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Heartburn Free Foods for the Holidays: How to Enjoy Great Food Without the Heartburn This Holiday Season

By Brent Randall

Ahhh, the holidays... a time of friends, family and for all too many people...


If you're one of the 60 million Americans who suffer from acid reflux disease you know how one meal of indulgence can lead to a day or night of misery.

The problem is that during the holidays we allow more things into our diets than we do the rest of the year. We eat more sweet and rich foods, drink more alcohol and coffee, and quite often can pay the price with increased heartburn.

But be of good cheer, dear holiday party-goer, you can still eat well, have a great time, and avoid your heartburn problems!

The secret lies in knowing what foods are bad so you can limit them or substitute something in their places.

The bad heartburn foods come in two varieties...

1. Those that cause an increase in stomach acid, some of which can spill over into your esophagus causing heartburn.

2. Those that relax the esophageal sphincter. The esophageal sphincter is a little muscle at the base of the esophagus that acts as a lid that prevents stomach acid from entering the esophagus.

Here are some of the heartburn causing foods you should look out for this holiday season.


What candy is more associated with the holidays than the red and white striped candy cane? Yet, peppermint is one of those foods that relaxes the esophageal sphincter and allows acid up into your esophagus.

Instead, try a stick of red licorice. You can buy these sticks in bulk, or individually wrapped.


Yes, I'm afraid it's true; chocolate is another "relaxing" food that can open the way for stomach acid to reach your esophagus. Instead of chocolate, though, try substituting...

Just kidding. True chocoholics know that there's no substitute for chocolate, but there are people who are thinking of creative ways to make chocolate heartburn free.

See the resource box at the end of this article for a collection of heartburn-free recipes, including one for fudge!

Alcohol and Coffee/Tea

Between the office holiday party, Christmas with the family, and New Year's Eve, alcohol consumption for many people sky rockets during this time of year. And, even non-drinkers can over indulge with higher than normal levels of coffee or tea (regular and decaf).

All of the above beverages can increase the acid production in your stomach and give you heartburn. Instead try substituting hot cider (in moderation) for the coffee or tea, and non-alcoholic beer or wine for your other favorite alcoholic beverages.

Hors d' Oeuvres

Spicy and fatty foods are notorious for generating stomach acid production, and no place are these foods more conveniently and neatly presented than on the hors d Oeuvres trays and tables at holiday parties.

Foods to look out for include cheese, salami, beef sticks, and, of course, spicy buffalo wings. Instead, stick with pretzels, apples, or carrots and broccoli dipped in low fat ranch dressing.

Brunch Food

Lastly, another meal that friends and family share together during the holidays--and one that's loaded with heartburn traps and snares--is brunch.

From the coffee, to the eggs prepared in butter and garnished with bacon or sausage, to the donuts and fruit juices, brunch offers heartburn foods at every turn. Even here, just a few modifications can result in a very satisfying meal followed by a pleasant, heartburn free day.

Here are a few tips for making your brunch selections...

Egg white omelets are better than those made with whole eggs, and if you like to have some sort of bread with breakfast, try a whole grain bagel with low fat cream cheese.

Apples and bananas are the best choices for fruit and, if you want a fruit juice, apple is probably your best bet there, too.

As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities for acid reflux and heartburn sufferers to enjoy delicious heartburn-free food this holiday season.

Simply, approach each get together or party with a strategy about what and how much you'll eat. Then, choose to avoid the bad heartburn foods and, most importantly, have a great time this holiday season!

Happy Holidays!

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