Even in moderation, alcohol is a major risk factor for acid reflux. Its adverse effect is that it relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, the valve between the stomach and the esophagus. If you fall asleep with a buzz, you’re probably going to reflux all night … and it’s usually Silent Respiratory Reflux (LPR).
Other dietary risk factors for reflux are chocolate, high-fat or fried food, and too-much acid in your diet, especially soft drinks, including energy drinks, fruit juices, sodas, seltzer, etc. Other lifestyle reflux risk factors are over-eating, eating too late at night, evening snacking and obesity.
Who Should Take the Reflux Challenge? Reflux is not just about heartburn, so should you consider taking the Dry January Reflux Challenge? If you have laryngitis, sinus or respiratory problems, allergies, post-nasal drip, chronic throat-clearing, asthma, bronchitis, shortness of breath or chronic cough, DO IT! No heartburn? You still may have reflux; take the quiz below.
THE REFLUX CHALLENGE: (1) No eating/drinking after dark and no snacking. If you live in other than the continental U.S., close the kitchen by 6:00 p.m.; (2) Do NOT drink any bottled or canned beverages (except still water, preferably alkaline water); (3) Consume a Low-Acid, Low-Fat Diet, e.g., no cheese or fatty meats, nothing fried, and no citrus; and (4) No alcohol … I assume that you are already doing this for Dry January.
My experience suggests that if you take this reflux challenge with diligence for the rest of the month (three weeks minimum for this detox program), you stand a three-out-of-four chance of making a big difference, that is, controlling your reflux!
How Do I Know If I Have Reflux? Take the quiz below
If your total score is 15 or more, there's a 90+% chance you have reflux.
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When Jamie Koufman gives advice, you should listen.
Dr. Koufman has been a world-renowned pioneer in acid reflux for decades. Through her medical practice and scientific research, Dr. Koufman almost single-handedly advanced our understanding of the interaction between digestive and respiratory disease. She has won prestigious awards and is a New York Times best-selling author for her books on reflux and chronic cough.