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Banish the belly ache from holiday celebrations

Food is usually the centerpiece of many traditional celebrations this time of year, but watch out for holiday heartburn, warn gastroenterologists from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

“Watching what you eat, and how much, is the best way to prevent heartburn,” said Dr. Waqar Qureshi, associate professor of medicine and chief of endoscopy at BCM. “Avoid fried or fatty foods or acidic foods like grapefruit and tomatoes. Sometimes even chocolaty desserts cause some discomfort.”

The following tips can also help stave off the holiday heartburn:

  • Sit up. Lying down or reclining after a meal makes it easier for stomach acid to move up into the esophagus, causing heartburn.

  • Wear loose-fitting garb.

  • Eat in moderation. If you can’t give up cheesy casseroles, then say no to the buttery mashed potatoes. If you can’t give up either, then eat smaller portions. The more you eat the easier it is for acid to reach the esophagus.

  • Avoid foods you know trigger heartburn.

  • Take an over-the-counter antacid for fast relief.

If you find yourself taking antacids three or more times a week, your heartburn is more than holiday-related and you should see a doctor. Frequent symptoms could signal chronic heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which afflicts more than 7 million Americans annually.

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