4 ways to alleviate GERD and the symptons of acid reflux – Daily News

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If you experience heartburn, a burning sensation in your chest or throat that worsens after meals or when lying down, you may be suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This occurs when the sphincter or valve between the esophagus and the stomach allows stomach contents to leak into the esophagus. GERD is very uncomfortable and over time can cause serious irritation and damage. Making healthy changes to your eating habits may help improve your symptoms and with time may even reverse GERD altogether.

GERD is quite common with nearly 15 million Americans experiencing it daily. While GERD can happen in people of all ages, it is more common in people who smoke, are overweight or have a hiatal hernia (a stomach abnormality) as well as during pregnancy.

Know Common GERD Trigger Foods

Everybody is different, so there is not one universal list of foods that are allowed and disallowed for GERD. However, there are some common foods that seem to worsen GERD symptoms for most sufferers. These foods include tomatoes, citrus fruit, spicy foods, chocolate, garlic, onions, caffeinated beverages and peppermint. It may be helpful to keep a food log to help identify one’s own trigger foods to avoid.

Optimize Meal Timing

Timing of meals and portion sizes can have an impact on GERD symptoms. Because large meals that take up more space in the stomach can trigger GERD symptoms, eating smaller meals can be beneficial. If you typically eat large meals, aim to consume three smaller meals and one or two healthy snacks spaced throughout the day. It’s best to avoid waiting until you get very hungry to eat, which can make it more difficult to adhere to smaller portions. Also, since symptoms worsen when lying down, avoiding eating three hours before bed to allow food to be digested properly.

Minimize Excess Pressure

In some cases, extra weight that has piled on over recent years may contribute to worsen GERD symptoms. In addition, tight clothing, belts and even certain exercises that place pressure on the abdominal region can trigger heartburn. Although weight loss may be an important part of a lifestyle approach to treating GERD, workouts and exercise clothing may cause serious discomfort. Lightening the load by wearing loose clothing and finding the right type of exercise for your body can help alleviate symptoms while supporting goals to be active.

Avoid High-Fat Meals

Fried foods and high-fat meals can relax the lower esophageal sphincter while slowing the emptying of the stomach into the intestines, increasing the likelihood of heartburn to occur. It can be helpful to reduce the overall amount of fat in your daily diet.

You can consume less fat by using low-fat cooking methods like baking, steaming and grilling. Choose lean proteins like chicken breast, turkey breast and fish. Also, many foods like whole grains, veggies and beans are naturally low in fat, but added sauces, dressings and spreads can spike up their fat content. Aim for light meals that are flavored with herbs and mild spices to keep fat intake in check.

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