A diet low in fat, high in protein, and free of common trigger foods, such as citrus fruits, tomato products, mints, onions and garlic is helpful for reducing episodes of acid reflux, or GERD, according to WebMD. Coffee, tea, alcohol and carbonated drinks are beverages that often cause symptoms.
Avoiding common heartburn triggers found in chocolate and hot spices, such as curry and chili, relieves symptoms in many sufferers, reports WebMD. Eating smaller meals, maintaining a healthy body weight, wearing loose clothes around the abdomen, and quitting smoking if applicable are additional ways to reduce the frequency of acid reflux symptoms, adds Mayo Clinic. Remaining upright for at least three hours after eating and elevating the head of the bed by approximately 6 to 9 inches are additional helpful practices. Acupuncture, relaxation therapies such as massage, meditation and yoga, as well as herbal products that include slippery elm, licorice and chamomile ease symptoms in some individuals.
Chronic inflammation and excess stomach acid in the esophagus over long periods of time can cause severe complications that include esophageal stricture, or the formation of scar tissue that inhibits swallowing, and an open sore from the tissue erosion, called an esophageal ulcer, explains Mayo Clinic. The precancerous changes to the lower esophageal lining known as Barrett’s esophagus are also the result of chronic acid reflux over extended periods of time.