Dr. Lagergreen’s team 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 to 20 percent of smokers, compared to about 16 to 16 percent who did not smoke.
The Harvard team reports that people who engage in moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day are less likely to develop symptoms of GERD.
Reduce coffee, tea and soda.
The risk of GERD was reduced in people who did not consume two cups of coffee, tea or soda daily.
Eat a heart-healthy diet.
People who follow a Mediterranean-style diet, for example, fruits and vegetables, beans, fish, poultry and whole grains, but less or no red meat and other sources of saturated fat, produce acid reflux. The chances were slim.
Genetics can also affect someone’s risk of acid reflux, so people with a family history of the problem will do their best to avoid the risks outlined above. Doing so will also help protect against known killers such as heart disease, diabetes and many types of cancer.
How to manage symptoms
If you already have acid reflux, there is much you can do to reduce the symptoms and perhaps avoid them altogether. Eat more small meals than big meals. Minimize fatty foods and skip fried and fast foods altogether. A friend uses an air fryer to get crispy skin on chicken, but I prefer grilled chicken and skip the skin. Choose lean meat (if you eat meat) and low-fat or non-fat dairy products and avoid eating within three hours of going to bed. Also, try to sleep as if on a bend, the head of the bed is higher than the feet.
Many people with GERD find foods that are more annoying include tomatoes and citrus (such as oranges and grapes) and their juices, coffee (decaf for some people), alcohol and carbonated beverages, spicy foods, garlic, chocolate. And pepper. I turned to low-acid orange juice a long time ago, using only a few ounces a day to dissolve a fiber supplement. I’ve also found that instant coffee is less annoying than bread, and I only drink it later with food to help protect my digestion.