1. Stop using tobacco in all forms. Nicotine weakens the lower esophageal muscle.
2. Avoid chewing gum and hard candy. They increase the amount of swallowed air which, in turn, leads to belching and reflux.
3. Do not lie down immediately after eating. Avoid late evening snacks.
4. Avoid tight clothing and bending over after eating.
5. Eat small, frequent portions of food and snack if needed.
6. Lose weight if overweight. Obesity leads to increased reflux.
7. Elevate the head of the bed six to eight inches to prevent reflux when sleeping. Extra pillows, by themselves, are not very helpful.
8. The following foods aggravate acid reflux, and should be avoided:
- fatty or fried foods
- peppermint and spearmint
- whole milk
- creamed foods or soups
- most fast foods
9. The following foods irritate an inflamed lower esophagus and may need to be limited or avoided:
- citrus fruits and juices (grapefruit, orange, pineapple, tomato)
- coffee (regular and decaffeinated)
- caffeinated soft drinks
- other caffeinated beverages
10. Spicy or acidic foods may not be tolerated by some individuals.