1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email

8 Tips for Preventing Heartburn

By

Updated January 25, 2010

In need of tips for preventing heartburn?

1. Eat smaller, more frequent meals

Large meals expand your stomach and can increase upward pressure against the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).

2. Limit your intake of acid-stimulating foods and beverages

These foods include:
  • Fatty meats
  • Fried foods
  • Citrus fruits
  • Citrus juices
  • Chocolate
  • Peppermint
  • Excessive alcohol consumption (especially red wine)
  • Tomatoes and tomato-based products
  • Caffeinated beverages (coffee)
  • Carbonated beverages (colas)
  • Peppers
  • Garlic and onions

3. Wait two or three hours after eating to lie down

Gravity helps to keep the stomach juices from backing up into the esophagus and assists the flow of food and digestive juices from the stomach to the intestines.

4. Elevate your head a few inches while you sleep

Lying down flat presses the stomach's contents against the LES. With the head higher than the stomach, gravity helps reduce this pressure. You can elevate your head in a couple of ways. You can place bricks, blocks or anything that's sturdy securely under the legs at the head of your bed. You can also use a wedge-shaped pillow to elevate your head. Read this article for more tips on easing nighttime heartburn.

5. Don't wear belts or clothes that are too tight around the waist

Clothing that fits tightly around the abdomen will squeeze the stomach, forcing food up against the LES, and cause food to reflux into the esophagus. Clothing that can cause problems include tight-fitting belts and slenderizing undergarments.

6. Relax

While stress hasn't been linked directly to heartburn, it is known that it can lead to behaviors that can trigger heartburn. Relaxation tips include:

Sleep 7 to 8 hours a night. This is critical to keeping your stress level low. Studies have shown that sleep-deprived people have higher stress levels.

Eat balanced meals. By consuming plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and fresh fish, you'll provide your brain and body with the necessary nutrients to help you perform under pressure. It is also important to avoid your heartburn trigger foods.

Visualization. Envision any place and concentrate on seeing, hearing and smelling the things you imagine -- this will help you relax.

7. Maintain a reasonable weight

Obesity increases abdominal pressure, which can then push stomach contents up into the esophagus. According to some statistics, approximately 35% of overweight people experience heartburn. The good news is that for many people, as little as a 10% decrease in weight will improve their heartburn symptoms.

8. Keep a Heartburn Record

Record what triggered your acid-reflux episodes, its severity, how your body reacts and what gives you relief. To get you started, you can use this Heartburn Record.

Sources:
Heartburn, Gastroesophageal Reflux (GER), and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). NIH Publication No. 07–0882 May 2007. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). 6 May 2008.

Heartburn Or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)." American College of Gastroenterology. 6 May 2008.

Related Video
Heartburn and Acid Reflux Testing - Endoscopy
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Heartburn / GERD
  4. Good and Bad Foods
  5. Tips for Preventing Heartburn - 8 Quick Tips for Preventing Heartburn

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.