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Heartburn Free Picnics

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Updated March 26, 2010

Summer is the time for picnics and cookouts. It can also be a time for heartburn. However, by taking a few precautions before and during your picnics, you can enjoy your summer fun heartburn-free.

Foods you can eat for a heartburn-free picnic:

Meat
Grill your meats instead of frying, and choose only lean meats. You can still enjoy burgers at your picnics when you use only the leanest meats and grill them instead of frying.

Salads and Side Dishes
Your salads can be just as tasty when you use carrots or other milder vegetables, instead of tomatoes. An old favorite at picnics, potato salad, can still be enjoyed with the heartburn.

What You Drink
Instead of drinking carbonated drinks such as colas, instead drink water, non-citrus fruit drinks or iced tea. Also, if you want to consume alcoholic beverages, drink less or drink bevereages like wine coolers, which contain less alcohol.

Eat smaller meals.
Large meals expand your stomach and increase upward pressure against the esophageal sphincter. The stomach will also produce more acid.

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Other ways you can prevent picnic heartburn:

Don't lie down for about two hours after you eat.
Gravity helps to keep the stomach juices from backing up into the esophagus and assists the flow of food and digestive juices from the stomach to the intestines.

Maintain a reasonable weight.
Obesity increases abdominal pressure, which can then push stomach contents up into the esophagus. According to some statistics, approximately 35 percent of overweight people experience heartburn. The good news is that for many people, as little as a 10 percent decrease in weight will improve their heartburn symptoms.

Don't smoke.
Nicotine relaxes the esophageal sphincter. Smoking also stimulates the production of stomach acid.

Relax.
While stress hasn't been linked directly to heartburn, it is known that it can lead to behaviors that can trigger heartburn. Follow these relaxation tips to alleviate stress and make stress-related heartburn less likely.

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Sources:

Magee, Elaine: Tell Me What to Eat If I Have Acid Reflux. Book-mart Press: New Page Books, 2001, ISBN: 1564145743.

Sklar, Jill and Cohen, Annabel:Eating or Acid Reflux:Marlowe & Company; Imprint of Avalon Publishing Group, Inc. 2003, ISBN: 1569244928.

Rodger A. Liddle, MD, professor of medicine and gastroenterologist, Duke University.

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