11/16/2015 12:00 EST | Updated 07/02/2016 06:59 EDT

Take Back The Plate: Reclaiming Your Favourite Foods From Heartburn

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Healthy eating smiling face from vegetables and fruits on plate

This article is sponsored by the makers of ZANTAC®.

We all love eating our favourite foods, but sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. No matter your desired dish — whether it’s Mom’s garlicky spaghetti, Dad’s spicy BBQ chicken or your Aunt’s famous lobster bisque — there’s always a chance that one day it just won’t agree with you anymore.

What you eat and even how you eat can cause heartburn and acid reflux to occur, causing a burning sensation when food and stomach acids travel up into the esophagus through the valve at the top of the stomach.

But you don’t have to wave bye-bye to your favourite foods forever. With the proper tools in hand, heartburn will be a thing of the past, and your favourite meals can be a staple in your regular diet once more.

There are four handy ways to minimize and/or stop heartburn before it starts:

Eat only until full: Once you sit down to chow down on a plate of your favourite dish, take your time. Relax, savour the meal! A key trick to avoid or minimize heartburn is to chew slowly and stop eating as soon as you feel satiated, not stuffed.

Eat earlier and more often: Another tip to potentially conquering heartburn is to consume lighter, smaller meal portions spread out throughout the day. So eating dinner a bit earlier than normal means you can digest your meal sooner and help avoid heartburn when it’s time to hit the sack.

Ease up on the liquids: If heartburn is getting you down, think about having a beverage after you eat, not before or during the meal. Drinking while eating serves to make your stomach swell and can help increase the amount of food in your tummy, putting additional pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle tasked with stopping your meal from climbing back up into your esophagus. If you just can’t go without that glass of wine before that plate of spicy food, taking smaller sips during the meal can help reduce the risk.

Get proactive: There’s no reason that you can’t still eat your favourite foods if you know ahead of time what’s on the menu! There are various non-prescription medications that can be used to help reduce or alleviate heartburn, such as ZANTAC®, which prevents heartburn before it starts so you can enjoy the foods you love. Such medications should be taken as directed on the package label or as recommended by your family physician. Thinking ahead can go a long way toward you enjoying that amazing meal.