5 ways to enjoy holiday eating with GERD

You don’t have to miss out on delicious holiday food–you just need to know how to tweak.

If you live with GERD (gastroesophageal refl ux disease), you know how unpleasant it can be; eating the wrong foods at the wrong times or in the wrong quantities can cause you hours of misery and guarantee a sleepless night.

Fortunately, says Smruti Mohanty, MD, Director of Gastroenterology at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, “it’s absolutely possible for people with GERD to enjoy holiday eating.”

Though there are some foods you really should try to avoid—such as especially rich, deep fried or fat-laden foods—in many cases, moderation is key. Here, Dr. Mohanty o ers 5 ways to help make sure your holiday meals are a source of comfort and joy.

  1. Beware of reflux triggers. Chocolate, peppermint, alcohol and co ee are a few examples of foods and drinks that increase acid secretion. Instead of fully caffeinated coffee, consider chamomile or ginger tea, both of which are known to quell acid refl ux. If you’re having an alcoholic drink, don’t smoke at the same time.
  2. Eat mindfully. Animated conversation around the holiday table can defl ect your attention from how fast and how much you’re eating, and overeating or eating too quickly can cause refl ux. Also, be sure to pace yourself with sips of water between bites.
  3. Take an antacid at least 30 minutes before a meal. Proton pump inhibitors like Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid reduce the production of stomach acid, so even if eating does trigger refl ux, it’s likely to be less painful if you’re proactive with medications.
  4. Wear loose clothing. “Tight clothing, such as tight jeans or belts, can exert pressure on the stomach,” says Dr. Mohanty. “This causes stomach acid to move up into the esophagus, resulting in acid refl ux.”
  5. Don’t eat before bedtime. “Lying down on a full stomach can trigger refl ux,” says Dr. Mohanty, “so try to plan your meal at least two to three hours before bedtime.”

To learn more about GERD, call 973-926-3535 or visit rwjbh.org/newarkbeth