GERD Awareness Week: 10 Heartburn Prevention Tips

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It’s Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Awareness Week, and the timing couldn’t be better. The most common symptom of GERD is chronic heartburn, and one of the biggest triggers of acid reflux is–you guessed it–overeating.

The good news is that it is possible to get through Thanksgiving day without heartburn by making smart choices on the big day. Here are 10 ways to reduce your chances of heartburn on turkey day.

Don’t overeat
Stuffing too much food into your stomach all at once can put pressure on the valve between your stomach and esophagus, which allows stomach acid to splash up into the esophagus. Eat slowly and aim to keep portions relatively small. There’s always leftovers!

Eat a smart salad
Salads are a perfect starter, but avoid high-fat dressings or oil and vinegar. Your best bet is low-fat dressing and skip the tomatoes, raw onions, and oranges, which can trigger acid reflux.

Have some ginger

A holiday spice that works in many dishes (carrots, peas, broccoli, and green beans are good choices) is also known to ease heartburn.

Go for multigrain

You can’t go wrong with multigrain rolls or bread. White or corn bread are both fine too, but avoid mac n’ cheese as a side dish, as it can lead to acid reflux.

Make it baked
Your potato that is. A simple baked potato sans toppings (limit high-fat butter and skip the sour cream) is a better choice than mashed.

Choose light over dark meat
Dark meat tends to have more fat, which is known to trigger heartburn. Skip the high-fat gravy too to avoid pain later on.

Drink wisely

It’s probably a good idea to skip alcohol and caffeinated beverages, both known heartburn triggers. Mineral water may be the best choice.

Pick your pie
When it’s time for dessert, pass over chocolate treats, which can churn up your stomach acid. Apple pie is a good choice.

Take a walk

Don’t hit the couch! Although it’s easy to slip into a post-meal slumber, save the nap for later in the day. A walk will let your food digest a bit, and when you do sleep, prop up your pillow up 6 to 8 inches to avoid acid reflux.

Don’t smoke
There are lots of reasons not to smoke, but one that can be overlooked is the fact that it irritates your gastrointestinal tract. In the short term, that means heartburn. In the long term, it can boost your colorectal cancer risk.

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