Acid reflux--the first word says it all. When the stomach's acidic juices back up or reflux into the oesophagus, the tube connecting the mouth and stomach, the result can be heartburn. Most often, it feels like a burning sensation in the chest or throat. People may also experience acid regurgitation into their throat or mouth. Some people have acid reflux without the heartburn or acid regurgitation. But for the majority who do, the problem can be avoided by watching what you eat and when. Certain foods are known to cause reflux while other foods can reduce or prevent it.
Treating Heartburn and Reflux
Acid reflux is not normally a serious health problem. But because it can mimic other conditions, especially heart disease, and may lead to other serious problems if it occurs frequently, it's smart to see a doctor to know with what you're dealing. If the problem is reflux, your doctor may suggest over-the-counter antacids or, if the problem is more serious, prescribe drugs to bring you relief. Your diet also can help limit problems with reflux.
Fatty and fried foods are usually some of the worst culprits in acid reflux. Beverages with caffeine, such as colas, and those with alcohol also can cause reflux and should generally be avoided. Even decaf coffee, although better than regular coffee, can be a problem.
Other problem foods include: --Tomatoes or tomato-based sauces, including spaghetti, salsa and pizza. --Citrus, such as oranges, lemons and limes. --Onions, garlic and oregano. --Chilli powder or other spicy flavourings. --Mint and chocolate.
You probably are on safe ground if your diet includes: --Apples and bananas. --Green beans, carrots, broccoli and baked potatoes. --Most grains and cereals. --Low-fat cheeses. --Fish, London broil steak and grilled meat. --Sweets such as jelly beans, gummy bears or hard candies.
Change Your Lifestyle
Lifestyle changes can also bring relief from reflux and heartburn. Lose weight if needed and wear loosefitting clothes. If you smoke, quit. Eat smaller meals and eat more fibre, which aids digestion. Also, don't chew gum right after you eat. Don't lie down right after eating, and don't eat two to three hours before bedtime.
Make a List of What Bothers You
Reflux doesn't mean, however, that you necessarily have to give up some of your favourite foods forever. For instance, if orange juice and tomato juice seem to give you grief, avoid just one and see if that makes a difference. Then, using that same method, experiment with different foods and create your own list of foods that clearly bother you and those that don't.