Dodge Acid Reflux with These Summertime Grilling Tips
How do you plan a backyard barbeque for the 4th of July, or any long summer weekend, if you suffer from diet-related acid reflux?
More than 60 million American adults experience heartburn at least once a month and struggle with acid reflux, which can produce symptoms in the upper digestive tract, from the stomach up to the throat. Symptoms can cause gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), such as abdominal discomfort, heartburn, fullness, regurgitation and indigestion.
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Here are some grilling tips to guide you through the season for avoiding this mood-killing heartburn:
1. Be Mindful of What Time of Day You Eat
If the barbeque party is late at night, be careful what you eat. It’s best to stop eating three hours before bedtime. It’s better to eat in the early afternoon or in the middle of the day. There are fewer contents in your stomach to reflux if it is completely empty.
2. Drink A Lot of Water
While alcohol and soda can make reflux disease worse, alkaline water will neutralize acid. Carbonation in seltzer water, cocktails, beer and soda will make you feel bloated and exacerbate reflux of stomach contents into your esophagus; expanding your stomach and increasing further acid irritation. Excessive alcohol and even coffee are real culprits. Carbonation and caffeine give many people heartburn. Skip red wine, too.
Water, on the other hand, is loaded with health-promoting properties. Check out our article The Health Benefits of Drinking Even More Water (This Summer and Year-Round) to learn more. Looking for a great water filter so you can drink more of the good stuff? Click here.
3. Find Foods That Agree With You
The best way to enjoy a barbeque is to know which foods agree with your stomach (or not). Here are some simple tips to avoiding some of the more irritating foods:
- Cut out greasy foods.
- Stick to grilled foods with lean protein and vegetables.
- Add mild vegetables to your salads like carrots and beans over tomatoes.
- Dress your burger with guacamole not ketchup.
- Drink herbal iced tea and water over carbonated beverages.
- Eat smaller portions (and slow your eating speed) so your stomach produces less acid.
- Eliminate garlic, tomatoes, onion and spicy peppers; as well as acid-producing citrusy fruits like watermelon.
4. Select Plant-Based Alternatives to Meat
An alternative to high-fat meat for cookout foods would be leaner cuts of meat, fish, chicken and turkey burgers. Meat has high fat that leads to this much dreaded condition. For a great option, check out this delicious recipe: Fresh Cilantro Salmon Burgers.
5. Keep Cooking Flavors Simple
Go easy on adding spices, condiments (especially ketchup) and citrus marinades to your plate. By starting with one of these at a time, see which spice, condiment or rub is upsetting your body and then eliminate it. In general, spicy food triggers nerves in the throat, mouth and esophagus stimulating acid reflux. Processed food, in particular, has a lot of added sugar and oils that produce high acid. Some good alternatives are avocado, hummus and olive oil.
6. Be Proactive
Before leaving the house for a barbecue, reflux sufferers may want to take an effective supplement for acid reflux. (Be sure to steer clear of over-the-counter antacids, which have been linked to everything from an increased risk of depression to a higher likelihood of developing dementia to increased stomach cancer risk.)
All-day eating and drinking at backyard barbecues, tailgates, football games and family-picnics point to acid reflux as a big problem during these fun traditions. Keep the fun, but lose the heartburn!