Reducing Holiday Acid Reflux Flare Ups

B.S. Dietetics, Dietitian, Health Professional

The food functions of the holiday season can be very overwhelming if you have acid reflux.  Candy at Halloween, huge Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners as well as a ton of other food functions can make this time of year a pain—literally.  Use these simple tips to keep the burn at bay and enjoy the holiday season without a flare up of your acid reflux.

Remember your medications.
This time of year is usually hectic for most people.  The last thing you want to forget in the chaos is your acid reflux medication.  Set your timer or an alert on your cell phone to insure that you take your medications on time every day.  It's also important to make sure you have enough of your medications on hand to cover the days when the pharmacy or physician's office is closed over the holidays.

Eat before you go.
If you are headed out to a food related function, eat a healthy snack before you go.  While it may sound counter-intuitive to eat before a meal, a small snack can help prevent binge eating later.   A healthy snack can also help to tide you over in case there are very few burn-free foods available.

Don't over eat
People tend to use the holidays as an excuse for an all out binge fest!  Even if you stick to foods that are not triggers for your acid reflux - overeating will still bring on the burn.  Try to eat several smaller meals throughout the day so your aren't as tempted to overeat at that special dinner.  Eating slowly and savoring the smaller meal can help keep you from reaching for more food.

Limit alcohol.
Alcohol lowers the pressure in the LES and causes the stomach contents to splash up and burn the esophagus.   Alcohol can also lower your inhibitions which may make it harder to keep your resolve not to overeat or avoid trigger foods.  Try to avoid alcohol whenever possible or limit yourself to only one serving.

Skip the post meal nap.
Nix the nap after your holiday dinner.  Laying down after eating a meal is just asking for heartburn trouble!  Instead, spend that time chatting with family, taking a walk, seeing a movie or playing a fun game.  Save the sleeping for hours after all of your food has digested.

With a few of these simple tips you can make it through the holidays without causing a flare up of your acid reflux.

_Jennifer has a bachelor's degree in dietetics as well as graduate work in public health and nutrition.  She has worked with families dealing with digestive disease, asthma and food allergies for the past 12 years.  Jennifer also serves the Board of Directors for Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association (PAGER). _

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