Carol (Missy) Cohen MPH, CHHC

Ways to Avoid Acid Reflux – During the Holiday and Beyond

If it is a common occurrence for you or one of your guests to be reaching for an antacid at Thanksgiving, I would like to offer a public service announcement.


Two main reasons that people suffer from acid reflux are not properly chewing and drinking liquids with meals.

Chew Properly

When we chew, we break down our food into smaller and smaller pieces which makes it easier for our stomach to do its job of digesting. In addition, chewing starts the digestive process for carbohydrates and some sugars. This Thanksgiving, have a little healthy competition. Each bite of food should be chewed between 30 and 50 times! That results in a mouthful of food that is essentially liquid.

“But that is impossible,” you think.” I will get a strong  desire to swallow.”

That is accurate and when that desire comes on, push the bigger pieces to the side of your mouth and swallow, much like you would if you were chewing a piece of gum.

This is a very interesting exercise that will surprise many but will really assist in reducing the number of guests that will suffer from acid reflux.


Limit Your Liquid Intake During Meals

The second thing that results in acid reflux is diluting your stomach acid. This is done when we consume large  amounts of water during a meal. We should be focusing on hydration approximately 20 minutes prior to a meal and 90 minutes after a meal, not during the meal. While sipping water may be okay during the meal, especially if it contains a little apple cider vinegar which will actually  help increase stomach acid, gulping copious amounts of water or using water to help get chunks of food down does not serve our bodies well and contributes to diluting the stomach acid and giving us symptoms of acid reflux.

Besides the classic burning in the chest that suggests acid reflux, other symptoms are:

  • General discomfort
  • Bloating
  • Belching
  • Poor protein digestion
  • Poor mineral absorption

And… an interesting fact, the holidays are times when the rate of heart attacks increases. People often think they are having acid reflux and are actually experiencing a heart attack. Of course, there are always those who think they are having a heart attack but are just experiencing acid reflux.

If in doubt, get checked out by a medical professional – and don’t wait! The longer you have a heart attack, the less likely you are to survive it. Do NOT put it off because you don’t want to bother your relatives.





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