Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid rises into the oesophagus and can cause an uncomfortable burning sensation in the lower chest often known as heartburn. If you struggle with acid reflux you can try these top tips and meal suggestions to try and help relieve it.
Eating smaller and more frequent meals could help your acid reflux. When you overeat, the muscle between your stomach and your oesophagus is unable to close properly meaning it can’t prevent food and stomach acid from rising back up into the oesophagus. Eating smaller meals allows this muscle to close and for your stomach to digest food properly.
Sitting still and upright while eating may benefit those who struggle with acid reflux. If you’re active when you eat, the acid your stomach produces to digest the food you’ve consumed may move around, increasing the possibility of the acid rising from your stomach into the oesophagus causing heartburn. Similarly, lying down within 3 hours of eating can cause stomach acid to rise into the chest, as gravity allows it to travel upwards and stomach acid production is at its peak in this timeframe.
You may also find that wearing tight clothing around your stomach when eating can cause acid reflux as it can force food upwards and make it difficult for the stomach to digest food properly.
Did you know that certain foods can trigger acid reflux? Fried or greasy food and high-fat meats can cause the valve between your stomach and oesophagus to relax meaning acid from your stomach can leak up into the oesophagus. Caffeinated drinks and alcohol can also stimulate excess acid production.
Lean meats, for example, chicken, turkey and fish can help reduce symptoms of acid reflux because they are low in fat. Baking or grilling these meats could possibly further reduce any acid reflux experienced. You may also find that oats help to absorb excess stomach acid and vegetables help to reduce it.
Studies show that chewing gum can reduce the acidity in your oesophagus, especially gum with bicarbonate. Chewing gum increases saliva production which may help clear the oesophagus of acid.
Peppermint is often used in chewing gum not only for flavour but it can also help to eliminate digestive discomfort. You can also take peppermint in different forms, for example, capsules or tea.
Drinking Alcohol may increase acid reflux symptoms. Try to limit your alcohol intake to help eliminate acid reflux. Alcohol increases stomach acid which relaxes the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) and limits its ability to clear acid. This is the muscle in between the oesophagus and the stomach, which when closed prevents stomach contents from rising.
Highly caffeinated drinks like coffee may increase the severity of your acid reflux, however, there are lots of alternatives, so don’t panic! Try peppermint tea, lemon and hot water or just plain water to keep yourself hydrated.
Stress can often make acid reflux worse. You can try to reduce stress by exercising or meditation to relax your mind. Yoga and pilates are great types of exercise to start with if you’re starting from zero, or even taking a walk through the park.
Being overweight can worsen acid reflux so losing weight could be the best decision if you struggle with acid reflux. This is because the pressure in your abdomen may get so high that the muscle between your stomach and oesophagus gets pushed upwards. This is called hiatus hernia.
If you are concerned about any digestion issues visit a doctor for medical advice.