Take GERD out of the holidays

During the holiday season food plays such a big role in the festivities and fun. Unfortunately, huge meals and holiday snacking can bring digestive upset and misery for those suffering from chronic heartburn and acid gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

However, there are steps you can take to minimize your GERD discomfort and increase your enjoyment of holiday meals.

  • Don’t overeat. How much you eat makes a big difference, so watch the amount of food you put on your plate. Just sample a few bites of the things you most enjoy and avoid second helpings.
  • Avoid rich foods like those with sauces and spicy seasonings.  For example, choose the roasted potatoes vs. a cheesy potato dish.
  • Skip desserts with chocolate, peppermint or citrus. Select fruit or yogurt instead.
  • Take your time.  Eat slowly and savor each part of the meal.
  •  Limit coffee, caffeinated soda and alcohol. All these drinks stimulate acid production and are likely to cause heartburn. Avoid them or keep their consumption to a minimum. Consider decaf and herbal teas instead.

After a big holiday meal, get up and go for a walk. Avoid the temptation to sit on the couch or lie down and nap.  If you must sit, keep your head higher than your stomach.

Plan ahead for GERD relief. If you know you are prone to heartburn or acid reflux, keep your antacid medicine close by when you’re at home and traveling.

Is acid reflux or heartburn interfering with your daily activities? If you are experiencing heartburn or reflux several times a week or more, see your healthcare provider.

At Riverwood Healthcare Center, we offer a team of five reflux specialists with the Minnesota Reflux and Heartburn Center to help diagnose GERD and offer advanced, innovative treatment solutions. For information or an appointment, call Dawn Harcey, RN/GI Clinical Coordinator, at 218-429-3930.