Avoid foods that relax the LES or otherwise aggravate GERD: coffee, tea, alcohol, carbonated beverages, dairy products, citrus fruits and juices, chocolate, peppermint, chocolate, tomatoes, onions, spicy foods, fried foods, oily foods, and high-fat foods.
Avoid foods that promote inflammation including sweet, starchy, and processed foods.
Start every meal with a salad of raw leafy greens tossed with raw vinegar, a small amount of cold-pressed oil (extra virgin olive, walnut, flax), and a pinch of sea salt if you wish.
Chew your food thoroughly, at least 20 to 30 chews per mouthful.
Avoid overeating. Having too much food in the stomach puts pressure on the LES, so if you have to, consume smaller, more frequent meals instead of fewer, larger meals.
Avoid drinking liquids just before you eat, during meals, and for at least 30 minutes after eating. If you’re thirsty, it’s OK to sip water, but do so sparingly. Consuming too much liquid with meals can dilute stomach acid, which slows digestion and delays stomach emptying, which puts pressure on the LES.
Make dinner your lightest meal and avoid snacking before bed. After eating, do not lay down for at least two hours. If you’re uncomfortable laying down, raise the head of the bed by six inches.
Chew on DGL. Studies show that deglycyrrhizinated licorice can heal gastric ulcers as well as prescription medication.4 To be effective, it has to be mixed with saliva, so look for chewable lozenges with as few additives as possible.
Maintain a healthy weight. Excess abdominal fat puts pressure on the LES, so if you’re overweight, talk to your doctor about losing it in a healthy and sustainable way.
Avoid tight-fitting clothes. Constriction of the abdomen puts pressure on the LES.
Stop smoking. Cigarette smoking makes the LES more lax.5
Practice relaxation. Stress can exacerbate GERD so it’s important to manage it effectively.6
Treat conditions that contribute or predispose to GERD including digestive problems, hiatal hernia, asthma, and diabetes.
Seek alternatives to medications that promote or aggravate GERD. These may include antibiotics, anticholinergics prescribed for overactive bladder and irritable bowel syndrome, bisphosphonates for bone loss, calcium channel blockers and nitrates for high blood pressure and heart disease, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, narcotics, benzodiazepines, progesterone, quinidine, and theophylline.
Talk to your naturopathic doctor about supplements to soothe and heal irritated and inflamed tissue, to tighten the LES, increase stomach acidity, improve digestion, and/or balance gut microbiota. If you don’t get better, it will be important to investigate further because you may have a more serious condition.