Acid reflux is a condition that can negatively impact one’s health and wellbeing. When one experiences acid reflux, stomach acid rises in the esophagus, often causing a burning sensation in the chest and a sense of discomfort. Chronic acid reflux symptoms are a telltale sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Too much acid in the stomach is one factor that can contribute to regular bouts of acid reflux. In cases like these, the excess stomach acid can escape from your stomach and seep into the esophagus. Repeated exposure to stomach acid can damage the esophageal lining over time and lead to other, more serious health problems.
The good news is that you can eliminate excess stomach acid and manage the symptoms of acid reflux with just a few steps. Wondering how to decrease the acidity in your stomach? Read this article from top to bottom or use the links below to skip to any section.
When you ingest food, you chew it up, causing it to pass through your esophagus and enter your stomach. Once in your stomach, the food is broken down even further by stomach acid and muscle fibers. Stomach acid serves several important functions—it allows your body to break down food to the point where it can pass into the small intestine, helps your body absorb essential nutrients, and kills potentially harmful bacteria.
Stomach Acid & Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is typically caused by an issue with the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This is a ring of muscles near the bottom of your esophagus that opens to allow food into your stomach and then closes to prevent the backflow of partially digested food and stomach acid.
However, stomach acid may surge into your esophagus if the LES isn’t tight enough or opens up at the wrong time. This can lead to heartburn, nausea, coughing, chest pain, and a bitter or sour sensation at the back of your throat. When stomach acid seeps into your esophagus, this is known as acid reflux, and it’s generally what causes heartburn.
10 Tips to Reduce Stomach Acid
Too much stomach acid can lead to acid reflux symptoms. If you’re wondering how to decrease acid production in the stomach and prevent heartburn, follow these straightforward tips.
1. Avoid Acid Reflux Triggers
Certain foods and beverages are considered acid reflux triggers. This means that consuming them will increase the likelihood of acid reflux symptoms. To minimize the chances of experiencing acid reflux, avoid the following foods and beverages:
Fried or fatty foods
Potato chips and processed snacks
Coffee and tea
2. Adjust Your Diet
As we mentioned above, what you eat can play a large role in whether or not you experience acid reflux. In addition to avoiding the acid reflux triggers listed above, you should also incorporate foods and beverages into your diet known to soothe acid reflux. For instance, try to include the following foods and beverages into your diet:
High-fiber foods (vegetables and whole grains)
Water-heavy foods (Fruits, vegetables, broths)
Alkaline foods (nuts, bananas, cauliflower)
Apple cider vinegar
3. Change Your Eating Habits
Adjusting your diet is one thing, but changing your eating habits in tandem with dietary modifications can produce significant positive effects. For example, you might try making the following changes to your eating habits:
Avoid late night snacks: When you’re standing, gravity keeps food in your stomach. But, if you get in bed and lie down soon after eating, stomach acid can more easily seep into your esophagus.
Eat slower: When you eat slower, you give your body time to signal that it’s full. Overstuffing yourself can push stomach acid into your esophagus.
Eat small meals: Eating large meals can lead to you overstuffing yourself. Instead, try to eat smaller meals that are spread out over the course of the day.
4. Don’t Lie Down Right After Eating
When you lie down, gravity isn’t as effective at keeping your stomach acid in your stomach. Right after you eat, your stomach acid is working to break down and digest the food you consumed. Thus, lying down after eating places you at a much higher risk for acid reflux symptoms.
5. Sleep on Your Left Side at an Incline
If you suffer from nighttime acid reflux, consider changing your sleep position. Sleeping on your left side at an incline is the best sleeping position for nighttime acid reflux. When lying on your left side, your LES tends to remain elevated above your stomach acid, making it more difficult for stomach acid to escape. And, in case stomach acid does escape, sleeping at an incline makes it so that gravity is on your side and your body can more easily clear any reflux.
To stay in the ideal sleeping position to reduce symptoms of acid reflux, try out MedCline’s Reflux Relief System. Our patented sleep system keeps you in the doctor-recommended position for nighttime acid reflux while ensuring you remain comfortable throughout the night.
6. Talk to Your Doctor About Weight Loss
If you’re overweight or obese, you may be more likely to experience acid reflux symptoms. This is because extra weight can put significant pressure on the abdomen, causing stomach acid to surge into the esophagus.
In this case, ask your doctor about different weight loss strategies. Your doctor can help you develop a diet plan, suggest an exercise regimen, or provide you with alternative methods to shed excess weight in a healthy manner.
7. Quit Smoking
Tobacco has been shown to disrupt the functioning of your LES. In turn, this can lead to acid reflux symptoms. To minimize the risk of experiencing acid reflux or heartburn, make an effort to quit smoking.
8. Ask Your Doctor About Medications
In some cases, medication can be used to decrease stomach acid and ease the symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn. Additionally, some medications may cause heartburn as a side effect. Speak with your doctor about medications that can reduce symptoms of acid reflux or express your concerns if the current medication you’re taking is causing heartburn or acid reflux.
Low-fat milk and yogurt: While high-fat foods can trigger acid reflux, consuming nonfat milk or low-fat yogurt can actually protect your esophagus from harmful stomach acid.
Ginger: Ginger is a high-alkaline ingredient with anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it great for soothing an upset stomach or heartburn.
Chewing gum: Chewing gum promotes salivation, and this saliva can help soothe your stomach and make it easier for stomach acid to return to the stomach.
Apple cider vinegar: Many people have reported that consuming a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water has reduced their acid reflux symptoms.
10. Reduce Alcohol and Caffeine Intake
Alcohol and caffeine are two substances known to increase the frequency and severity of acid reflux symptoms. While they typically present few problems when consumed in moderation, avoid overindulging in either of these substances. Too much alcohol or caffeine can lead to acid reflux, heartburn, and other health problems.
If you suffer from persistent acid reflux, it can interfere with your day-to-day life. You may feel uncomfortable after meals, your quality of sleep may decline, and you may eventually develop more serious health problems as your esophagus is repeatedly exposed to stomach acid. However, there are steps you can take to decrease stomach acid production and ease the symptoms of acid reflux.
If you’re wondering how to decrease stomach acid, take note of the ten tips listed above. You might also get the Reflux Relief System to prevent bouts of nighttime acid reflux, which can be especially dangerous compared to daytime acid reflux. To learn more about the benefits of our Reflux Relief System and other products, chat with one of our Sleep Specialists today.
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MedCline was founded in 2011 by Carl Melcher, M.D, who was a life-long sufferer of GERD. Dr. Melcher wanted to help the millions of GERD patients with a natural treatment alternative utilizing positional therapy. Since development, the Reflux Relief System has been validated in 7 clinical trials. Aiming to help other medical conditions with positional therapy, MedCline has also developed a Shoulder Relief System for those who suffer with chronic shoulder pain at night. Both MedCline Relief Systems are providing much-needed relief for those suffering from nocturnal acid reflux and/or nighttime shoulder pain to get quality, restorative sleep leading to a higher health-related quality of life.