We have a saying in my household: “Food is love.” When we provide nourishment for each other, it’s an expression of love and gratitude. Moderation in our eating habits is important, of course, but this can be especially challenging during the holidays.
Think about all the food that we eat during the holidays. You are trying to be a Health Hero® by eating right and making sure you exercise, but there are so many temptations. This can be even harder for those dealing with GERD or reflux.
Why is it so hard? Well, many of our favorite seasonal foods that are “comforting” and delicious can actually trigger heartburn and worsen GERD! Here are 7 foods to avoid or minimize if you suffer from GERD:
Gravy – Gravy might be a delicious addition to your turkey, but it can cause some terrible pain. Gravy is greasy and high in fat. If you must use a gravy, try a lower fat mushroom gravy as an alternative.
Turkey Skin – Turkey is one of the mainstays on the dinner table during the holidays. Although turkey won’t affect GERD dramatically, you should watch out for the skin. The skin contains a lot of fat, and that can cause problems. By removing the skin, you can enjoy the turkey without the negative side effects.
Egg Nog – Egg Nog is a Christmas classic. However, this drink is high in fat and regularly spiked with alcohol. Egg Nog is tasty but can be a culprit for GERD symptoms. If you do need some Egg Nog, make a low-fat version and skip the alcohol.
Candy Canes and Peppermint Sticks – Many people use peppermint to calm an upset stomach, but it can cause heartburn symptoms to become stronger by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES keeps stomach acids in the correct spot.
Mashed potatoes – Have you ever eaten mashed potatoes and felt awful afterward? Well, the fat content in mashed potatoes can increase your heartburn. If you still need some potatoes with your meal, why not substitute sweet potatoes or a baked potato?
Cranberry Sauce – If cranberry sauce is a mainstay on your dinner table during the holidays, you may need to look the other way if you suffer from GERD. The high acidity in cranberries can create a lot of trouble for those who suffer from reflux
Latkes – Latkes are a traditional Hanukkah favorite that is comforting. These fried potato pancakes are regularly topped with sour cream which can add to the GERD symptoms. High in fat and usually made with onions and garlic, it is best to stay away from latkes. If latkes can’t be ignored, a good alternative is to bake them instead of frying.
Dr. Partha Nandi M.C. F.A.C.P. is a fulltime, practicing gastroenterologist and internal medicine physician. As an active holistic health practitioner in the field, Dr. Nandi is also the Chief Health Editor at WXYZ ABC Detroit. At the age of 16, he completed his high school education in Columbus, Ohio where he was awarded a full academic scholarship to The Ohio State University and University of Notre Dame. To remain closer to his family, he chose Ohio State. Partha graduated summa cum laude (Top 1% of the class), a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society, with a Bachelors degree in chemistry and a minor in classical Greek civilization. Partha also served as the Rhodes Scholar representative from Ohio State. Partha then traveled to Detroit, Michigan to obtain his medical degree at Wayne State University. At Wayne State, he was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha honor society and graduated in the top 10% of the class. He also completed his internal medicine training at Wayne State University, where he was the intern of the year. He completed his gastroenterology fellowship at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Dr. Nandi practices gastroenterology in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. He is the author of several publications in peer reviewed journals. He is a national speaker, educating physicians on various topics within medicine. He is a patient advocate, emphasizing empathy in patient care and treatment of the entire patient, both body and mind. Partha is passionate, empathetic and dedicated to his patients and his community.