The holiday party season is in full swing, and that means one thing: endless opportunities to overindulge.
From one too many sugar cookies to an eggnog overdose, it’s easy to forget something called portion control during the holidays. This can be rough on the digestive system—especially for those suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
GERD is a condition that causes digested food to leak backward from the stomach to the esophagus (also known as the swallowing tube). This can cause irritation of the esophagus and lead to uncomfortable heartburn.
Local nutrition consultant Faye Mitchell says one of the easiest ways to avoid getting heartburn is to eat slowly. “When you’re doing all that chatting at a party, you tend to inhale your food,” she says. Slowing down will give your body the chance to digest properly. She also cautions against eating a rich dinner and then immediately hitting the dance floor.
In addition to moderating portion sizes and following Mitchell’s tips above, those who tend to suffer from heartburn may want to avoid these five types of foods at all those holiday parties and dinners.
Those striped candy canes may be pretty, but they can irritate the digestive track. While things like mint tea can be soothing to some, to others, peppermint is another heartburn producer. Instead of sucking on a piece of peppermint candy after dinner, try chewing fruity gum.
2. Onions and garlic
While onions can help lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels, they’re also one of the most common triggers of acid reflux and heartburn. Avoid raw onions and cooked onions doused in oil.
3. Hot peppers
Spicy foods are known to irritate the esophagus and cause great bodily discomfort, leading to heartburn and indigestion. For those who love that extra kick to their meals but can’t stand the aftermath, avoid spicy foods for a while, then slowly introduce milder versions into your diet.
4. Citrus fruits
Highly acidic foods such as citrus fruits and tomatoes are likely to cause heartburn or worsen acid reflux. Culprits include tomato sauce, ketchup, orange juice, and lemonade, to name a few.
We know, this is the last thing you want to hear, given that your company holiday party finally has an open bar this year. However, “the more you drink, the more your inhibitions are lowered, causing you to eat more,” Mitchell says. Practice moderation, and remember to eat and drink slowly.
Photographs courtesy of Flickr users JD Hancock.