Q. Are there natural remedies for acid reflux?
Acid reflux is commonly known as GERD which is an acronym for Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease. Several things you can do will help without taking medications. Eat slowly, never overeat, and drink some hot water about an hour before each meal. Don’t drink anything with a meal, or immediately after a meal as this overfilling the stomach before and right after the meal will put intra-abdominal pressure on the upper sphincter of the esophagus. Also the type of food one chooses is very important. Low fiber, high fat diets tend to reflux more because they stay in the stomach longer and also cause more acid build up in the stomach. A high fat diet would include cheese, meat, and dairy products, but also includes vegetable oil. So eating greasy foods like chips, fried foods or oils in dressings will increase GERD. Here is a bullet list of things you can do.
Lifestyle change suggestions for helping to alleviate the GERD:
- It’s best to cut down amount of food you eat with each meal, thus limiting calories and taking pressure off the hiatal hernia area, and is the cornerstone for weight loss.
- After you eat, wait 2 to 3 hours before you lie down. Late-night snacks aren’t a good idea.
- Chocolate, mint, and alcohol can make GERD worse. They relax the valve between the esophagus and the stomach.
- Spicy foods, foods that have a lot of acid (like tomatoes and oranges), and coffee can make GERD symptoms worse in some people. If your symptoms are worse after you eat a certain food, you may want to stop eating that food to see if your symptoms get better. Raw onions may make GERD worse by relaxing the sphincter.
- Do not smoke or chew tobacco.
- If you get heartburn at night, raise the head of your bed 6 in. (15 cm) to 8 in. (20 cm) by putting the frame on blocks or placing a foam wedge under the head of your mattress. (Adding extra pillows does not work.)
- Do not wear tight clothing around your middle. Suspenders take pressure off the diaphragm and place the pressure on the shoulders.
- Lose weight if you need to. Losing just 5 to 10 pounds can help.