As the family holidays approach, and big meals begin to surround you, you may be worried about something, and we don’t just mean those awkward extended-family conversations. We’re talking about that burning sensation known as acid reflux that accompanies certain meals.
Don't let heartburn ruin family time — stop acid reflux in its tracks with our top doctor-approved methods for acid reflux relief methods to try at home.
What Exactly Is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux occurs when acid from your stomach backs up and flows into your esophagus, causing tissue to become irritated in the process.
Symptoms of acid reflux include burning pain in the chest, commonly known as heartburn, which often feels worse when you lie down. Other symptoms may also develop, such as regurgitation of stomach fluid and sore throat or hoarseness due to irritation especially noticed in the morning.
With a few simple tweaks, you will see how to avoid heartburn, and if you must, find acid reflux relief so you can focus on what really matters this holiday season.
Top Doctor-Approved Tips
- Know Your Triggers & Avoid Them
If you have lived with acid reflux for very long, then you probably know which foods and drinks are most likely to trigger your acid reflux.
Common offenders include foods high in fat, like bacon, soft cheese, poultry skin and of course, anything that involves butter. High-fat foods tend to sit around in your stomach longer, causing your stomach to produce more acid and irritating your digestive system.
Other triggers include alcohol and caffeinated drinks, as well as highly-acidic foods like tomatoes, citrus and spicy foods.
Whatever your triggers, try to limit them when you can. Be sure to check out our own list of acid reflux foods to avoid at the bottom of this post!
- Don’t Overeat
We get it. You wait all year for your favorite holiday meals, only to find yourself overindulging, but is the short-term pleasure really worth the burning pain that comes after?
Along with high-fat foods and late-night meals, overeating is one of the quickest ways to develop acid reflux and heartburn.
When you have too much food in your belly, your stomach stretches, putting pressure on your lower esophagus, which helps keep stomach acids moving in the right direction. This can happen when overeating any type of food, not only your trigger foods.
Instead of filling your plate to the brim and going back for seconds, try eating smaller portions and space out the time between these smaller meals. Get a head start and stop acid reflux before it begins by avoiding overeating.
- Watch Your Alcohol Intake
Another top culprit for acid reflux complications is alcohol. Because alcohol relaxes the esophagus sphincter muscle, it’s easier for acid to spill back up into your throat.
Furthermore, alcohol also lowers your inhibitions, making it all the easier to indulge in the trigger foods and drinks that may come back to haunt you later.
We recommend only one drink or glass of wine with your meal. Otherwise, stick to sipping water to help dilute stomach acid and make you feel more comfortable.
- Skip the Nap and Go for a Walk
One of the best tips when figuring out how to avoid heartburn is to stay upright. When you lie down, acid from your stomach has an easier time making its way up to your esophagus. Being situated in a horizontal position aggravates reflux further.
Let gravity fight half of the battle! Instead of falling victim to that seemingly inevitable food coma, choose to go for a relaxing walk after your big holiday meal.
Not only will you find acid reflux relief after a nice stroll, but you will also help promote digestion of that big meal and you may even get a boost of much-needed energy.
- Try this Homeopathic Remedy
Before you sit down to enjoy a big meal with your family, here’s an at-home remedy to help prevent acid reflux. Add either 1 teaspoon or 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to 8 ounces of water and mix well. You can also add honey to help curb the sour taste. Drink this 30 minutes before eating to reduce some acidity in the stomach.
- Bonus: Acid Reflux Foods to Avoid
If you want to keep your stomach and esophagus happy this holiday season, try to limit your intake of the following acid reflux triggering foods and drinks:
- High-fat foods: whole milk, soft cheeses, poultry skin, fried foods
- Processed meats: corned beef, bacon, sausage
- Citrus foods: oranges, lemons, limes, orange juice, cranberry sauce
- Highly acidic foods: tomatoes and tomato products, certain dairy products
- Spicy foods: pepper, spicy sausage stuffing
- Caffeine: coffee, soda, tea
- Alcohol and seltzers
The Bottom Line
Stop acid reflux before it starts and be ready to find acid reflux relief with these four helpful tips. Why settle for a holiday get-together that leaves you feeling overstuffed, uncomfortable and battling the burning pain of acid reflux? Start preparing your plan of attack now, so you can know how to avoid heartburn anytime it arises.
Need a little more than these helpful hints or if more symptomatic? Book an appointment today with our specialists!