Diet and lifestyle improvement can reduce gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms
A large-scale, longstanding study of diet, lifestyle, and health has found that by adhering to specific guidelines, women can reduce more than one-third of the incidence of symptoms.
The findings from the Nurses’ Health Study, one of the longest-running studies of women’s health, show that five diet and lifestyle factors, including regular exercise, can make a significant impact on gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) or heartburn symptoms. It was published as a letter in JAMA Internal Medicine.
GERD is a common condition, affecting about a third of the US population; the main symptom is heartburn and it is often managed with medications. This new study suggests, however, that following diet and lifestyle guidelines may reduce symptoms substantially and could make medication unnecessary for some patients.
The five factors include normal weight, never smoking, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for at least 30 minutes daily, restricting coffee, tea and sodas to two cups daily, and a “prudent” diet.
“This study provides evidence that common and debilitating gastrointestinal symptoms could be well controlled in many cases with diet and lifestyle modifications alone,” says Andrew T. Chan, MD, MPH, the study’s senior author.