Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can wreak havoc on your body and ruin a food-filled celebration. While there are very successful medical treatments for GERD, many times you can actually prevent GERD from happening in the first place:
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals. A full stomach can put extra pressure on the esophageal area, which will increase the chance that some of this food will reflux into the esophagus.
- Limit your intake of acid-stimulating foods and beverages. Many foods such as citrus juices, onions and high-fat red meats can cause your body to produce more acid, while safer foods such as apples, whole grains and low-fat white meats are better for you.
- Don’t go to bed with a full stomach. Having your last meal at least two to three hours before bedtime allows your body to digest foods and results in acid levels going down before you call it a night.
- Maintain a reasonable weight. Obesity increases abdominal pressure, which can then push stomach contents up into the esophagus. Even a 10 percent decrease in body weight can do wonders for preventing GERD.
- Quit smoking. Smoking also stimulates the production of stomach acid and can cause muscles in the esophageal area to relax, causing GERD. If you smoke, speak with your provider about proven ways to quit the habit.
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can irritate the lining of your stomach and cause overproduction of stomach acids. If you suffer from GERD, consider eliminating alcohol from your diet and drink water, which reduces symptoms of GERD.
- Keep a heartburn record. Record what triggered your acid reflux episodes, the severity of each episode, how your body reacts and what gives you relief. You can take this list to your provider to help develop a plan for managing GERD, so you can enjoy food and activities without the burn.
Are you curious what causes GERD and how different foods affect Gastric Gayle? Play Reflux: The Food Impact Game, an interactive game that can help you make the right food decisions.
This article originally ran in Team Medicine NewsFlash.