by The Culinary MDs

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So you survived the holidays — the get-togethers with family and friends, the holiday luncheons, parties after work, platters of delicious baked products in every break room. You’ve battled with the endless opportunities to indulge, taste, sample, and enjoy every impromptu snack and treat. It’s easy to let things go around the holidays when you have less control over your meals. With all the running around, extra snacking, and overeating you may have noticed some “side effects” such as bloating, fatigue and heartburn cropping up. Over the years, many of my patients have asked me what to do about it. So for the new year, here are some new tips for dealing with heartburn and impulse overeating.

  1. Chew your food slowly. This allows your saliva to work you and do its job. Believe it or not saliva has many protective factors in it (who knew, right?!) such as buffering agents, prostaglandin E2, and mucin.
  2. Develop an if-then plan. This means contingency planning. Take a moment to think ahead about what your biggest triggers will be and how you will deal with them. For example: “If I see a tray of cookies in the break room, I will have one small one and not have seconds or a plate”, “If I feel a craving, I will drink a glass of water first and wait 15 minutes.”
  3. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Over the years I have come to appreciate how many of my patients have profoundly changed their diet and lifestyle just by learning to drink water throughout the day. Many times, when people think they’re hungry, they are actually dehydrated or need water more than food. Water helps reduce cravings and meal sizes, while improving everything from bowel function to skin tone.
  4. Be aware of problematic foods and consider removing them to combat especially bothersome symptoms. Foods that reduce lower esophageal sphincter tone –tomatoes, chocolate, alcohol, coffee, fried foods, citrus, carbonated beverages, tobacco.
  5. Eat restorative foods. For prebiotics, look for cabbage, okra, rice protein, and for foods that modulate gut transit time try ginger, licorice root, almonds, and bananas.
  6. Avoid antacid abuse. This can lead to a reduction in the digestive acid HCl, which can further exacerbate maldigestion.

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