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Acid reflux can be caused by many things. Being overweight or pregnant can cause pressure in the belly that leads to frequent heartburn. GERD, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, can be a pain, literally. Plus, there are those of us who have occasional acid reflux with no apparent cause. However, once you know what you can do to improve heartburn symptoms, and what you should be avoiding, you may realize that your heartburn has a cause after all.

DON’T Eat Foods That Irritate the Esophagus and Stomach

Many of the foods we eat can be irritating to the esophagus or the stomach. Acidic foods, like tomatoes and citrus, are some of the worst offenders. Caffeine is also an irritant so sodas, coffee, and even chocolate should be avoided if these foods cause acid reflux for you.

DON’T Smoke

Smoking causes your mouth to dry, which means little or no saliva production. Saliva helps to protect the esophagus from the irritation that some foods cause, as well as help the esophageal sphincter to keep stomach acids contained within the stomach. Acid reflux can be prevented if you were to quit the smoking habit.

DO Eat Protein-Rich Foods Low in Fat, and High in Fiber

The fiber and protein in your diet help to keep your digestive system on track. If you aren’t getting enough fiber in your diet, you may want to supplement it with over-the-counter products. Protein helps to limit acid production, but the protein should be lean. Be sure to watch the fat you eat as most fats, in excessive amounts, can cause acid reflux.

DO Watch How and When You Eat

It’s not just about what you eat. It is also about when you choose to eat and how you do it. Meals should be in smaller portions to prevent acid reflux as a large meal can overwhelm your stomach and cause acids to rise into the esophagus. Be sure to chew slowly when you eat so your stomach has a chance to process the intake of food. You should also pay attention to what time you eat. You should stop eating a few hours before you intend to go to sleep.

DO Lose Weight to Prevent Acid Reflux

The extra weight you carry around your middle can cause acid reflux by placing pressure on the digestive system, especially the stomach. If you choose the right diet to help prevent your acid reflux, you may also be able to lose a few pounds, which combines to help the problem.

It is possible to manage the symptoms of acid reflux through lifestyle and diet changes. However, if you’ve found that nothing you do seems to keep heartburn at bay, you will want to consult a gastrointestinal doctor. The GI Texas Center can help you prevent acid reflux.

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