Gastric acid reflux, commonly known as heartburn or GERD, is one of the health problems that many people experience. Stomach or chest pain is very painful when acid from the stomach enters the esophagus. This condition triggers discomfort and is very disturbing. The good news is, there are various ways to deal with this complaint. In addition to taking medication according to a doctor's prescription, problems can be overcome by changing diet and lifestyle.
Method 1 of 4: Adopting a Healthy Diet
Because certain foods trigger GERD, you may be confused about which foods to eat. However, certain foods and diets can prevent GERD. Apply the following steps to find out the most effective tips for relieving heartburn.
Step 1. Eat slowly so you don't feel full
Eating too fast that you overeat can trigger GERD. Therefore, make it a habit to chew food slowly with each meal.
Practice eating slower than usual by putting down the spoon as soon as you start chewing the food. Do not hold the spoon until the food is swallowed
Step 2. Eat less so you don't feel full
Eating 3 large portions of food a day makes you full so that gastric acid secretion increases. To prevent this, eat food more than 3 times a day with smaller meal portions.
Step 3. Eat high-fiber foods
Compared to low-fiber foods, you feel full faster if you eat high-fiber foods so you don't feel full. So, include high-fiber foods in your diet, for example:
- Whole grains, beans, seeds, tubers, and green vegetables.
- You can take supplements to increase your fiber intake, but doctors usually recommend that you meet your fiber needs primarily from food.
Step 4. Neutralize stomach acid by eating foods that are low in acidity
Foods that have a high pH can prevent heartburn by neutralizing stomach acid. Therefore, you can overcome heartburn by eating the following foods:
Bananas, nuts, melons, cauliflower and fennel
Step 5. Eat watery or gravy foods to dilute stomach acid
Water and liquids in food can dilute stomach acid and relieve pain from GERD. So, make it a habit to eat watery or soupy foods with every meal, for example:
Celery, melon, cucumber, lettuce, broth, and soup
Method 2 of 4: Avoiding Certain Foods
Some foods can stimulate stomach acid. Certain foods that are bad for others may not necessarily be a problem for you, but some foods tend to stimulate stomach acid. So, avoid or reduce the consumption of these foods and then observe whether or not your stomach improves. Do not eat certain foods that stimulate stomach acid.
Step 1. Reduce fat consumption
Fat tends to make GERD worse. Adopt a low-fat diet to normalize gastric acid secretion.
- Fried and processed foods are usually very fatty and oily. So, reduce the consumption of these foods.
- Use less oil, butter, or butter when cooking food.
- Choose low-fat dairy products.
Step 2. Avoid spicy or sour foods
These foods are the main cause of GERD. If the complaint gets worse after eating spicy or sour food, don't eat it again so that the stomach doesn't have problems.
- Spicy food usually uses cayenne pepper, paprika, curly chili, and various types of pepper.
- Acidic foods, such as limes, tomatoes, marinade sauce, and vinegar.
- You can eat these foods as long as they don't trigger GERD symptoms. Everyone's body reacts differently after consuming certain foods.
Step 3. Avoid carbonated drinks
Stomach acid will be pushed into the esophagus if you drink carbonated drinks while eating. So, replace the drink with water or a non-carbonated liquid. Water is the best option.
Step 4. Limit coffee consumption
The degree of acidity of coffee is very high and can aggravate GERD. If you drink coffee regularly, reduce it little by little to lower the concentration of stomach acid.
Caffeine-free coffee is safer for the stomach, but can still stimulate stomach acid. It's the acidity of the coffee that's causing the problem, not the caffeine
Step 5. Avoid chocolate and peppermint
A lot or a little, both trigger heartburn. Do not eat chocolate and peppermint if it often causes GERD.
Step 6. Don't drink alcohol
One of the main causes of heartburn and GERD is alcohol. If you often drink alcohol, break this habit and observe the effects.
If you experience heartburn after drinking even a small amount of alcohol, don't drink alcohol at all
Method 3 of 4: Applying a Healthy Lifestyle
The effective way to deal with GERD is not just implementing a healthy diet. There are still many effective tips to overcome and prevent GERD that can be done while going about their daily lives. Apply the following instructions as best you can.
Step 1. Wear loose-fitting clothes
Tight clothes, especially in the stomach area, push stomach acid up and cause heartburn. Instead, wear loose-fitting pants, shirts, and waistbands, especially when eating.
Step 2. Lose weight if needed
Being overweight increases your risk of developing GERD and worsens its symptoms. If you are overweight, consult your doctor to find out your ideal weight. Then, try to lose weight and keep it off by following a diet and exercising regularly.
Lose weight in a healthy and safe way, instead of going on a crash diet or extreme diet. Besides being dangerous, this method makes weight gain again if the diet program is stopped
Step 3. Get in the habit of sitting or standing up straight for at least 3 hours after eating
If you lie down after eating, stomach acid will rise from the stomach into the esophagus, triggering GERD. Instead of lying down after eating, try to straighten yourself up while sitting or standing for at least 3 hours after eating.
Do not eat a few hours before going to bed at night because it can cause GERD in the middle of the night
Step 4. Chew sugar-free gum after eating
Chewing gum makes you swallow more often so that stomach acid flows down into your stomach. According to the results of the study, chewing sugar-free gum for 30 minutes after eating can prevent GERD.
Avoid peppermint gum because it can trigger heartburn
Step 5. Lie down with your torso higher than your stomach at night
Attacks of midriff pain often occur if you lie on your back because stomach acid rises up into your esophagus. Prevent this by elevating the head of the bed or stacking several pillows so that the head is 15-20 cm higher than the stomach.
Do not pile up too many pillows because it makes the body uncomfortable and triggers back or neck pain
Step 6. Relieve stress to prevent GERD
Chronic stress has been shown to trigger GERD. If you have chronic stress, try to deal with it to keep your body healthy.
- Set aside time to relax each day, for example by meditating, deep breathing, or practicing yoga.
- Doing fun activities can also relieve stress. So, set aside time to enjoy hobbies every day.
- If you are unable to reduce stress, consult a professional therapist or psychiatrist.
Step 7. Quit smoking or don't start smoking
Your risk of developing GERD increases if you smoke. Avoid health problems by quitting smoking as soon as possible. If you are not a smoker, never smoke.
Do not let anyone smoke in the house because passive smokers can experience health problems due to inhaling cigarette smoke
Method 4 of 4: Using Home Remedies
There is a lot of information on websites about home remedies for GERD, but not all of it is helpful. However, some of them have been shown to be able to overcome or prevent GERD. Find out which remedy is right for you by trying it yourself.
Step 1. Sip ginger tea or water
Ginger is known as an effective remedy for GERD. If your heart starts to hurt, add grated fresh ginger to tea or water and take a sip.
Ginger can be consumed 250 mg to 5 grams every day so that it is still safe even though it is consumed quite a lot
Step 2. Use licorice root to soothe the stomach
Licorice is often used to treat GERD because it has proven to be effective. Consume licorice in the form of tablets or tea as soon as the upper part of the heart feels sore.
- If you take licorice in the form of tablets, do not go more than 1 week without consulting your doctor.
- Licorice root can be consumed up to 1 gram per day.
Step 3. Drink chamomile tea as soon as your heartburn hurts
Chamomile tea is beneficial for soothing the stomach. If your heartburn hurts after eating, drink a cup of chamomile tea to treat it.
Chamomile belongs to the family of grass plants that can trigger allergies. So, do not take chamomile if you are allergic to herbal products made from grass
Step 4. Drink lemon water with honey if the upper part of the heart feels sore
This home remedy is able to neutralize stomach acid. If the upper part of the heart feels sore, drink lemon water with honey and see if this product is effective for you.
The acidity of lemon juice is very high. Do not drink immediately before mixed with water
Step 5. Drink aloe vera syrup to prevent GERD
Aloe vera syrup is proven to be able to prevent GERD if taken every day. Drink 10 milliliters of aloe vera syrup every day to find out if this therapy works.
Step 6. Drink milk if it doesn't make GERD worse
Milk can neutralize stomach acid so it is one of the home remedies to cure GERD, but milk can make the problem worse because it contains fat. Don't use milk as a home remedy if your stomach hurts after drinking milk.
Step 7. Drink apple cider vinegar diluted with water
Apple cider vinegar solution is often used as a home remedy, but this step has not been shown to be effective. Even so, there's no harm in trying. Put 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water and drink after eating. Observe whether this method is effective in preventing heartburn.
Do not drink vinegar that has not been diluted because the acidity is very high and triggers stomach disorders
GERD can be very problematic, but it can be treated in a number of ways. You can overcome or prevent it by following a diet and adopting a healthy lifestyle. Also, use home remedies to find out their effectiveness. Consult a doctor if GERD has not been resolved. You may need to take medication as prescribed by your doctor.