What is reflux?
Also known as heartburn, reflux is a condition that is caused by a back-up of stomach acid into the oesophagus.
When stomach acid comes into contact with the walls of your oesophagus if can cause a burning feeling, and over time degrade the wall lining.
How to stop/reduce your reflux...
1. Aim for a healthy weight
If you are carrying extra weight this can place stress on your digestive tract, influencing your reflux. A few tips on methods to help with weight loss include:
- Keeping a food diary
- Aiming for at least 2 serves of vegetables at each meal
- Avoiding sugar sweetened drinks, and choosing water or tea
- Exercising for 30 minutes daily
- Eating off a smaller plate
- Aiming for at least 2 vegetarian meals per week
- Choosing wholegrains like quinoa, grainy bread, brown rice and wholegrain/pulse pasta
2. Avoid foods that trigger reflux
This is a list of foods that are well known to trigger reflux.
High fat & greasy foods
Carbonated/ fizzy drinks
Peppermint and spearmint
Tomato based sauces
3. Limit these foods
These foods can trigger reflux in some people.
Keep a food-symptom diary
Not everyone with reflux responds to the above listed (avoid/limit) foods. You are best to keep your own food-symptom diary and make note of when you’re reflux symptoms are exacerbated.
4. Follow these good food behaviours
a) Meal size
- Avoid large meals (greater than 2 cups of food at once)
b) Aim to include small meals across the day
- For example, a small breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea & dinner meal
- Avoid just eating 3 large main meals
c) Eat your meal slowly
d) Chew your food really well
e) Eat your meal sitting down at a table
f) Try not to drink too much while you are eating; small sips are best
g) Avoid talking and eating at the same time
h) Avoid eating within 2 hours of lying down or going to bed
5. A general guide to meal planning to prevent reflux
Keep it low in fat, especially unhealthy fats
Include small amounts of lean protein
Include more plant-based foods, such as vegetables and legumes
6. Lifestyle tips that can help with your reflux
Exercise: Include low to moderate exercise daily
Sleeping: Use a few extra pillows to keep you on an upright angle while you sleep
Stress management: Do not eat when you are stressed and have some strategies in place for when you do get stressed (e.g. meditation, yoga, swimming, a funny movie, music, etc.)
8. These tips may also help
Herbal non-caffeinated teas such as camomile may be helpful
Liquorice may help
Skim/low fat and/or almond milk can be helpful
Drink at least 2 litres of water each day
Wear loose clothing
A note on antacid medications (e.g. nexium). These can be useful in the short-term, however can cause further consequences if used for long periods. Make sure you discuss your reflux treatment plans with with your doctor.