Those with GERD deal with those uncomfortable symptoms year round. Unfortunately, the holidays present an even bigger challenge as we want to enjoy lots of comfort foods, and it can be easy to forget what to avoid. If you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease, here are some ideas how to manage it through the holidays.
Acid, Heartburn, and Burning, Oh My!
If you find yourself with the burning feeling in your throat after eating on more than two occasions per week, you probably have chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease. Acid from your stomach builds up and comes back up into your esophagus after eating and especially after lying down.
Cut Back A Bit
Your favorite meal is tempting, but you know it will only give you those terrible symptoms later. Instead of digging in, cut back a bit on how much you eat. Try smaller portions, and you may find it will reduce or eliminate the symptoms.
At the same time, eat your meal more slowly than you normally do. Put your fork down between bites, swallow, and then begin again. Not only will this technique help you feel fuller more quickly, you will find this may help you to digest better and improve your sleep.
Note your position while eating. Mom always told you to sit up straight and there are many valuable reasons for that advice. Sit up in your chair; don’t lean over to eat. After dinner, move around, walk, and don’t lie down for several hours.
It seems simple enough, but many of us forget how that little step can help with digestion. Give yourself enough time to eat and still have a few hours before bedtime. Then use a few pillows to prop your head up in bed to avoid acid coming back into your esophagus. These two simple changes can make a world of difference.
Know Your Worst Triggers
By now you hopefully know what foods or drinks cause you the most grief. Caffeine, spicy foods, tomatoes, alcohol, or chocolate are among the worst. Skip those during the holidays or for certain, limit them. In addition, drink more water instead of alcohol or carbonated drinks.
The holidays may seem like the worst time of year to engage in such a difficult task, but if you really want to improve your symptoms, this is the one to do. Smoking can cause some of the very worst symptoms of GERD, so consider making this one big change.
You can still enjoy the holidays without depriving yourself of the foods you love by modifying how and when you eat.