You can thank us later for our holiday guide to avoiding heartburn. If you are one the millions that suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or heartburn, Thanksgiving can be a painful holiday. Overeating tends to exacerbate both of these conditions and it’s almost an American tradition to stuff yourself as well as the turkey. But by making some better choices, you can enjoy the feast without feeling miserable later.
- Start with Raw Vegetables – Appetizers can be the first step toward heartburn later. Skip the cheese and creamy dips. Look for the raw, green vegetables. Asparagus, broccoli, green beans, and cucumbers are all good choices. Consider bringing an appetizer of fresh fruit to share.
- Take Digestive Enzymes – Holiday eating can lead to digestive distress. Digestive enzymes can help. Digestive enzymes help keep your gut healthy. They are vital to the digestive process and work to break down the food we eat, so our bodies can absorb nutrients from our food.
- Add a Bit of Ginger – ginger, in small quantities, can help ease heartburn. And ginger pairs perfectly with root vegetable dishes commonly served during the holidays, such as sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and carrots.
- Relax and Enjoy – Take the time to eat slowly and enjoy your food. Rushing through your meal or chewing with your mouth open can increase your chances of indigestion or heartburn. Linger over your food and allow yourself to feel full by giving your food time to digest.
- Eat Multi-Grain – breads and rolls will abound but choose carefully when it comes to these starchy foods. Opt for whole grain, whole wheat breads and rolls. Corn bread is also a heartburn friendly choice.
- Choose Baked Not Mashed – if you have chronic heartburn, you don’t have to give up your favorite foods – you simply must choose wisely to avoid painful symptoms later. Mashed potatoes can trigger heartburn, but baked potatoes may not. The high fat content of the added dairy is to blame. Limiting butter and avoiding sour cream can significantly reduce your reflux.
- Remember that Turkey Breast is Best – again it’s all about fat content. When looking at the meat platter, choose the white breast meat, not the darker thigh meat, which is more oily and higher in fat. And, unless the gravy is fat-free, you’d be wise to skip it and opt for some salt and pepper instead.
- Continue Making Good Choices – when you’re finished eating dinner, continue to make healthy choices. Avoid alcohol (it always makes heartburn worse), choose a small slice of pie rather than chocolate for dessert and instead of sitting down to doze in front of the game, take a walk to encourage healthy digestion of the food you just ate.