No. 1 thing you can do to calm heartburn and acid reflux is losing weight

Reflux redux

Here’s something that should be on your radar: heartburn, bloating, nausea after meals–all of the symptoms of acid reflux. It’s a fairly common occurrence that most people don’t think too much about.

The trouble is, acid reflux is more than just a little burping and burning. When it occurs, acid from your stomach actually “refluxes” into your esophagus. Over time, all that acid can cause some major damage.

And, according to a recent report in the journal Gut, this problem is much more prevalent than ever before. In fact, these researchers found that rates of acid reflux have nearly doubled over the last decade.

They looked at data on just under 30,000 people living in Norway and found a 47 percent increase in people reporting once-weekly heartburn symptoms during an 11-year period. While the upsurge was substantial among men and women, the more severe cases were mainly among middle-aged women, researchers reported.

So if you do experience acid reflux, what can you do about it?

Well, I’m not a fan of antacids because they just mask the problem. Plus, they just aren’t very effective.

Avoiding very heavy meals and steering clear of overly spicy or greasy foods can help.  (You know that “greasy” is never good for you anyway!)

But the No. 1 thing you can do to calm heartburn and acid reflux is losing weight. It really comes down to that. Even dropping five to 10 pounds can help. Just aim for those first five pounds, and you’ll do your health–and your gut–a big favor.