We usually want to binge eat during the holiday season and we wait for it to arrive soon so that we can eat our favourite food. To add to it, the foods we usually want to eat more are richer, fattier foods that are slow to empty the stomach.
A typical scene we experience at our homes post the massive holiday lunch/dinner is lounging around, and watching favourite shows/cricket/football matches. Well, sitting around, lying down and overindulgence can easily put a downer to your holiday festivities. How? It not only keeps all the food trapped in our stomach but also lets gravity give stomach acid an extra boost to creep into the oesophagus. And before you can say ‘Gaajar Ka Halwa’, your unwanted guest has arrived: Acid reflux!
Your guide to managing acid reflux this Christmas: Some quick-fix tips
Heartburn/acidity results in the digestive tract, causing pain in the chest and is majorly triggered by fatty/junk foods, alcohol and huge meals. So, when heartburn strikes, get ready to say no to those sweets and savouries lying in your kitchen.
Or, you can also learn to manage your acidity problems like a pro. Read on to find out how:
1. Prevent indigestion with Peppermint tea
You should try Peppermint tea if you suffer from indigestion. However, avoid peppermint if you have heartburn as it can cause further discomfort.
Pick some mint leaves fresh from the plant and put them in a mug of hot water. If you don’t have fresh mint, use mint tea bags.
2. Get rid of heartburn with Ginger
For centuries, ginger is used for treating digestive problems. Ginger helps soothe heartburn by reducing the production of stomach acid. It also helps relieve nausea, which may be useful after an indulgent Christmas meal!
Try a few slices of root ginger in hot water as a gentle ginger tea.
3. Allay discomfort with Apple Cider Vinegar
The acidity of apple cider vinegar mimics your stomach acid, making it easier for proper digestion of food, especially fatty foods.
Stir apple cider vinegar (one teaspoon to two tablespoons) into a glass of water and drink it before a meal.
4. Calm things down with Coriander seeds
These are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and for relieving indigestion. Coriander has more of a cooling effect as well as stimulating the production of digestive enzymes.
Combine a teaspoon of coriander seed powder in hot water for a simple indigestion remedy.
5. Soften the pain with Baking Soda
Taking baking soda/sodium bicarbonate causes neutralisation of excess acid, making you feel comfortable again. Baking soda shouldn’t be used often.
Drink half a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water and keep drinking it every two hours until you feel better.
6. Loosen clothing to feel relaxed
Tight clothing can make you feel uncomfortable, especially if you are sitting down and eating. Your stomach needs some room to expand a little, so tight-fitting shapewear or belts that push your stomach in can leave you feeling sick, or cause heartburn.
Wear loose-fitting clothes so that you do not need to loosen your belt during a meal.
Avoid the following acidity and heartburn triggers, this Christmas –
- Meats such as beef and fatty chicken wings
- Crisps, chocolates, sweets, biscuits, cakes
- Acidic fruit juices – orange, lemon, grapefruit, cranberry, and tomato juice
- Alcohol and caffeine – spirits and wine can cause heartburn – you may want to skip post-dinner tea/coffee too
- Dairy – cream, ice cream, mayonnaise, and even cottage cheese
- Spaghetti and pasta – these contain grains, which can cause acid reflux
If you are predisposed to acidity, do consider taking an acid-lowering medicine.
Medicines for controlling acid reflux and heartburn –
While lifestyle changes must be the first choice for managing acidity, some people may require medications to prevent/treat acid reflux and heartburn. Your doctor may suggest certain medications that provide relief from acid reflux, such as:
- Antacids that neutralise stomach acids: They provide quick relief but do not heal an inflamed oesophagus damaged by stomach acid, e.g., Calcium Carbonate.
- H2-receptor blockers that reduce acid production: They might not act as quickly as antacids, but provide longer relief and may decrease acid production from the stomach for up to 12 hours, e.g., Famotidine or Cimetidine
- Proton pump inhibitors that block acid production and heal the oesophagus: They are stronger acid blockers than H2-receptor blockers and provide time for damaged oesophagal tissue to heal, e.g., Omeprazole, Lansoprazole, Pantoprazole and Esomeprazole.
For severe acid reflux, Omeprazole, a proton pump inhibitor, is the most effective treatment and shows highest published evidence regarding its safety profile. All PPIs show similar efficacy. However, since the past 25 years, Omeprazole has remained a valuable treatment for clinicians owing to its effectiveness and safety in acid reflux and heartburn and remains the most used PPI globally with more than 40% prescription share worldwide.
Everyone deserves to eat and drink whatever they love, especially during the time of Christmas. But gorging on too much fatty or junk food may end up giving you a niggle. Good digestion is a great feeling and makes you feel good keeping the fun on. Keep these tips and tricks in mind in case you end up with heartburn or acidity. Make a resolution to yourself to be acidity-free in the coming year and have a happier Christmas eve!
Know more about Omeprazole