Acid reflux or GERD is more than occasional heartburn or indigestion. In fact, some people with acid reflux never even experience heartburn. Some symptoms of acid reflux include:
• Bitter stomach fluid coming into the mouth, especially during sleep.
• Repeatedly feeling a need to clear your throat.
• Difficulty swallowing food or liquid.
• Wheezing or coughing at night.
• Worsening of symptoms after eating, or when bending over or lying down.
Obviously, you should avoid spicy foods and any food that bothers you. Below are a few more things that will help tremendously.
• Don't lie down until at least 3 hours after eating.
• Sleep with your head at least 8" higher than your stomach to let gravity help keep stomach acids from coming up into your esophagus. Using a wedge pillow makes this very easy.
• Don't bend over or do exercises until long after eating.
• Eat 6 small meals instead of 3 large meals.
• Don't drink carbonated beverages.
• Cut out fatty foods (they increase the time food remains in the stomach).
• Quit smoking (nicotine relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter (LES)).
• Cut out chocolate (it relaxes the LES).
• Don't drink alcoholic beverages (alcohol relaxes the LES).
• Eliminate caffeine (it relaxes the LES).
• Eat properly so you don't develop constipation - that pushing will also push food or stomach acids upward.
• Lying on your left side can help relieve heartburn by keeping the stomach below the esophagus and acid-free.
• Avoid stress and anger.
• Mix 1 tablespoon of natural apple cider vinegar in a glass of water, and sip this during your meal.
• Yogurt contains beneficial digestive bacteria, as do probiotic acidophilus capsules, chewable acidophilus, and Liquid Acidophilus.
• Eat dried figs, fresh pineapple*, and dried or fresh papaya. These foods are loaded with digestive enzymes. Or you could take digestive enzymes in capsule form. * Pineapple will help most people, and it bothers some - if it bothers you, eliminate it from your diet.
Note: Peppermint candy, tea, or essential oil will soothe an upset stomach, relax the body and so aid in digestion, and relax muscles to allow the body to get rid of gas. But, peppermint should not be taken if you have acid reflux or GERD because it relaxes and weakens the LES. When the LES is relaxed, food and liquid are allowed to come back up.
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