How to Prevent and Treat Acid Reflux - dummies

By Patricia Raymond, Michelle Beaver

Part of Acid Reflux Diet & Cookbook For Dummies Cheat Sheet

The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” certainly applies to acid reflux: It’s better to prevent acid reflux than to treat it.

When you get acid reflux, if you keep doing whatever gave you the ailment, you’ll keep getting the ailment, and eventually there will be consequences beyond discomfort and pain. Eventually, your throat will become so sensitive that reflux bouts will hurt even more. You could develop anything from a chronic sore throat and cough, to a precancerous condition called Barrett’s esophagus. So, prevent, prevent, prevent.

The best way to prevent acid reflux is with diet and a few lifestyle tips:

  • Avoid eating large meals.

  • Avoid eating within two hours of lying down.

  • Avoid drinking alcohol often, and avoid it in large quantities. A few drinks a week is fine, but exceed that and you may be risking reflux.

  • Avoid drinking large amounts of coffee. A cup a day should be fine; but if even that small amount gives you trouble, cut back.

  • Lose excess weight. Being too heavy puts pressure on the bottom part of your esophagus and makes you much more likely to get reflux.

  • Avoid or reduce the following foods and drinks:

    • Carbonated beverages

    • Chili peppers

    • Chocolate

    • Citrus

    • Fried foods

    • Hot spices, such as cayenne

    • Mint

    • Raw garlic

    • Raw onion

    • Red meat

    • Tomato

    • Excess fat (if it’s super greasy, avoid it, or only eat a little)

If none of these changes prevents reflux, you should still follow a reflux reduction diet, but you’ll also need to visit your doctor. Your doctor may recommend antacids, prescription medications, or surgery.