The holidays give you an opportunity to spend time with family and friends. However, a big Thanksgiving meal also presents a chance to overeat. One report published last year says Americans may be consuming more than 4,500 calories during their holiday dinner.
Shortly after finishing your meal, you may feel the uncomfortable symptoms of acid reflux. Our physicians at Hawaii Gastroenterology Specialists have several tips that can help you avoid acid reflux during this year’s holiday season. Follow these five Thanksgiving tips so you can enjoy spending time with your loved ones instead of regretting that last serving of turkey.
1. Limit your portion sizes
The more food you put in your stomach, the easier it is for acid to enter your esophagus. When that happens, you can experience common acid reflux symptoms, such as a burning sensation in your chest and throat or regurgitation.
Limiting your portion sizes makes it possible to enjoy all of the delicious foods on the table without getting too full. Many people find that it helps to put food on smaller plates. The smaller plates can make you believe you’re still getting a big portion.
2. Avoid carbonated drinks
Carbonated drinks, especially sodas, can add to the discomfort of acid reflux. Skip sodas, beers, and other carbonated beverages that may upset your stomach. Flat water is your best option for avoiding acid reflux.
3. Don’t eat trigger foods
If you have a history of acid reflux, you probably know that some foods trigger the condition more than others. Stay away from the foods and drinks that affect you so you won’t agitate your stomach.
If you’re not sure what foods contribute to your acid reflux, avoid common triggers. Some of the most popular acid reflux triggers include:
- Garlic and onions
- Fatty or spicy foods
You should also avoid coffee, tea, and alcohol. If it doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving without a glass of wine, make sure you limit yourself to one small glass. It also helps to enjoy the drink sip by sip throughout the evening of eating.
4. Don’t take a nap after you eat
A belly full of high-carb foods makes a lot of people want to pass out on the couch. It doesn’t help that many families share the tradition of sitting around the television to watch parades and sports.
Going to sleep isn’t a good idea when you have a full stomach. When you lie down, stomach acid can seep into your esophagus. By staying upright, you keep foods and stomach acids where they belong.
Make sure you stay awake and upright for at least three hours after your holiday meal.
5. Wear loose clothing
Even though it’s best to limit your portion sizes, many people still overeat on Thanksgiving. It can be just too hard to avoid all of those delicious treats made for the traditional meal. If you don’t have the willpower to eat and drink in moderation, wear loose clothing that gives your stomach plenty of room to expand.
Tight clothing can restrict your belly as it fills with food. Eventually, the stomach acid is forced to move upward into your esophagus. A loose-fitting waistband make it less likely that you’ll have acid reflux.
Indigestion, heartburn, and the pain of acid reflux are often part of Thanksgiving for many people. You don’t have to overeat during the holidays to get acid reflux, though. Some people need medications and other treatments to prevent the condition.
If you think you have acid reflux, schedule an appointment at one of our locations in Aiea or Honolulu, Hawaii. The team at Hawaii Gastroenterology Specialists can diagnose your condition and find a solution that prevents uncomfortable acid reflux symptoms.