5 Unhealthy Habits that Cause Acid Reflux and Indigestion
Acid reflux can be caused for a variety of reasons, including a weak esophageal sphincter, a hiatal hernia or dietary and lifestyle choices. If you suffer with a weak esophageal sphincter, you may be prescribed medications and dietary modification. If you suffer from severe acid reflux, a surgical procedure may be performed to help strengthen the esophageal sphincter. A hiatal hernia that does not respond well to medications may need to be surgically repaired. If your acid reflux is caused by dietary and lifestyle choices, changing your habits can relieve your symptoms.
Poor Eating Habits
What you eat may trigger acid reflux. Greasy foods, spicy foods and carbonated beverages can increase your risk of acid reflux. Additionally, eating starchy food items in conjunction with protein can cause acid reflux and indigestion. This is because protein takes longer than starch to digest. When these two types of food are ingested together, the starches must stay in the stomach longer than necessary, which causes the starches to begin fermenting. You can avoid this by limiting the amount of starchy foods you consume when eating protein.
If you suffer with food intolerances, it can cause bloating, heartburn, indigestion and acid reflux. The most common food intolerances include wheat and dairy products. Because the body is unable to break down intolerant foods, the body produces more and more stomach acids that can increase the risk of acid reflux.
Many people who are overweight consume large meals. Large meals can exert pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, causing it to partially open and allow stomach acids to fill into the esophagus. Losing excess weight with a safe, sensible diet and moderate exercise can help improve acid reflux in those who are overweight.
Everyone knows that stress is bad for the body. But, did you realize that increased stress could exaggerate the symptoms of acid reflux? Stress increases the production of cortisol, a stress hormone that affects how digestion occurs. To help alleviate acid reflux, use a variety of stress relieving techniques, such as meditation, yoga and acupuncture.
Did you know that water could cause acid reflux? Drinking too many fluids during your meal can dilute the stomach acids needed for digestions. Although this seems counterintuitive, you should limit the amount of water you drink during a meal. Limiting your fluid intake will help the food to digest faster and thus lowering the risk of acid reflux.
In addition to limiting the amount of fluid you drink during a meal, the temperature of your drink can either help or hinder digestion. Researchers believe that drinking a cold drink with your food can constrict the blood vessels and solidify fats, making them ore difficult to digest. Instead of drinking a cold drink, enjoy a hot cup of tea or a drink served at room temperature to help improve digestion.
Acid reflux is a painful condition caused by stomach acids rising into the esophagus. The symptoms of acid reflux include pain or discomfort in your chest, a bitter taste, regurgitation, burping, nausea after eating and bloating. If acid reflux is not treated, it can damage the esophagus, causing scarring and narrowing of the esophagus. This can lead to swallowing difficulties and may even cause esophageal cancer.
Suffering from symptoms of acid reflux? Call us at (571)529-6699 and talk to our wellness coordinators. Our integrative physician specializes in digestive health issues including acid reflux in Northern Virginia.