Do not smoke.
The team of dr. Lagergren found that tobacco can increase the time it takes for acidic foods to leave the esophagus. In an analysis of 30 studies, GERD affected about 20 percent of smokers, compared with about 16 percent of non-smokers.
Those who engaged in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day were less likely to develop symptoms of GERD, the Harvard team reported.
Cut down on coffee, tea, and soda.
The risk of GERD was reduced in those who drank no more than two cups of coffee, tea, or soda a day.
Follow a heart-healthy diet.
Those who followed a Mediterranean diet, for example containing fruits and vegetables, legumes, fish, poultry and whole grains, but little or no red meat and other sources of saturated fats, were less likely to have acid reflux.
Genetics can also affect a person’s risk of developing acid reflux, so people with a family history of the problem should avoid the risks listed above. This will also help protect against leading killers such as heart disease, diabetes and many cancers.
If you already have acid reflux, there’s a lot you can do to minimize the symptoms and maybe avoid them altogether. Eat smaller meals more often rather than large meals. Minimize fatty foods and skip fried and fast foods altogether. A friend uses an air fryer to get a crispy skin on chicken, but I prefer grilled chicken and skip the skin. Choose lean meats (if you eat meat) and low-fat or low-fat dairy products, and don’t eat within three hours of bedtime. Also try to sleep as if you were sitting on a recliner, with the head of the bed higher than the foot.
Foods that many people with GERD find most irritating include tomatoes and citrus fruits (such as oranges and grapefruit) and their juices, coffee (even decaffeinated for some people), alcoholic and carbonated drinks, spicy foods, garlic, chocolate, and peppermint. I switched to low-acid orange juice a long time ago, consuming just a few ounces a day to dissolve a fiber supplement. I’ve also found instant coffee to be less irritating than brewed, drinking the latter only with food to help protect my digestive tract.