Effective Tips for Heartburn Prevention
07. 17. 2017
While medications are sometimes necessary to control the occurrence of acid reflux, they are not the only effective treatment option. Before considering over-the-counter or prescription medications to manage your digestive symptoms, consider making some of these lifestyle changes that can naturally prevent heartburn.
- Monitor your diet – One study found that 44 percent of patients with symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) noticed improvements after making dietary changes (Source: The New York Times). Eat a high-fiber, low-fat diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. Avoid common heartburn triggers such as tomatoes, onions, peppers, citrus, chocolate and foods that are fried or spicy. Limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol, which are known to aggravate reflux.
- Change your eating habits – Overeating and eating too quickly are two major heartburn contributors. Monitor your portion sizes and take your time eating during meals. Eating slowly will give your brain time to realize when your stomach is full and help prevent overeating.
- Lose excess weight – When it comes to heartburn, losing even a few extra pounds can make a big difference. A Nurse’s Health Study found that 10 to 20 pounds of weight gain was associated with a threefold increase of reflux symptoms. However, researchers discovered that weight loss reduced the risk of heartburn by up to 40 percent.
- Review your medications – Some medications and supplements are known to irritate the esophagus and cause heartburn. If you suspect that one of your medications may be responsible for your digestive issues, ask your doctor about alternatives that will not cause reflux.
- Allow adequate time for digestion – Lying down or exercising too soon after eating can lead to heartburn and regurgitation. Try to give food at least two to three hours to digest before your workout, and avoid late-night snacking.
- Elevate your body when sleeping – Over half of heartburn sufferers also experience symptoms at night. Counteract nighttime symptoms by elevating the head of your bed with six-inch blocks or raising your upper body with a wedge-shaped pillow.