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10 Things You Should Know About Avoiding Acid Reflux

Tips and recipes for how to beat heartburn

7. Don’t Eat After 8 p.m.

When you eat can be just as important as what you eat. People with reflux should consider the kitchen closed after 8 p.m. That means no meals, snacks or beverages, other than water —  as long as it isn’t too much water. Also, don’t lie down right after eating, and if you reflux in the middle of the night, try adjusting pillows and bolsters so you can sleep in a more upright position.

8. Fashion and Fitness Do’s and Don’ts

Don’t exercise right after eating. Also, don’t wear constricting clothing around your waist or tight belts because they increase pressure in the stomach, which contributes to reflux.

9. Establish New Habits

Besides avoiding alcohol and late-night eating, eat frequent, smaller meals rather than fewer big meals, and give up or don’t start smoking. If reflux is a serious problem for you right now, you may want to try a diet designed for people with acid reflux. (See recipes from the book I cowrote: Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook & Cure.)

10. Consult Your Doctor: Describe your symptoms to your general practice doctor, but if you suspect you have “silent” (LPR) reflux, you may want to see an ear, nose and throat specialist, as well. Acid reflux has been linked to fast-rising rates of esophageal cancer and precancer (Barrett’s esophagus), so if you have had symptoms for more than a few years, you’ll probably want to have an examination of your throat and esophagus (an awake endoscopy or transnasal esophagoscopy).

Dr. Jamie Koufman is a professor of clinical otolaryngology at New York Medical College, director of the Voice Institute of New York and co-author, with Dr. Jordan Stern and French master chef Marc Bauer of  Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook & Cure.

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