Managing Acid Reflux

Recently, while reading the Wall Street Journal, I came across an article about gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Surprisingly, they were talking about GERD in babies - not adults. More commonly known as "acid reflux," GERD is a digestive disorder that occurs when acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus (the tube that food travels to from your mouth to your stomach). This results in a backup of acid, which irritates the esophagus and causes the main symptom of heartburn - burning pain that may be felt in the chest and/or the back of the throat. The condition will repeatedly irritate the lining of the esophagus with refluxed stomach acid. This can lead to serious complications including esophageal ulcers and even cancer of the esophagus.

Every day, I see at least one new patient who suffers from GERD. More than 60 million Americans experience GERD symptoms at least once a month and about 25 million have symptoms every day. This interrupts a person's work day and his or her everyday life. While there are many over-the-counter and prescription medications that can cure acid reflux, diet can help as well.

How to prevent GERD:

* Eat small, frequent meals that are low in fat.

* Eat slowly

* Sit up while eating

* Don't lie down for 1 hour after meals

* Avoid eating and drinking within two to three hours before bedtime

* Don't drink alcohol

* If you are overweight, losing weight can help improve symptoms

* If you are a smoker, quitting can also reduce outbreaks and prevent symptoms

* Wear loose fitting clothes

Problematic foods for most people who experience GERD:

* Caffeine

* Carbonated beverages

* Chocolate

* Peppermint

* Tomato and citrus fruit

* Fatty and fried foods

* Spicy foods

* Garlic, onions, peppers

* Whole milk and whole fat dairy

Meat products

Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and the creator of The F-Factor Diet, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log