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Your doctor will always be the best resource for strategies to tackle reflux. Have your symptoms been evaluated by a professional? Use our physician finder to locate a Restech provider near you.
In the meantime, here are some simple dietary and lifestyle modifications for reflux that can make a world of difference.
1. Replace acidic foods with less acidic alternatives. Moderate your intake of chocolate, sugar, fat, coffee, carbonated beverages, and alcoholic drinks. Eat more foods with high dietary fiber to increase gastric emptying and reduce acid exposure.
2. Avoid highly spicy foods. Spicy foods may irritate the stomach and esophageal linings.
3. Pay attention to WHAT and WHEN you eat. That delicious snack that gives you an energy boost during the day might keep you up all night… for the wrong reasons. Plan your last meal of the day to be at least 3 hours before lying down.
4. The amount of food you eat and how you eat it can be just as important as what you eat! Plan your portions in advance, chew your food thoroughly before swallowing, and avoid overeating.
5. Sleep on your left side. The shape of the stomach allows it to carry contents better on the left side and can play a significant role in mitigating your reflux.
6. Raise the head of your bed 6-8 inches. Place a couple of bricks under the bedposts at the head of the bed or a wedge under your mattress. This simple step can increase acid clearance and make a noticeable difference while you sleep.
7. Get enough sleep. Adequate sleep helps the body keep the appetite-regulating hormones balanced. These hormones keep our hunger in check, helping us eat proper amounts, and suppressing cravings for unhealthy snacks or caffeine. Sleep may also improve your mood and your reflux symptoms.
8. Exercise regularly! Most of us agree that we should get more exercise. Obesity affects the esophagogastric joint, which plays a role in reflux. Regular exercise at a moderate intensity will help shed extra weight. For many reflux sufferers, dropping just a few pounds can be life changing!
9. Don’t smoke. We all know that smoking carries a variety of health risks, but did you know that it can contribute to reflux as well? Nicotine relaxes the esophageal sphincters allowing acid to backflow from the stomach. The body also produces less saliva which results in less acid clearance. Cutting back or quitting smoking can significantly benefit your reflux and overall health.
10. Don’t view your reflux in isolation. Treating reflux is only one piece of the “healthier you” pie!
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Martinucci I, De Bortoli N, Savarino E, et al. Optimal Treatment of Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Disease. Ther Adv Chronic Dis. 2013 Nov; 4(6): 287–301.
Scott DR, Simon RA. Supraesophageal Reflux: Correlation of Position and Occurrence of Acid Reflux–Effect of Head-of-Bed Elevation on Supine Reflux. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice. 2015;3(3):356-361.