What is Acid Reflux?
When acid from your stomach moves up into your esophagus it’s known as acid reflux. Acid reflux can cause a painful burning sensation in your throat or chest. The American College of Gastroenterology, says that more than 60 million Americans have heartburn symptoms at least once a month. However, your body was designed to prevent this from happening.
At the entrance of your stomach is a ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter, or (LES). Your LES is designed to help keep stomach acid in the stomach. However, if your (LES) muscle doesn’t close all the way, becomes weak or opens too frequently acid can find it’s way up into your esophagus.
Over the counter medications are available and designed to help reduce the symptoms of acid reflux however you may prefer more natural options which include preventative measures and simple lifestyle changes.
Natural Options to Reduce Acid Reflux
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise can help reduce symptoms of acid reflux. The reason is increased pressure on your stomach can weaken your LES muscle allowing acid to leave the stomach.
Avoid Drinking Alcohol and Smoking
Drinking alcohol, carbonated drinks and smoking can cause your LES muscle to relax and increase your risk for stomach acid leaking into your esophagus.
Avoid Trigger Foods
Sitting down to consume large amounts of fatty foods or spicy foods can result in your stomach taking longer to get rid of acid. As a result, excess acid may leak into your esophagus.  Additionally, avoiding other known “trigger” foods, like those listed below, may help prevent or reduce the severity of your acid reflux.
- citrus fruits
- garlic and onions
- tomatoes and tomato products
Avoid Drinking or Eating before Bed
When you’re about to lay down or go to bed avoid consuming food or beverages. Lying down causes your stomach to change position so that more acid is exposed to your LES.
Slow Down and Chew Your Food
Christopher Maloney, a recommends slowing down when you eat and thoroughly chewing your food. While this may sound too simple to be effective he explains that it works because…
“…It slows digestion and dilutes the acid, while mixing in the saliva enzymes thoroughly and breaking the food into much smaller pieces. All of this should increase the speed of gastric emptying.”
Hypnosis, massage, and other relaxation techniques may also help reduce symptoms of acid reflux because stress is often something that makes symptoms worse.
By making lifestyle changes and watching what you eat, you may be able to manage your acid reflux without the need for medications. Consult with your doctor and take steps today to start feeling better.