GERD Guide for the Holiday Season

Although heartburn or GERD occurs in different people differently, certain food and drinks can trigger heartburn or worsen the existing condition and it is best to avoid such food items. There is no one size fits all treatment for GERD patients when it comes to avoiding certain foods and making lifestyle changes.

As the upcoming holiday season promises to bring with it lots of parties, feasts and scrumptious buffets, it could also result in binge eating and drinking, irregular meal intakes and late meals. Dr. Amal Upadhyay, Consultant Gastroenterology, Aster Hospital Mankhoolshares a few tips to reduce GERD symptoms this festive season:

1. Avoid overeating and avoid sleeping with a full stomach, eating meals at least 2 or 3 hours before going to bed will give the food enough time to digest. So schedule those buffets early.

2. Losing some weight will help reduce heartburn. If you are overweight, there are still a few weeks to go, shedding some extra fat will greatly help lessen the symptoms of heartburn as excess weight, particularly around the belly increases the risk of gastro-esophageal reflux.

3. Alcohol is one of the main and most commonly reported causes of heartburn. There are also certain juices which when mixed with alcohol may trigger GERD. Choose your drinks carefully. Fizzy drinks, including beer and sparkling wine, have a greater tendency to reflux into the esophagus.

4. Smoking must be avoided. Make a new resolution this season. There is a very close link between smoking and GERD. Smoking reduces salivation and increases acid secretion in the stomach. It also makes anti-reflux medications less effective.

5. Keep away from foods that trigger heartburn and you will have a happier time.

  • Peppermint contains certain chemicals that stimulate the release of stomach acids.
  • Hot and spicy food tends to irritate the esophageal lining, avoiding this can help reduce the symptoms of GERD.
  • Carbonated and caffeinated drinks tend to reduce the effectiveness of the gastro-esophageal junction and allow reflux to occur more easily.
  • Acidic and citrus foods can irritate the lining of esophagus and precipitate symptoms in predisposed individuals.
  • Highly fatty food tends to stay longer in the stomach allowing more opportunity for gastro-esophageal reflux to happen.

Certain food and drinks are more likely to cause GERD, but the effect varies from person to person. A change in one’s diet can go a long way in ensuring that the symptoms of GERD do not manifest themselves and keep you happy and healthy all through the season.

Dr. Amal Premchandra Upadhyay

Consultant Gastroenterologist 

Aster Hospital Mankhool 

To know more about Dr. Amal Premchandra Upadhyay