr. Wolf says. But there are still some foods that are more likely than others to trigger reflux, including mint, fatty foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, onions, garlic, coffee, tea, chocolate, and alcohol. If you eat any of these foods regularly, you might try eliminating them to see if doing so controls your reflux, and then try adding them back one by one. The Foodicine Health website at www.foodicinehealth.org has diet tips for people with acid reflux and GERD as well as for other gastrointestinal disorders.

3. Don't drink carbonated beverages

They make you burp, which sends acid into the esophagus. Drink flat water instead of sparkling water.

4. Stay up after eating

When you're standing, or even sitting, gravity alone helps keeps acid in the stomach, where it belongs. Finish eating three hours before you go to bed. This means no naps after lunch, and no late suppers or midnight snacks.

5. Don't move too fast

Avoid vigorous exercise for a couple of hours after eating. An after-dinner stroll is fine, but a more strenuous workout, especially if it involves bending over, can send acid into your esophagus.

6. Sleep on an incline

Ideally, your head should be 6 to 8 inches higher than your feet. You can achieve this by using "extra-tall" bed risers on the legs supporting the head of your bed. If your sleeping partner objects to this change, try using a foam wedge support for your upper body. Don't try to create a wedge by stacking pillows. They won't provide the uniform support you need.

7. Lose weight if it's advised

Increased weight spreads the muscular structure that supports the lower esophageal sphincter, decreasing the pressure that holds the sphincter closed. This leads to reflux and heartburn.

8. If you smoke, quit

Nicotine may relax the lower esophageal sphincter.

9. Check your medications

Some—including postmenopausal estrogen, tricyclic antidepressants, and anti-inflammatory painkillers—can relax the sphincter, while others—particularly bisphosphonates like alendronate (Fosamax), ibandronate (Boniva), or risedronate (Actonel), which are taken to increase bone density—can irritate the esophagus.

If these steps aren't effective or if you have severe pain or difficulty swallowing, see your doctor to rule out other causes. You may also need medication to control reflux even as you pursue lifestyle changes.