Each of our decisions is influenced by the world around us. Whether you realize it or not, your environment can have a strong impact on your behavior, especially when it comes to your diet and exercise habits. Because of this, surrounding yourself with a healthy environment can be a big help in controlling GERD and symptoms like acid reflux, and nowhere is this more possible than in your own home.
Though your GERD surgeon can help you put an end to your symptoms for good with reflux surgery, reassessing your household can be a tremendous help in staying pain-free in the meantime. To turn your home into a reflux-free place to be, start by:
Clearing Out Your Triggers
If you suffer from GERD, you’ve probably already identified many foods that spark your symptoms, but many common reflux triggers are staples of the American diet. Cheese, ice cream and other high-fat dairy products; soda, coffee and alcohol; chocolate, mint and citrus; tomatoes, peppers and onions—if these foods and others cause you problems, then they have no place in your kitchen, so get rid of them before you accidentally indulge.
Sort through every cabinet, drawer and shelf. Go through your fridge, pantry and freezer. Anything that may prompt your symptoms will be better off far away from you. Of course, your reflux triggers may also be favorite treats of other people who reside in your home, so if your spouse, roommate or children object to the removal of these items, simply ask that they be kept somewhere far from your view.
Making Healthy Habits Easier
Once all your triggers are gone, you can start filling your kitchen with foods that put you at no risk of reflux. Ask Dr. Ihde which foods will be best for your diet and make them easily accessible. Good choices may include high-fiber whole grains, low-acid fruits, fresh vegetables and low-fat proteins, while common reflux remedies like ginger, aloe vera and Tums may also be worth keeping around. Keep the best foods front and center in your fridge and pantry to make them the first things grabbed when you need a snack.
Exercise is also valuable in addressing GERD, but heavy weight lifting, abdominal exercises and high impact activities like running can trigger or worsen acid reflux for many people. You can arrange your home to make it easier to participate in gentle exercises with little risk of sparking GERD symptoms. Do your best to learn which activities are most likely to cause you acid reflux and consider investing in fitness DVDs and light resistance gear that help you stay active without the pain of heartburn.
There are many ways to help yourself avoid reflux at home, but reflux surgery is the only way to permanently rid yourself of symptoms. For more strategies on avoiding acid reflux and heartburn, talk to your GERD surgeon.