How to Keep Holiday Travel Heartburn at Bay
Whether you travel by planes, trains or automobiles, you know that heartburn can strike at any moment. Changes in your fluid intake, eating habits and stress levels can cause painful reflux and leave you a little less jolly this season.
Here are some ways to prevent heartburn from tagging along during your holiday travel:
- Plan ahead. Holidays are exciting, but they can also cause anxiety when the unexpected happens. Thinking about what triggers your heartburn and having a plan in place will help anticipate and prevent heartburn episodes.
- Try to keep your regular meal times. As much as possible, maintain the same meal schedule that you keep when you are at home. If you are accustomed to eating smaller, more frequent meals, do that on vacation as well. Pack some protein bars, unsalted nuts or dried fruit in your luggage so you can incorporate healthy snacks into your days.
- Wear loose clothing. Tight pants or a restrictive shirt can put pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter and aggravate heartburn conditions. Loose-fitting clothes will help you stay comfortable while traveling and will allow freedom of movement.
- Show self-control in food choices and portions. You probably know what foods you can eat in moderation and which ones should be avoided. Sure, you can break the rules, but do you really want to pay the price? Start out with small portions, and take a long break before going back for a second helping.
- Stay hydrated. It is important to drink plenty of water for the duration of your travel. This helps maintain the pH balance in your stomach. Avoid citrus juices, coffee and caffeinated soda if they bring on heartburn for you, and limit your alcohol to one celebratory drink.
- Maintain your sleep habits. Getting adequate sleep is important for heartburn prevention, so maintain your sleep schedule if possible. Sleep on the same side of the hotel bed or guest bed as when you are at home. If you use pillows to prop yourself up at home, try to replicate the same structure. It is also important to not go to sleep immediately after eating. Give your stomach enough time to digest your food.
Holidays give us permission to break the rules and be a little bit lax in our everyday activities, but heartburn takes no vacation. Even though it will be tempting to skip a meal, wear those tight jeans, overindulge on chocolate and stay up late, you may regret those choices tomorrow. Have the happiest of holidays and enjoy special moments with family. A little bit of self-control will keep holiday heartburn at bay.