Good news: Several of the things you’re undoubtedly already doing to maintain your overall health seem to lower your chances of developing gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or chronic heartburn, a recent study hints.
By Wendy Haaf
Affecting about one in three North Americans, GERD occurs when stomach acid flows back up into the tube connecting the mouth and stomach. Using the health records of 43,000 women (who were 52 years old, on average, when they enrolled in the study, and who were then followed for 10 years), researchers identified 9,300 who later reported having GERD symptoms that occurred at least once a week.
Each of five lifestyle factors was independently tied to a lower likelihood of symptoms: not smoking; drinking two or fewer cups of coffee, tea, or soda daily; eating a prudent diet (high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, fish, and whole grains); getting 30 or more minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily; and having a body mass index (BMI) in what’s considered to be the ideal range (18.5 to 24.9). Compared to participants with none of these lifestyle traits, subjects with all five had half the incidence of GERD.
Source: JAMA Internal Medicine