Nearly all of us (76%) admit to eating more than usual during the festive period and will on average gain 2kg in weight according to a just-released national year-end survey by Pharma Dynamics, a leading provider of heartburn medication in SA.
With the seasonal festivities soon being upon us, many will be getting merry on too much wine at the office party, stuffing ourselves with treats and eating our way to the New Year on leftovers, but can our bodies take it?
Mariska Fouche, spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics says it’s normal to see a spike in heartburn medication sales over the festive period and emergency rooms equally report an increase in patient visits seeking relief from some form of abdominal discomfort.
“After Christmas many suffer from digestive problems caused by too much food and alcohol, with the most common problem tending to be indigestion or reflux brought on by eating too much sugary and fatty foods,” says Fouche.
The Pharma Dynamics poll confirmed that after eating Christmas dinner a staggering 55% of South Africans suffer from indigestion, 49% experience heartburn and 42% of us are burdened with flatulence. Nearly a third also admitted to rushing their food in anticipation for the next course.
“Indigestion can indeed be caused by eating too quickly. As it takes time for the feeling of satiety to come through most people just keep on eating with no breaks. Not chewing your food thoroughly and the stress of multitasking – often associated with the party season – are sure tickets to increased stomach acid and heartburn flare-ups.
“Overindulgence can lead to very severe inflammation of the stomach lining or in the throat from all the acid that comes up and could even lead to a long-term problem such as ulcers, gallstones, irritable bowel syndrome or a hiatus hernia.
“For people who are already prone to heartburn, piling on the weight, particularly around the stomach, can also intensify it, so try to eat and drink in moderation.
Fouche has some tips to help people make the most of their holidays while keeping heartburn in check:
Steer clear of foods or drinks that make symptoms worse
Reduce meal portions
Eat slowly and take a break between courses
Alternate alcohol drinks with water
Don’t go to bed or exercise on a full stomach
Opt for salads, lean meats, fish and light sauces whenever possible
“Try to reduce other factors that may aggravate heartburn such as stress, which is very much part and parcel of the holidays and take an over-the-counter antacid or ask your doctor or pharmacist for medication that will reduce the amount of stomach acid that is produced to avoid potential festive health woes,” says Fouche.
More than 2 373 South Africans between the ages of 18 and 60 took part in Pharma Dynamics’ national online survey.
- (Pharma Dynamics press release, December 2012)
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