How To Deal With Acid Reflux
The childhood admonition to refrain from swimming for an hour after eating, ostensibly to avoid cramps, is not nearly long enough for us anymore. We now have to wait at least two hours before attempting any vigorous activity, or chores that involve bending over, to avoid the miserable sensation of acid reflux, commonly recognized by its frequent symptom of heartburn.
How To Deal With Acid Reflux
How common is acid reflux?
Acid reflux is among the most frequent health complaints of American adults and may have become even more common in the wake of pandemic-related stress and weight gain. Late last year, pharmacies reported an unprecedented run on antacids by people described as having a “pandemic stomach,” leaving those with serious ailments that required such products often out of luck.
Even before the pandemic, an online survey from 2019 of more than 71,000 adults found that nearly a third reported that they were affected at least weekly by the discomforting symptoms of acid reflux, in which a small amount of stomach contents reverses course and backs up into the oesophagus.
5 ways to reduce your reflux risk
- Maintain healthy body weight.
Researchers found that GERD affected about 22 per cent of people who were classified as obese, compared with about 14 per cent of those who were not obese. After you eat, a muscular sphincter at the bottom of the oesophagus opens to let food enter the stomach, and then closes to keep it from reversing direction. An oversized abdomen can put excess pressure on this sphincter and may prevent it from closing when it should, allowing contents from the acidic stomach to leach into the oesophagus.
- Don’t smoke.
Researchers found that tobacco can extend the time it takes for acidic foods to leave the oesophagus. In an analysis of 30 studies, GERD affected about 20 per cent of smokers, compared with about 16 per cent of nonsmokers.
Those who engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day were less likely to develop symptoms of GERD, the Harvard team reported.
- Cut down on coffee, tea and soda.
The risk of GERD was reduced among those who consumed no more than two cups of coffee, tea or soda each day.
- Follow a heart-healthy diet.
Those who followed a Mediterranean-style diet, for example, featuring fruits and vegetables, legumes, fish, poultry and whole grains, but little or no red meat and other sources of saturated fats were less likely to develop acid reflux.
Genetics can also affect one’s risk of developing acid reflux, so people with a family history of the problem would do best to avoid the risks highlighted above. Doing so will also help protect against leading killers like heart disease, diabetes and many forms of cancer.
How to manage symptoms
If you already have acid reflux, there’s much you can do to minimize symptoms and perhaps avoid them entirely. Instead of consuming large meals, eat smaller ones more often. Minimize fatty foods and skip fried and fast foods entirely. A friend uses an air fryer to achieve a crispy skin-on chicken, but I prefer grilled chicken and skip the skin. Choose lean meats (if you eat meat) and low-fat or nonfat dairy products, and avoid eating within three hours of bedtime. Also, try sleeping as if on a recliner, with the head of the bed propped higher than the foot.
Break the Newz.