Alert
Close

Think you know AARP? What you don't know about us may surprise you. Discover all the 'Real Possibilities'

HIGHLIGHTS

Open

REAL POSSIBILITIES

AARP Real Possibilities
Car buying made easy with the AARP Auto Buying Program

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Contests and
Sweeps

Dream Vacation Sweepstakes

10 weeks. 10 amazing trips. Seize your chance to win!
See official rules. 

CHECK OUT OUR
NEW IPAD APP!

ATM Mobile App for iPhone and Ipad

Enjoy the best of AARP’s award-winning publications

on the go with the new

AARP ePubs iPad App

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

AARP BOOKS

Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.

Webinars

Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.

 

Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

Commented

share your thoughts

What does the health care law mean to you? Your story is important. We read and learn from every story and it helps us in our educational efforts. We may even use your comments (with permission) to brief legislators, inspire readers and more. Please share your story with us. Do

10 Things You Should Know About Avoiding Acid Reflux

Tips and recipes for how to beat heartburn

En español | What is acid reflux? It’s a condition in which there’s a backflow of stomach contents — including acid and partially digested food — into the esophagus, the swallowing tube connecting the mouth and stomach. 

Sign up for AARP's Health Newsletter.

Also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, it now affects about 40 percent of Americans, almost half of whom have a form of reflux known as “silent” reflux.

Here’s what you need to know about managing — or even beating — acid reflux.

1. Are You at Risk?

Acid reflux used to be diagnosed primarily in older adults and people who were overweight. But today plenty of thin people and young people are afflicted. While reflux is linked to obesity and genetics, its increasing prevalence, particularly among the young, is due to too much acid in the American diet. (See the box "Added Acids in Food" on the next page.)

2. Reflux Comes in Different Forms With Different Symptoms

The best-known type of reflux, GERD, is commonly associated with heartburn and indigestion. But people with silent reflux, or laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), may never have those telltale symptoms. Instead, they may have hoarseness, a chronic cough, choking episodes, trouble swallowing, a postnasal drip or the feeling of having a lump in their throat that won’t go away. They may also have difficulty catching their breath or may experience wheezing. Indeed, reflux can worsen underlying asthma, making it more difficult to treat.

3. Medications Aren’t a Cure

As it turns out, acid reflux is not just due to acid. When you reflux, a stomach enzyme called pepsin also rises, and pepsin is not suppressed by the anti-reflux medicines currently on the market. That’s why diet and lifestyle changes are important; they allow inflamed tissues to heal.

4. Eat the "Good Foods"

Whole-grain bread, oatmeal, salad, bananas, melons, chicken (without the skin), fish, turkey, fennel, celery, parsley, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, green beans, aloe vera, ginger, couscous and brown rice are all examples of great foods for people with GERD or LPR. These are foods with low acidity.

5. Avoid the "Bad Foods"

Chocolate, carbonated beverages, alcohol, fatty meats, fried foods, high-fat dairy products, fast food, processed foods, caffeine, hot sauces, hot peppers, citrus fruits and juices all worsen acid reflux. Alcohol, chocolate and soda are especially problematic, not only because of their intrinsic acidity but because they weaken the body’s defenses against stomach contents rising up.

6. Eat Organic: Typically, organic foods do not have acid or other chemicals added. But check the labels. If you see citric acid, ascorbic acid or vitamin C listed in the ingredients, consider other products or foods.

Next: Closing the kitchen at 8 p.m. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Health Blog

Discounts & Benefits

bring health To Life-Visual MD

AARP bookstore

AARP Bookstore - woman reaches for book on bookshelf

VISIT THE HEALTH SECTION

Find titles on brain health, drug alternatives, nutrition and losing weight. Do