Tips For A Happy Tummy This Holiday Season

Shutterstock © Turkey on a Christmas dinner table

Christmas is a time for parties, get togethers and catch ups – and that tends to mean more eating and drinking! Unfortunately, that also means there’s a greater chance of suffering from heartburn.

Here are some ideas to help you manage heartburn over the holidays.

What is heartburn?

Heartburn is often described as an uncomfortable burning sensation usually felt in the centre of the chest that sometimes travels up to the throat. This sensation is common at night and is worse after eating, when bending over or while lying down. It can come with an unpleasant sour taste, bad breath, hiccups or coughing.

Heartburn is a form of indigestion caused by acid reflux or stomach acid travelling up the wrong way towards the throat. This happens when the muscular ring between the gullet or oesophagus and the stomach fails.

Last December, NHS Digital said there were an estimated 13,200 visits to the NHS website page on heartburn and acid reflux on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. That means it was viewed once every 13 seconds.

If you suffer from heartburn, that also means you’re not alone.

Tips to manage heartburn

Hands placing bowl of seasonal veg on the Christmas table.

There are several things you can do to avoid experiencing this uncomfortable condition during this happy season.

First, steer clear from foods that can trigger heartburn. Here’s a handy list of what to avoid:

What can cause or make heartburn worse:

  • Fatty foods (like cheese, bacon and sausages)
  • Spicy foods
  • Tomatoes
  • Citrus fruits
  • Garlic and onions
  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol, fizzy drinks and caffeine

But with temptation served on every festive glass or plate, it’s hard to say no. It’s so much easier to overindulge and think that Christmas calories don’t count. Focus instead on the foods you can add to your diet instead to help you digest better.

What to eat to help digestion:

  • Whole grains
  • Green and root vegetables
  • Bananas and watermelon
  • Eggs and lean meats
  • Nuts
  • Ginger
  • Probiotic-rich low fat yoghurt

Avoid heartburn over the holiday season

Over the festive season, you can try eating smaller, more frequent meals. Maybe having tapas instead of the huge three-course dinner is a better idea this year?

Make sure to avoid eating three to four hours before bedtime to give your body enough time to properly digest your food.

If you fancy a tipple, don’t drink on an empty stomach. Eat some bread or bar snacks before downing your alcoholic drinks.

When eating, remember to sit up straight to aid your digestion. It also helps to wear loose and comfortable clothing, even though the dress code may tempt you to take out that tight-fitting dress or pair of tailored pants.

If you’re hosting this year, the stress that comes with organising a party won’t help. Try to prepare well in advance and get as much help as you can.

But throughout, take the time to really enjoy the celebrations! What’s the point of the flawless decorations or the perfect holiday meal when you’re not having any fun?

This article has been written in partnership with Pyrocalm. Pyrocalm Control can provide effective relief from heartburn and acid reflux. Pyrocalm is a temporary treatment of heartburn and should be used on a short-term basis to relieve the burning sensation.

The recommended Pyrocalm dose is 20mg once daily for up to 14 days. It might be necessary to take the tablets for 2-3 consecutive days to achieve improvement of symptoms. The majority of patients achieve relief of heartburn within seven days.

Once relief of symptoms has occurred, treatment should be discontinued. If the problem persists, please consult your GP for further treatment and advice.

Pyrocalm Control® 20mg Gastro-Resistant Tablets. For the short-term treatment of reflux symptoms in adults. Contains 20mg Omeprazole. Always read the label.