Making small changes in your diet and lifestyle are the best ways to treat the symptoms that come with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Here are some tips to prevent those symptoms from getting in your way!
- Eat small meals. A large meal remains in the stomach for several hours, increasing the chances for GERD. Distribute your food intake over multiple, small meals throughout the day.
- Relax when you eat. Stress increases the amount of stomach acid produced, so try to avoid eating when you feel stressed out. During your meal times, sit down and relax. Focus on chewing completely and enjoying the meal.
- Relax between meals. Try deep breathing, meditation, massage, tai chi, or yoga between meals or throughout the day to help with your heartburn.
- Sit up! For three hours after you eat, you should try to have good posture and remain upright. For example, don’t lay down or stay bent over for elongated periods of time after eating.
- Ditch the late night munchies. Staying away from that bedtime snack can help relieve your symptoms drastically!
- Lose weight. Excess pounds increase pressure on the stomach and can push acid into the esophagus, so try to maintain a healthy BMI in order to feel better.
- Loosen up. Avoid tight belts, waistbands, and other clothing that puts pressure on your stomach.
- Quit smoking. Nicotine stimulates stomach acid and impairs the bundle of muscles at the low end of the esophagus where it meets the stomach, making your symptoms even worse.
- Chew gum. Gum increases saliva production, which pushes the acid back down to the stomach. It can even help soothe your throat!
- Wait it out. Wait at least two hours after a meal before you do any type of physical activity, giving your stomach time to empty.
~Harvard Medical School