From summer picnics to fall holidays, eating the foods of the season can wreak havoc on heartburn sufferers. The good news is that heartburn can be avoided if you steer clear foods that trigger your heartburn. Use this handy planner to keep heartburn at bay throughout the year and manage heartburn discomfort when it flares.
January: New Year’s Day
If you kicked up your heels on New Year’s eve with one too many cocktails, you may be paying for it during the first few hours of January. Alcohol, particularly red wine, is one of the biggest heartburn offenders.
Tip: Put out the fire in heartburn by following the recommendations of one alcoholic drink per day for women and two for men. Alternate alcoholic beverages with “mocktails” -- these beverages look like cocktails but don’t contain any alcohol. Choosing nonalcoholic drinks is the trifecta of good health: stay well hydrated, avoid that dreaded hangover -- and minimize heartburn.
February: Valentine’s Day
When your sweetheart gives you chocolates on Valentine’s Day, eat too many and you could be up all night with uncomfortable heartburn. Tolerating chocolate, like many other heartburn trigger foods, is very personal. If chocolate brings on the burn, your best bet is to avoid it.
Tip: Celebrate Valentine’s Day with a gift of love without added calories like a date night at the movies. Chocolate is loaded with fat, sugar, and calories that can lead to weight gain. Losing weight can help reduce heartburn. Obese people are nearly three times more likely than normal-weight people to have heartburn. Even normal-weight people who gain a few extra pounds can boost heartburn risk. If you want to enjoy some chocolate, slowly savor one piece of chocolate. Many people can tolerate a piece without getting heartburn.
March: St. Patrick’s Day
Green beer is the beverage of choice for revelers on St. Patty’s day but chances are you won’t make it through the parade if you polish off more than one. Drinking Irish coffee is even worse, combining two well-known offenders -- alcohol and coffee (even decaffeinated coffee).
Tip: If you want to go green, skip the pub fare and stick to green foods that are unlikely to cause heartburn, like spinach, broccoli, and green beans. Irish smoked salmon, potatoes, shepherd’s pie, lean corned beef, or soda bread will keep you in the spirit while keeping your stomach happy.
Celebrating Easter brunch with orange juice, half a grapefruit, or a Mimosa could undermine your holiday happiness. Citrus products and tomatoes are well known acidic foods and drinks that commonly trigger heartburn, especially on an empty stomach.
Tip: You can enjoy a delicious and nutritious traditional meal of eggs, lean ham, roast lamb, asparagus, baby carrots, and roasted sweet potatoes. Pair your meal with non-citrus, high-fiber fruit like blackberries or melon, along with a glass of cranberry or apple juice.