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Five lifestyle changes that reduce heartburn

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Five lifestyle changes that reduce heartburn

You don’t need to take medications to manage your heartburn. Making just five changes to your diet and lifestyle is enough to end your suffering.

Heartburn—more properly gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD—affects 30 percent of all Americans, and it’s usually managed with over-the-counter remedies.

But you can drop the drugs if you adopt the five changes: get to a normal weight, don’t smoke, do moderate to vigorous exercise every day for 30 minutes, restrict yourself to just two cups of coffee tea or soda daily, and follow a ‘prudent’ diet.

Lifestyle changes are the way to go as heartburn meds come with a worrying host of side effects, said lead researcher Andrew Chan.

People who adopt the five changes see an average 37 percent drop in symptoms, and this can fall further, depending on a person’s commitment to them.

Of the five, physical activity could be the most effective, and this may be down to its impact on the digestive tract. “Being physically active may help with the clearance of stomach acid which causes heartburn symptoms,” he said.

The researchers had analysed the results from the Nurses’ Health Study, which tracked more than 43,000 women who suffered from heartburn.

(Source: JAMA Internal Medicine, 2021; doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.7238)

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