Conquering Reflux: Dietary and Lifestyle Strategies for Relief Admin February 7, 2024

Conquering Reflux: Dietary and Lifestyle Strategies for Relief

What is Acid Reflux?

Commonly known as heartburn, reflux or GERD (Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease) occurs when the stomach acid is backed up back into the throat. This will cause an uncomfortable burning sensation in the throat and chest. Frequent heartburn episodes need to be treated as they will cause damage to the lining of the oesophagus. Below are some helpful lifestyle and dietary changes. Consult with your doctor if symptoms persist.

What are the symptoms of reflux?

Other than heartburn, common symptoms include, coughing, regurgitation, chest pain, hoarseness, sore throat and vomiting. If you experience such symptoms, it is best to follow up with your doctor and follow the best treatment for your case.   

Who is most at risk of developing reflux?

People most at risk of developing reflux are people who are above the age of 40, people who carry excess weight and people who smoke. Reflux is also common during pregnancy due to the changes in hormones that occurs during this period. Sometimes, also, regardless of these factors, some medications do cause reflux problems.

What foods are known to cause reflux?

It is best to avoid foods known to exacerbate heartburn, these include: spices (black pepper, cayenne and chili) citrus fruits (lemons, oranges, pomelo, grapefruit, lime) tomato paste and tomato juice, onion and garlic, peppermint, chocolate, caffeine (tea, coffee) and carbonated beverages. As with other GI symptoms it is best to keep a food log and note any food that may cause discomfort, this will help tailor the meal plan for you specifically.  

What are the dietary recommendations to manage reflux?

Other than avoiding culprit foods, it is recommended to avoid large meals along with high calorie, high fat meals. Opt for small frequent meals and follow a low-fat diet. This includes choosing low fat dairy products, legumes more often, removing visible fat parts from meat and skin from poultry. Aim for a healthy weight, as an increase in weight, especially around the waist area is known to cause reflux.

What are the non-dietary recommendations to manage reflux?

Ways to better manage reflux, include avoid lying down 2-3 hours after eating, using pillows and raising the head 20cm when sleeping, try sleeping on the left side. Do not wear tight fitting clothes especially around the waist area. Abstain from smoking. Engage in daily physical activity as this also helps in managing reflux symptoms.

Are there specific foods that alleviate reflux?

High fibre foods such as whole grains and legumes, low PH foods such as bananas and cauliflower along with water containing foods such as cucumber, celery, watermelon and lettuce are all considered “safe” foods.

What herbal supplements can help when experiencing reflux?

A ginger infusion can help ease reflux symptoms as ginger has anti-inflammatory properties. Adding a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to your glass of water can also help in relieving reflux. These remedies may improve symptoms, however they are not meant to be a treatment for chronic reflux problems.

Managing acid reflux involves a combination of dietary and lifestyle adjustments. Avoiding foods that trigger symptoms, opting for smaller, low-fat meals, and implementing practices like not lying down after eating and sleeping with an elevated head can alleviate discomfort. Herbal remedies like ginger infusions or apple cider vinegar may offer temporary relief. For persistent or severe symptoms, consulting a healthcare professional is crucial to prevent damage to the esophagus and ensure appropriate treatment.

The Nutrition Department at American Wellness Center focuses on addressing dietary factors contributing to acid reflux. Emphasizing the importance of nutrition in managing gastrointestinal symptoms, the center offers personalized dietary plans. These include avoiding trigger foods, opting for small, frequent, low-fat meals, and incorporating “safe” foods that alleviate reflux symptoms. With a holistic approach, the department integrates dietary adjustments with lifestyle recommendations to provide comprehensive care for individuals experiencing acid reflux, underlining the center’s commitment to improving overall health through tailored nutritional guidance.