Did your Thanksgiving feast leave you bloated, tired, and with terrible heartburn? Though heartburn can regularly show-up after a big meal, the symptoms can be a sign of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). You experience acid reflux and heartburn when the lower end of the esophagus loses its tone and is unable to open and close after food enters the stomach. This allows acid from the stomach to back up into the esophagus, which creates a burning sensation in the “heart” area. Avoid GERD by following these simple steps to ensure a healthy esophagus, stomach, and that you enjoy your meals even after you eat them.
Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. A large meal, though hard to avoid during the holiday season, remains in the stomach for 4-6 hours, increasing the possibility for gastroesophageal reflux. Therefore, eat 4-5 meals a day instead of 2 or 3. Eating pre-measured snacks or using smaller plates is a great way to avoid over eating. Also, if you are at a restaurant, ask the waiter/waitress to take away the bread basket, or put half of your meal in a to-go container as soon as you have half of an empty plate left.
Sit up while you eat and stay upright for at least 2-3 hours consuming a meal. Remaining in an upright position helps the gravity of the mechanics in your body work more efficiently. You should refrain from bending over, lying down, or lifting heavy objects for at least three hours after a meal.
Avoid foods that have a reputation to burn, or ones you have a particular reaction to. You are the best judge to know which particular foods give you heart burn, however; abstain from foods or drinks that increase acid secretion. This will help keep key muscles from having trouble opening and closing. These foods include high-fat foods, spicy dishes, carbonated drinks, coffee, and alcohol.
A healthy lifestyle and tip-top dietary choices can help keep your digestive muscles strong and your entire body robust. Pay attention to how you feel and make changes accordingly. This way you get to your health problems before they get to you.