5 Ways to Avoid Heartburn This Holiday Season

According to a survey by the National Heartburn Alliance, 66 percent of Americans experience heartburn during the holiday season, but you don't have to be among them this year. Just making some simple adjustments to your eating habits and lifestyle will help you keep heartburn pain away. Some common symptoms of heartburn include:

  • A burning sensation in the chest that usually occurs shortly after eating
  • A burning feeling in the throat
  • A sour or bitter taste in the mouth

Here's how to put out the fire and enjoy the holiday festivities.

  • Avoid food triggers. There are a number of foods that can trigger heartburn, including spicy and fatty foods and chocolate. Some caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, sodas, juices, as well as alcohol-especially red wine-can also trigger the symptoms of heartburn. To learn what your specific food triggers are, try keeping a food diary for two weeks, writing down the foods you eat throughout the day and any reactions you may have. Then eliminate those foods from your diet to see if your symptoms diminish.
    Keep in mind that you may not have to give up your favorite foods entirely, experimenting with different varieties may help eliminate the burn. For example, if you love mashed potatoes but they give you heartburn, try eating baked potatoes instead. Just be sure to limit the amount of butter used and if you must have sour cream on your baked potato try the low-fat kind. And if turkey is your favorite holiday food choice, skip the skin and dark meat and eat the white parts of the turkey like the breast instead.
  • Don't smoke. Lifestyle choices can also wreck havoc on your digestive system, causing heartburn flare-ups. Smoking, being overweight and stress can all cause reflux attacks. Wearing tight-fitting clothing that restrict any part of the digestive system can also cause heartburn.
  • Don't overindulge. Eating too much food at one sitting or drinking too many fluids along with meals can lead to heartburn. Instead try eating smaller portions during holiday meals. You can always come back for seconds-and thirds!
  • Eat slowly. Don't rush through your meals. To slow things down, chew your food well and pause between bites.
  • Take a walk. Lying down after eating makes digestion difficult. Allow two hours to digest your food before lying down.  Elevating the head of your bed by placing six-inch blocks under the bedposts can help curb acid reflux.