8 ways to avoid heartburn and acid reflux

Do you know what the difference between heartburn and reflux is?

Acid reflux is when the contents of the stomach, which contains acid, comes back up into the esophagus. Heartburn is the symptom of reflux  – that discomforting, high pressure or burning sensation in your chest or throat. Symptoms of reflux can also include a bitter or sour taste in the back of the throat and cough.

man suffering from heartburn with his hand on his chest

Does food cause reflux and heartburn?

The cause of heartburn and acid reflux is actually unknown. But some foods can make reflux worse. Eating large meals, eating too fast or eating too close before bed can also aggravate acid reflux and heartburn. Different foods and beverages can affect each person differently, but here are some of the most common foods you may want to avoid that can make the symptoms of reflux worse.

  • Fatty foods
  • Spicy foods
  • Coffee and cola drinks
  • Citrus foods
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Cigarettes
  • Peppermints

Can it be prevented?

Here are the best things to try to prevent reflux and heartburn.

1 – Eat smaller, more frequent meals instead of one or two big meals

This will reduce the amount of contents in your stomach to prevent it from coming back up.

two servings of meal in containers filled with vegetables and fruits with an apple and a banana on the side

2 – Eat slowly

Eating too quickly can cause digestional discomfort and overeating.

3 – Avoid the foods you know trigger acid reflux

If you know what foods cause you discomfort, then minimise the consumption of these. If you don’t know what causes it, write a food diary to see if you notice any patterns.

4 – Avoid carbonated beverages

Carbonated drinks make you burp which sends air and acid into the esophagus.

two glasses on the counter bench - one is soft drink and other is water

5 – Stay upright after eating

Gravity can help keep your acid in the stomach where it belongs. Wait about three hours after eating to give your food time to digest.

6 – Don’t eat right before bed

Lying down in bed straight after a meal can increase the chance of the acid seeping back into your esophagus. Try to have dinner earlier!

7 – Maintain a healthy weight

Extra weight can put pressure on the muscles around your esophagus making it harder to keep the acid from seeping into the esophagus.

two people running in the park with a playground in the background

8 – Quit smoking

Smoking can relax the esophagus opening into the stomach causing acid to seep into the stomach.

If heartburn is causing you severe problems and discomfort make sure you contact your GP and they will help you come up with a treatment plan.



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