As we turn the corner toward Christmas, the holiday festivities kick into high gear. With all of the soirees, potlucks, and parties, it’s hard to resist the platters piled high with delicious foods…even when you know they may cause you discomfort later on. But if you struggle with heartburn or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), you’re considerably more likely to deal with painful acid reflux and other gastrointestinal symptoms.
That’s why we’ve compiled these tips for managing your reflux and keeping the cheer in your holiday season.
Let’s check it out.
Don’t constrict your stomach: Sure, wearing bodycon dresses or tight pants may prevent you from overeating. But constricting your stomach during digestion can actually make heartburn more likely. So when you sit down to a holiday meal, make sure you’re dressed for comfort, not constriction.
Is that veggie right for you? You'd be surprised the things that aggravate and calm acid reflux. When filling up your plate, reach first for these heartburn-friendly vegetables: carrots, cabbage, peas, broccoli, and green beans. Ginger (less than 4 grams per day) can help ease heartburn and pairs well with root vegetables. Steer clear of heavily spiced foods, as well as tomatoes, onions, garlic, and citrus.
Choose your carbs carefully: Mild carbohydrates like multigrain, whole wheat, corn, white breads, and oatmeal are good choices when avoiding heartburn. Specialty breads like jalapeño cheddar rolls or rich buttery croissants can aggravate your reflux, so think twice before blindly choosing from the bread basket.
Be selective: If you don’t absolutely love cornbread dressing, pass it up. By forgoing the likes and sticking to moderate portions of the loves, you’ll create a meal that satisfies your tastebuds and your appetite, without overfilling either.
Limit dairy products when building your plate: The less fat the better, so baked potatoes (with a small amount of low-fat sour cream and limited butter) are less likely to trigger heartburn than mashed potatoes. Stay away from macaroni and cheese—it is known for causing acid reflux.
Skip the skin: White meat, such as turkey or chicken breast, is less oily, lower in fat, and less likely to trigger acid reflux. But the skin of poultry contains high levels of fat that can counteract
Step away from the chocolate fountain: You’ve made good choices throughout the meal and you can end the meal on the right note by choosing your after-dinner digestives carefully. Chocolate, coffee, and alcohol are all known acid reflux triggers, so if you’re craving a little something extra after the holiday meal, aim for lighter options, like angel food cake or a fruit and yogurt parfait.
And of course…
Keep moving: Hop on the dancefloor, jump on a bike, or take a leisurely after-meal stroll. Staying active for thirty minutes following your meal can aid in digestion and prevent uncomfortable, painful reflux.
While these tips can help prevent heartburn during the holidays, it’s important to regularly consult with your gastroenterologist about your GERD symptoms and reflux treatment options. To schedule a consultation with the gastroesophageal specialists of Louisiana, call the Gastroenterology Associates at (225) 927-1190 or contact us here.