How do I prevent symptoms of GERD (chronic acid reflux)?

Here are 10 tips to help prevent GERD symptoms:

  1. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  2. Eat small, frequent meals rather than huge amounts a few times a day.
  3. Reduce fat by decreasing the amount of butter, oils, salad dressings, gravy, fatty meats and full-fat dairy products such as sour cream, cheese and whole milk.
  4. Sit upright while eating and stay upright (sitting or standing) for 45 to 60 minutes afterward.
  5. Avoid eating before bedtime. Wait at least three hours after eating to go to bed.
  6. Try not to wear clothes that are tight in the belly area. They can squeeze your stomach and push acid up into the esophagus.
  7. When sleeping, raise the head of the bed 6 to 8 inches, using wooden blocks under the bedposts. Extra pillows don’t work.
  8. Stop smoking.
  9. Your healthcare provider may prescribe acid-reducing medications. Be sure to take them as directed.
  10. Cut out possible trigger foods.

What foods should I avoid if I have GERD (chronic acid reflux)?

Adjusting your diet and eating habits play a key role in controlling the symptoms of GERD. Try to avoid the trigger foods that keep giving you heartburn.

For example, many people get heartburn from:

  • Spicy foods.
  • Fried foods.
  • Fatty (including dairy) foods.
  • Chocolate.
  • Tomato sauces.
  • Garlic and onions.
  • Alcohol, coffee and carbonated drinks.
  • Citrus fruits.

Keep a record of the trigger foods that give you trouble. Talk with your provider to get help with this. They’ll have suggestions about how to log foods and times of day you should eat.

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