Dietary tips in acid reflux treatment
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In cases of persistent heartburn, dietary improvements tends not to be enough alone.
So as well as advocating a digestion-friendly diet, your doctor is likely to recommend one or more of the following types of medication.
Antacids to neutralize the acid in your stomach; H2 blockers or proton pump inhibitors to reduce acid production; or prokinetics to strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter and expedite stomach-emptying.
However, if heartburn symptoms are mild and occur only from time to time, usually you will be advised to make the following changes to your diet.
Obesity, especially excess fat on the chest and abdomen, is a common contributory factor to GERD and hiatal hernia, and therefore to heartburn.
Choose a healthy calorie-controlled diet and customize it by following the eating tips below.
Both these factors lead to an increased risk of heartburn.
So opt for 4-6 small meals or snacks, and allow a maximum of 3 hours between eating.
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In addition, choose foods that are “easier on the stomach” and more more easily digested.
Fizzy or carbonated soft drinks cause belching and upward pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), increasing the likelihood of heartburn.
The best drinks include: water, herbal teas or diluted non-citrus fruit juices.
Also note that some soft drinks (eg. cocoa, coffee, orange juice) are not helpful for heartburn as they can over-relax the LES, thus encouraging the backward flow of acid from the stomach.
Constipation can lead to extra strain on abdominal muscles and increase the risk of heartburn.
To prevent constipation, eat more high-fiber foods such as: oats, apples, pears, dried apricots and vegetables.
When increasing fiber intake it’s also important to increase your water intake by at least 40 fl oz a day- 4 to 6 cups daily.
Alcohol is not helpful to heartburn for several reasons as it tends to irritate mucous membranes.
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