Eat and drink wisely to avoid reflux, heartburn

Each year during Thanksgiving week, Riverwood Healthcare Center joins the national observance for promoting awareness of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) to provide education and to connect those who are suffering from GERD to resources and care.

Ten tips for curbing GERD symptoms during the Thanksgiving holiday include:

  • Schedule an earlier meal. It’s best not to eat in the evening if you suffer from GERD.
  • Serve light appetizers. Fatty foods like chips, dips, and cheeses are slow to empty from the stomach and more likely to aggravate symptoms.
  • Stay active. Stick with your exercise routine during the holidays, as weight loss can help alleviate GERD symptoms.
  • Don’t smoke. Nicotine weakens the muscles within your food pipe that prevent backflow (reflux) of stomach contents.
  • Season lightly. Spicy foods, as well as onions and garlic, often bother people with GERD and make heartburn worse.
  • Limit your drinks. Alcohol can worsen reflux.
  • Use smaller plates. Eating large meals can trigger symptoms, so try smaller meals spread throughout the day.
  • Substitute water for soda. Caffeinated and carbonated beverages are both known heartburn aggravators.
  • Watch the desserts. Chocolate often bothers people with GERD.
  • Stay awake. Fight the urge to take a nap after enjoying your feast. Lying down within three hours after eating a big meal can cause GERD symptoms to flare up.

When to seek medical care
“Heartburn or acid reflux that occurs more than once a week, worsens, or continues over time may signal a more serious condition like GERD,” said Dr. Evan Kelly, endoscopy specialist with the Minnesota Reflux and Heartburn Center (MRHC) in Aitkin and Crosby. “If you’re having GERD symptoms, we can help determine how best to manage symptoms and treatment.”

In addition to Dr. Kelly, MRHC reflux specialists include Dr. Andrew Loveitt, Dr. Tim LeMieur and Dr. Shawn Roberts. They are GERD leaders in the region, offering comprehensive diagnostic testing and innovative treatment solutions, including the latest surgical options with emphasis on minimally invasive procedures.

For a consultation or appointment with a GERD specialist, call Dawn Harcey, RN/GI clinical coordinator, 218-429-3930.