How to Keep Acid Reflux Under Control Over the Holidays
- Office parties, other evening events and holiday cheer, not to mention stress, make the holidays the biggest reflux time of the year.
- The most important reflux risk factors are over-eating, over-drinking (alcohol), high-calorie, high-fat food AND eating/drinking too late, too close to bedtime.
- Just because you’re on medicine like Nexium or Prilosec does NOT mean you are protected. While medicine can help with some symptoms, no medicine alone stops reflux. Only a healthy diet and lifestyle can do that.
You may be surprised to learn that the holiday season is the worst time of year for reflux. There are many reasons for this: stress, travel, parties, and lots of rich food. When it comes to holiday celebrations, many people with reflux forget about moderation and overeat and over-drink. They think that they can eat their cake and have it too.
If you have acid reflux, the holiday season is a time for you to be especially vigilant and exercise more restraint than any other time of year. Remember, the single most significant reflux risk factor is eating and drinking too late.
Preventing Holiday Reflux: What to Avoid
No carbonated beverages (all carbonated beverages, particularly those with caffeine)
No bottled fruit or energy drinks (unfortunately, these are acidified to prolong shelf life)
No more than one-two glasses of eggnog, beer, or wine a day
No chocolate, sorry! It’s the number one reflux trigger food)
Avoid garlic and onions, mainly if they are in a greasy sauce
No bacon, barbecue, or sausages (no high-fat meats)
Avoid fried food (foods sautéed in olive oil are okay, but no deep-fried food)
Just one plate of food from the buffet (overeating is asking for reflux)
No late-night eating; if you eat too close to bedtime, you are going to have reflux while you sleep
Avoid most holiday cookies (Actually, sugar cookies are probably one of the better holiday treats for people who have reflux, as long as they are not also high in fat or chocolate)
No matter what time of year it is, the healthiest reflux foods are grains (cereal, bread, etc.), rice, poultry, fish, and vegetables. These do not change no matter what time of year it is.
Suppose you do have nighttime or silent reflux and you are eating late. In that case, you may want to consider taking an antacid, Gaviscon Advance Aniseed, or an over-the-counter medicine like famotidine (Pepcid) before going to your party and at bedtime, especially if you have heartburn, cough, or any other respiratory reflux symptom.