Come November, fall celebrations switch from spooky to festive, and we look ahead to the feasting frenzy of Thanksgiving. And while many of us will indulge in familiar favorites like gravy, stuffing, and cranberry sauce without too much consequence, this heavy holiday fare can wreak havoc on those who suffer from acid reflux.
According to the American College of Gastroenterology, up to 20% of the US population has GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). If you suffer from reflux symptoms, learn how you can prevent holiday heartburn with just a few simple steps.
How to avoid holiday heartburn
- Enjoy in moderation. Overeating is a surefire way to trigger that awful acidic sensation in the chest. Instead of gorging on fatty, reflux-inducing foods, stick to small samples and skip the second helping.
- Slow your roll. Eating too quickly can contribute to heartburn. Be sure to pace yourself and savor your meal.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine. Having a celebratory drink is probably OK, but the more you drink, the more likely you are to experience acid reflux. The same goes for coffee and other caffeinated beverages.
- Know dessert dangers. Chocolate, citrus, and peppermint are common holiday dessert ingredients—and acid reflux triggers. Know what sets off your heartburn and try to avoid it. If it’s too hard to stay away, limit your portion and enjoy it slowly.
- Keep moving. After a big turkey day meal, it might be your instinct to crash out on the couch and watch football or a movie. But, lying down too quickly ups your chances of heartburn. Try a walk around the neighborhood or a flag football game with the family. Activity will aid in digestion.
- Plan ahead. If you frequently experience heartburn, it’s a good idea to keep medication on hand over the holidays.