(WXYZ) – Acid reflux is a common health complaint and one that I often hear from my patients. Heartburn, chest pain and nausea are the trademark symptoms people suffer with.
But there’s a silent reflux you can have and you might not even know it.
It’s called Laryngopharyngeal reflux or LPR. It affects your voice box and the back of your mouth when acid from your stomach flows up the esophagus or swallowing tube into your throat.
A recent study focused on patients diagnosed with LPR, splitting them into two groups. One group switched to a Mediterranean-style diet and drank alkaline water for 6 weeks.
The other group took traditional medications called PPI’s, which stands for proton pump inhibitors. Researchers found the mostly plant-based diet to be just as effective in treating symptoms as those who took the drugs.
This is not surprising because food is medicine. Plant foods are nutritious and can calm inflammation. Drinking alkaline water can also help by neutralizing excess acid. We know that lifestyle changes make a huge difference so here are my prescriptions:
1. Choose healthy plant foods like beans, vegetables and nuts. Eat smaller meals and don’t eat 2 hours before bedtime.
2. Avoid trigger foods like spicy, fatty or fried foods along with chocolate, tomato sauce, mint and garlic. You should also watch your alcohol and caffeine intake as these can also trigger reflux.
3. Keep your weight healthy. Extra pounds can put pressure on your stomach which can cause acid to flow up into your esophagus.
4. Don’t smoke. Smoking affects how your esophageal sphincter functions – that’s a small muscle that prevents acid from leaving your stomach.
Some people can feel symptoms for Laryngopharyngeal reflux and they include a bitter taste in the mouth, sore throat, hoarseness and difficulty swallowing.
Prescription or over-the-counter PPI drugs may be helpful, but some studies have shown those drugs don’t work that well for LPR.
And they’re really only for short-term use. Using them long-term may increase your risk of stroke, heart attack and an early death.
I personally recommend eating a healthy diet, regular exercise and avoiding your trigger foods.
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