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Home Remedies for GERD: How to Prevent Acid Reflux?

home remedies for gerd

Acid reflux occurs when acid from the stomach is forced into the esophagus. The esophagus is the pipe that takes food and drink from the mouth to the stomach. If you experience acid reflux more than twice a week, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). However, GERD can be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, such as antacids. In more serious cases, prescription drugs may be required to prevent harm to the esophagus. Although traditional medicine is the most common treatment of GERD. However, there are some home remedies for GERD that can minimize acid reflux symptoms include:

Eat Food that can Help

There is no miracle food which can cure reflux. However, some foods can help in preventing acid reflux. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends meals low in fat and high in protein (1).

Lowering dietary fat consumption will decrease your symptoms, while having enough protein and fiber can keep you full and avoid overeating. Try to add the following food items into your diet to help prevent acid reflux.

  • egg white
  • lean poultry
  • seafood
  • oatmeal

Vegetables: Vegetables are low in fat and sugar. It can help reduce acidity.

  • green beans
  • ginger
  • broccoli
  • asparagus
  • cauliflower
  • leafy greens
  • potatoes
  • cucumbers
  • non-citrus fruits

Substitute saturated fats and trans fats with such healthy fats.

  • avocado
  • walnut
  • flaxseed
  • olive oil
  • sesame oil
  • sunflower oil

You can also chew non-mint gum after each meal. This can encourage the mouth to raise saliva and keep the acid out of the esophagus.

Eat Less Food

Eating smaller meals puts fewer pressures on the stomach, which may prevent stomach acids from flowing out. You can avoid heartburn by consuming smaller quantities of food more often and consume fewer calories. Even avoiding lying down after eating is also necessary. Doing so can cause heartburn. The NIDDK suggests you should wait 3 hours after feeding. Try to keep your head high with pillows in your bed, to prevent heartburn at night.

Lose Excess Weight

Although heartburn can happen to anyone, GERD is more prevalent in obese adults. Excess weight in the abdominal area makes the stomach more pressurised. As a result, stomach acids will move back into the esophagus and cause heartburn. If you are at a good weight, then make sure you keep it with a balanced diet and daily exercise.

Avoid Wearing Tight Clothes

There is nothing wrong with wearing tight clothes, unless you have GERD symptoms. Wearing too tight clothes may increase episodes of acid reflux. This is because tight bottoms and belts can put pressure on the belly, increasing the risk of heartburn.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is one of the most prevailing cause of heartburn. Smoking affects the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES) which prevents backing up of stomach acids. When smoking weakens the LES muscles, you can experience more frequent episodes of heartburn.

Try Meditation

Yoga has significant benefits in fostering consciousness of the mind-body. If you’re not a yogi, you can even try a few minutes of guided meditation and deep breathing several times a day to calm your stress levels. Since GERD can be very stressful. The oesophageal muscles play a major role in holding stomach acid down where it belongs. Learning techniques that can relax both your body and mind can help in preventing the symptoms. If these techniques don’t give you relief, then your doctor will recommend GERD surgery.

Foods and drinks to Avoid

Some known foods and beverages can increase your risk of acid reflux. If you have GERD, you should be very cautious about things that can lead to symptoms. Try to avoid foods and drinks such as tomato sauce, and other tomato-based products, high-fat foods, fast food products, greasy foods, fried foods, citrus fruit juices, soda, caffeine, chocolate, garlic, onions, mint, and alcohol.

You can encounter fewer symptoms by restricting or avoiding these foods altogether. Often, keep a food journal to better detect food.

Potential Herbal Remedies

The following herbs have been used for GERD:

  • chamomile
  • licorice
  • marshmallow
  • slippery elm
  • Probiotics

These are available in the form of supplements, tinctures, and teas. The downside of these herbs is that there are not enough studies to show they can cure GERD. In addition, they may interfere with other medicines. Check with a doctor before managing any reflux symptom. Specific testimonials also say that herbs can be safe and effective to ease GERD symptoms. Be sure to buy supplements from a reputable brand.

Related: Reflux In Children: Symptoms, And Treatment

The Bottom line

Home remedies can prevent the occasional acid reflux, and some GERD symptoms. When prolonged, uncontrolled reflux of acid occurs, you put yourself at an increased risk of oesophageal damage. That may include ulcers, a narrowed esophagus, and even esophagus cancer. However, home remedies alone can not work for acid reflux and GERD. Speak to a gastroenterologist regarding ways in which any of these remedies will help with a proper treatment plan.

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Naeem Durrani BSc
Naeem Durrani is a freelance journalist who specializes in health and wellness innovation. His interests include medical research, nutrition, and the scientific evidence around effective wellness practices that empower people to positively transform their lives.
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