Rich food, spicy food, smoking, drinking too many holiday toasts—they all can lead to that unpleasant burning sensation known as heartburn! Here come the holiday feast festivals! Help!
BEAT HOLIDAY HEARTBURN
WHAT IS HEARTBURN?
It’s an irritation of your esophagus (the tube that connects your throat to your stomach). It is caused by stomach acid that has got past your lower esophageal sphincter (LES) valve and into your esophagus.
WHO GETS IT?
20% of all Americans get heartburn periodically. 50% of all pregnant women get heartburn. Pregnancy hormones alone can cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax. During the 2nd and 3rd trimesters when the uterus is pushing the uterus more heavily into the LES, heartburn can get quite severe.
Obesity, constipation, pregnancy—conditions that can distend your stomach and relax your LES.
Relief: Ask your doctor about over-the-counter meds such as Tums or Maalox. Wear loose-fitting clothes. Eat slowly and drink less while eating. Eat several small meals a day instead of 3 large ones. Don’t lie down right after eating. Chew cinnamon (natural anti-acid) gum after meals.
Foods: Tomatoes, citrus fruits, garlic, onions, chocolate, caffeinated products, alcohol, carbonated drinks, mints.
Relief: Avoid or limit your intake of these foods. Substitute other foods where possible. Avoid carbonated sodas and wines. Add cinnamon to your tea (or coffee).
Fats, oils and strong spices
Relief: Avoid or severely limit intake of any food that’s been dowsed in fats, oils or heavy spices. Don’t add more fats (e.g. butter, olive oil) or spices to your food. Chew cinnamon gum after you eat. Many people also find candied ginger, in small amounts, to be good for heartburn. (In large amounts it may disagree with you.)
Stress, lack of sleep
Relief: During the holidays, make a special point of getting a full night’s sleep. If need be, schedule an afternoon nap. Don’t take on extra tasks.
Relief: Stop smoking.