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Dr. Manny’s tips for avoiding heartburn on vacation

Heartburn iStock

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Summer’s officially in full swing, and if you’re anything like me, you’re itching get away for a few days.

Often we have a tendency to over-indulge while on vacation, especially when it comes to diet. But, for some of us, it’s more difficult to enjoy ethnic cuisines when you are worried about the discomfort or pain that may follow.

The truth is, heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), causes millions of Americans to suffer every day – whether you’re on vacation or not. If you’re not careful, it can completely sideline you at the time when you most want to enjoy yourself.

It is characterized by a burning discomfort from the chest up to the throat. According to estimates, heartburn affects about one in every 10 Americans. One of its causes is acid reflux, which is when stomach acid flows up through the lower esophageal sphincter and irritates the esophagus.

To keep the burn from getting in the way of your fun, here are a few tips you can try:

1. Eat smaller portions of food

No matter what the food is, too much at once can put you in danger of a flare up. Also, try to eat food slower. Grabbing your meals on the go and wolfing them down leads to poor digestion and a greater risk of GERD symptoms.

2. Baked, broiled, grilled or roasted foods are all better alternatives to fried

Also, make sure to cut off the fatty parts if you can. Foods that are high in fat sit in the stomach longer, which can cause discomfort.

3. In some cases, it’s best to just avoid certain foods altogether

If you’re a frequent heartburn sufferer, spicy foods or foods that are highly acidic are probably not for you, especially on an empty stomach. Particularly acidic foods include tomatoes, citrus fruits and vinegar. If you’re really craving one of these foods, include a decent amount of other, less acidic foods like meat or vegetables as part of your meal.

4. Drinks can cause bloating and irritation, too

Stay away from caffeine and carbonation, as well as excess alcohol.

Now, get out there and enjoy the summer! Doctor’s orders.

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's Senior Managing Editor for Health News. Prior to this position, Alvarez was a FNC medical contributor.
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