If you suffer from acid reflux and have not been paying attention to how you are living, then it is time to make some important changes. Acid reflux sufferers generally find it useful to adopt specific lifestyle habits to help alleviate the symptoms that they face. Here is a brief summary of 10 lifestyle changes that you can make:

1. Have small meals at frequent intervals. Consuming large meals causes your stomach to expand and this increases the pressure in the esophageal sphincter. When this happens, your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) finds it difficult to stay closed. When you eat less at a meal and more frequently, the risk of getting acid reflux is reduced.

2. Make food choices that are most helpful to you. You should consume more foods that rarely cause heartburn and avoid those that cause heartburn. Proper selection of food would differ from person to person. Also, try to limit the amount of acid stimulating foods and beverages. Removing coffee, tea, caffeinated and carbonated beverages, spices, onions, pepper, tomatoes and tomato based products, citrus fruits, fried and fatty foods, chocolate and peppermint from your diet is also helpful.

3. Wait for at least three hours after a meal before lying down. The acid breaking down the food may flow down upwards, if you lie down sooner than three hours. Lying down just right after a meal tends to trigger acid reflux symptoms such as heartburn. Hence, make plans for regular early dinners and try not to eat late night suppers or snacks.

4. Elevate your head while sleeping. The fourth lifestyle change to keep your head elevated a few inches while sleeping. By laying down flat, you put pressure on the stomach's contents against the LES. Elevating the head a few inches results in higher gravity that helps reduce this pressure.

5. Keep to a reasonable and healthy weight. Obesity is known to create abdominal pressure, which pushes stomach contents into the esophagus. In fact, experts say that even a 10 percent drop in weight will improve many people's heartburn symptoms significantly.

6. Give up smoking. Another lifestyle change is to stop smoking. This is especially if you suffer from severe heartburn symptoms. Cigarette smoke increases saliva production and lowers the amounts of bicarbonates in the saliva, which help to neutralize stomach acid. Therefore, the longer you smoke, the more your body will be unable to keep down the stomach acid.

7. Refrain from alcohol. You should not be drinking alcohol if you suffer from acid reflux. However if you still want an alcoholic beverage, then limit yourself to rare occasions.

8. De-stress and relax. Simply resting the body and mind can help ease heartburn symptoms. Although, stress is not directly related to heartburn, it can lead to bodily reactions that trigger heartburn. When you are under stress, you may not stick to your regular eating and exercise plan. This plan may have been put in place because of your acid reflux and should be adhered to always.

9. Select clothes that are loose fitting. Try not to wear belts or clothes that are tight fitting around the waist. This will squeeze the stomach and force food up against the LES causing food to reflux into the esophagus.

10. Maintain an acid reflux journal. It is suggested that you keep a record about your acid reflux condition. Maintaining a journal will help. In your journal, maintain records of what you eat and when you eat. Then make notes on what triggers your acid reflux and how severe each time you have an attack. Observe your own bodily reactions and what you do to find aid. When you visit your doctor, bring your journal with you so that you can plan on suitable lifestyle changes with his assistance.

Author's Bio: 

It is possible to treat acid reflux symptoms with diet and lifestyle changes. Visit http://www.treat-acid-reflux.com for more information on how you can help yourself.