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Slideshow: Cooling Heartburn Year-Round

New Year's Eve

When you have heartburn, every holiday can be hard, depending on the menu. On New Year's Eve, for example, go easy on the champagne. Alcohol and carbonation can trigger that burning sensation in your chest. And champagne has both.

Do you need to lose weight? Make a New Year's resolution to lose the pounds. Research shows heartburn symptoms can improve with weight loss.

Super Bowl Parties

While cheering on your favorite team, don't lose the game to heartburn. Hot, saucy chicken wings, the tomatoes in that salsa dip, plus the alcohol in all that beer can combine to expand the stomach and relax the LES -- the muscle that normally prevents acid from backing up into the esophagus.

If you're smoking, it's time to quit. Tobacco can also relax the LES, worsening heartburn.

Mardi Gras

They call it "Fat Tuesday" for a reason. Every 10 ounces of those boozy, sugary hurricane cocktails can pack a 380-calorie wallop. Toss in the hot peppers and spices from a few helpings of jambalaya and you've cooked up a serious case of heartburn. Quick tip: Chewing sugar-free gum generates extra saliva, which can help neutralize acid.

Valentine's Day

Nothing says heartburn like a big romantic dinner, washed down with red wine and chased with a box of chocolates. The red wine and chocolate relax the LES, while the sheer size of a large meal can expand your stomach and put pressure on the LES, causing heartburn. Avoid heartburn by giving yourself and your partner 2-3 hours before lying down.

Memorial Day

If you're celebrating the long weekend at the ball game, don’t let heartburn throw you a curveball. Strike one: the carbonation in soda. Strike two: the tomato-based ketchup slathered on that hot dog. Strike three: the alcohol and carbonation in beer. Instead, try a grilled chicken breast and drink lots of water. If you can't resist ballpark eats, over-the-counter heartburn medicines can help.

4th of July

Declare your independence from heartburn by staying away from greasy, fried foods like potato chips and fried chicken. Skip high-fat desserts, particularly those with chocolate. Try to keep away from tomatoes in salads, salsa, and ketchup and the carbonation in soda and beer. Instead, have a burger with a little mustard or mayo, a fruit salad (no citrus), or an apple.

Tailgate Time

You may be king of parking lot cuisine, but overdoing the pre-game chili can lead to post-game pain. Chili is full of potential heartburn triggers, like tomatoes, spices, and onions. If you eat your chili with high-fat chips and dip and beer or Bloody Marys, you're piling on the heartburn risk. Avoid the burn by skipping the salsa, eating gentler foods like grilled chicken, and drinking water -- or at least indulge in moderation!

Labor Day

The last long weekend of summer can mean heartburn at the family picnic. Slabs of saucy barbecued ribs can work up the volume of acid in your stomach. Hot peppers in the jalapeno dip, the high fat content from the cheese tray, and rich desserts can contribute to holiday heartburn. Try grilled fish and vegetables and fresh salad instead.

Oktoberfest

From Tucson to Boston to Cincinnati, dozens of U.S. cities host festivals to celebrate Oktoberfest with loads of German sausages, sauerkraut, and gallons of beer. Most German food is not especially spicy but sausages can be high in fat, which can trigger heartburn. And some sausage varieties -- like blutwurst and mettwurst -- can pack a punch. Adding horseradish can increase heartburn risk. To lower your heartburn chances, eat small portions and wear loose clothing.

Halloween

Don't let Halloween treats play tricks on your stomach. Chocolate and peppermint are common triggers for heartburn sufferers. So be careful what kind of candy you steal from your kids' trick-or-treat bags. For adults heading to costume parties, beware. Alcohol can relax the muscle at the top of your stomach, letting acids back up into your esophagus.

Thanksgiving

It's not the turkey, but the side dishes you have to worry about in the typical Thanksgiving dinner. Steer clear of a lot of casseroles and sides made with butter or cream. Plus, remember that too much of anything can send stomach acids in the wrong direction. Calm your stomach by taking a walk around the neighborhood before you crash on the couch. Lying down with a stuffed stomach often makes heartburn worse.

Winter Holidays

Christmas and Hanukkah mean a season filled with office parties and family get-togethers. Holiday cookies, big meals, and other high-fat treats present a variety of heartburn triggers -- including the peppermint in candy canes. The stress of holiday planning can make heartburn symptoms worse. So relax. Give yourself a gift by celebrating in moderation.

Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on November 25, 2013

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