You may be able to prevent or reduce acid reflux symptoms with a few lifestyle changes, including eating dinner earlier, adjusting your sleeping position, and avoiding certain acidic foods and drinks.

Most of us are all too familiar with the painful, burning sensation in the center of the chest that’s associated with heartburn.

In fact, between 18.1-27.8% of adults in the United States experience gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a common condition that causes heartburn. GERD occurs when acid is pushed up from the stomach back into the esophagus, which leads to a heartburn sensation.

Although people often use medications to treat acid reflux and heartburn, many lifestyle modifications can also help you reduce symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Here are 14 natural ways to reduce your acid reflux and heartburn, all backed by scientific research.

Research shows that sleeping on your left side can help decrease acid reflux at night. According to one review, lying on your left side may decrease acid exposure in the esophagus by up to 71%.

Although the reason is not entirely clear, it could be explained by the anatomy of the esophagus. The esophagus enters the right side of the stomach, so sleeping on the left side keeps acid away from the lower esophageal sphincter.

The sphincter is normally responsible for keeping acid and your undigested food from coming back up to your throat, but different things can cause this to malfunction, such as your sleeping position, for example.


If you experience acid reflux at night, try sleeping on the left side of your body.

Some people experience acid reflux at night, which can affect sleep quality and make it more difficult to fall asleep.

One review of four studies found that elevating the head of the bed decreased acid reflux and improved symptoms like heartburn and regurgitation in people with GERD.


Elevating the head of your bed may reduce your reflux symptoms at night.

According to the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFGD), if you experience acid reflux, you should try to eat dinner a few hours before going to bed.

Consider also having your big meal of the day at lunch so that your dinner can be lighter. Research shows that going to bed with undigested food, particularly if you’ve eaten a heavy meal, can worsen your symptoms at night.


Eating close to bedtime may worsen acid reflux symptoms at night.

4. Opt for cooked onions instead of raw

Raw onions are a common trigger for gastrointestinal symptoms like acid reflux and heartburn.

This is because raw onions are more difficult to digest and might irritate the lining of the esophagus, causing worsened heartburn. If you like to eat onions, consider eating them cooked.


Some people experience worsened heartburn and other reflux symptoms after eating raw onions.

5. Eat smaller, more frequent meals

The lower esophageal sphincter is a muscle that acts as a valve between the stomach and the esophagus. In people with acid reflux, this muscle is weakened or dysfunctional, causing acid to flow up into the esophagus.

Unsurprisingly, many reflux symptoms take place after a meal. Therefore, eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day may help reduce symptoms of acid reflux.


Acid reflux usually increases after meals, and larger meals seem to make it worse.

6. Maintain a moderate weight

However, if you have excess belly fat, the pressure in your abdomen may become so high that the lower esophageal sphincter gets pushed upward, away from the support of the diaphragm.

This condition, known as hiatal hernia, is considered the leading cause of GERD.

Furthermore, research shows that having excess belly fat may be associated with a higher chance of acid reflux and GERD. Obesity, in general, is associated with a greater chance of getting GERD due to greater pressure within the abdominal cavity.

If you’re interested in weight loss as a way to manage acid reflux, speak with your doctor first to determine if it’s right for you and, if so, how you can lose weight safely and sustainably.


Losing belly fat and maintaining a moderate weight might relieve some of your symptoms of GERD.

7. Follow a low carb diet

Research shows that eating a high carb diet can worsen acid reflux, and reducing your carb intake can help reduce the symptoms of GERD.

Some researchers suspect that undigested carbs may cause bacterial overgrowth and increased pressure inside the abdomen, which could contribute to acid reflex.

Having too many undigested carbs in your digestive system can often cause not only gas and bloating but also burping.


Some research suggests that poor carb digestion and bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine may result in acid reflux.

8. Limit your alcohol intake

Drinking alcohol may increase the severity of acid reflux and heartburn. Research has shown that higher alcohol intake could be linked to increased symptoms of acid reflux.

That’s because alcohol increases stomach acid, relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, and impairs the ability of the esophagus to clear out acid.


Excessive alcohol intake can worsen acid reflux symptoms.

9. Don’t drink too much coffee

Research has found that coffee also temporarily may relax the lower esophageal sphincter, increasing the chance of acid reflux.

However, research findings are inconclusive, with older research not finding an association between coffee consumption and acid reflux symptoms


Evidence suggests that coffee may make acid reflux and heartburn worse.

10. Limit your intake of carbonated beverages

Research shows that regular consumption of carbonated or fizzy beverages, including soft drinks, club soda, and seltzer, could be linked to a higher chance of reflux.

This may be because the carbon dioxide that gives these drinks their bubbles can cause you to burp more, which can increase the acid coming out of your esophagus.

One study found that carbonated soft drinks, in particular, worsened certain acid reflux symptoms, including heartburn, fullness, and burping.


Drinking carbonated beverages temporarily increases the frequency of burping, which may promote acid reflux.

11. Don’t drink too much citrus juice

Many types of citrus juice, including orange juice and grapefruit juice, are considered common triggers for heartburn.

These ingredients are highly acidic and contain compounds like ascorbic acid, which could cause indigestion if you consume them in large amounts and may irritate the lining of your esophagus.

While citrus juice probably doesn’t cause acid reflux directly, it could make your heartburn worse temporarily.


Some people with acid reflux report that drinking citrus juice makes their symptoms worse.

12. Avoid mint, if needed

Peppermint and spearmint are common ingredients used to make herbal tea and add flavor to foods, candy, chewing gum, mouthwash, and toothpaste.

However, research shows that peppermint oil may decrease lower esophageal sphincter pressure, which may cause heartburn. Another study showed that menthol, a compound found in mint, could worsen reflux in people with GERD.

For this reason, it’s best to avoid mint if you feel that it makes your heartburn worse.


A few studies indicate that mint and some of the compounds it contains may aggravate heartburn and other reflux symptoms.

Fried foods and some other fatty foods may also be a trigger for GERD. Some research shows they may lead to heartburn. Examples include:

  • fried foods
  • potato chips
  • pizza
  • bacon
  • sausage

High-fat foods like these may contribute to heartburn by causing bile salts to be released into your digestive tract, which may irritate your esophagus.

They also appear to stimulate the release of cholecystokinin (CCK), a hormone in your bloodstream that may relax the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing stomach contents back into the esophagus.

One study looked at what happened when people with GERD ate high fat foods. More than half of the participants who had reported food triggers said they experienced GERD symptoms after eating high fat, fried foods.

That said, you do need some fat to stay healthy. Learn more about healthy fats vs unhealthy fats.


Foods that are high in fat may trigger GERD symptoms, including heartburn, in some people.

Your saliva helps to neutralize the acid that comes up from your stomach to your esophagus. But smoking can reduce the amount of saliva in your mouth.

Smoking also lowers the pressure in the lower esophageal sphincter, which can cause coughing and acid reflux. Research shows that quitting smoking can reduce the severity of your acid reflux or GERD.

Learn more about smoking and acid reflux.

How do you get rid of acid reflux fast?

The quickest way to get relief from acid reflux might be to take an antacid like Tums. Learn more about treatments for GERD and acid reflux.

What can I drink to get rid of acid reflux?

Certain herbal teas, low fat or plant-based milk, non-citrus fruit juice, coconut water, and sometimes just regular water may help reduce your acid reflux symptoms. Learn what to drink for acid reflux.

Will acid reflux go away naturally?

If you have temporary heartburn related to something you are or a mild form of GERD, your acid reflux may go away on its own after a few hours. In more serious cases, you may need medication and lifestyle changes to manage your symptoms.

The bottom line

Heartburn is an uncomfortable issue that can be caused by a variety of different factors. If you notice that your symptoms are worse after you have certain foods or beverages, it’s reasonable to limit or avoid these things.

Although there are many medications and treatment options available to ease heartburn, making a few simple changes to your diet and lifestyle may also be beneficial.

Try some of the tips above to find what works for you to reduce heartburn and acid reflux.