Diet & lifestyle information Keeping Healthy – Knowing the right information There are some simple lifestyle and dietary changes that can help to reduce acid reflux. Do’s Follow a healthy balanced diet Maintain a healthy weight Regular exercise Small meals at regular intervals over the day Relax at mealtimes and chew food properly sitting upright The Eatwell Guide below shows how much of what we eat overall should come from each food group to achieve a healthy balanced diet. The is more detailed information on each section of this guide on The NHS website Being overweight can increase the pressure in your abdomen, leading to an increased risk of acid reflux. You can calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) using the NHS BMI calculator to find out whether your weight is within a healthy range. If required, you should aim to lose weight gradually (1-2lbs or 0.5-1kg per week) through following a balanced diet described above, alongside taking regular exercise. These links to resources from the Association of UK Dietitians, which you can read online or download and print, provide some additional advice on achieving weight loss, increasing your fruit and vegetable intake and portion sizes. If you would like further help and advice with weight management speak to your GP who can refer you to a local dietetic service. Large meals are more likely to cause the muscle joining the oesophagus to the stomach (the lower oesophageal sphincter) to open and therefore small and regular meals are likely to reduce symptoms. Try to relax at mealtimes and limit stress. Avoid Excess alcohol Smoking Skipping meals Eating late at night or just before going to bed Alcohol and smoking relax the muscle at the lower end of the oesophagus which can increase reflux symptoms. Reducing alcohol intake can also help if you are aiming to lose weight. If possible, avoid eating for 2 hours before bedtime. If you experience heartburn and/or regurgitation at night, propping the head of the bed up with blocks or bricks under the bed legs often helps. You can also purchase a wedge pillow which can help to keep you upright when sleeping. Certain food types can also trigger symptoms of acid reflux. These vary from person to person but common food and drinks that trigger symptoms include: Spicy Foods Tomatoes and tomato-based foods Acidic foods such as citrus fruits, fruit juices or onions/garlic Fizzy drinks Fatty foods such as fried foods Everyone is different and there may be other things that trigger your symptoms. Keeping a diary of symptoms as well as food and drinks taken can help to identify triggers which may then be avoided. Remember, if you suffer from persistent heartburn, it's important to see a Doctor.