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Thanksgiving heartburn? Try these tips

November 24, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
It's arguably the biggest feast of the year. But for some folks, that festive table could be full of digestive land mines. One local doctor offers some strategies to take the burn out of your Thanksgiving meal.

It's the time of year most people look forward to.

"During this time period, we see a lot more heartburn patients," said Dr. Carson Liu, a heartburn surgeon.

Liu says as you get older the connection between the stomach and esophagus weakens, allowing stomach acid to back up into the throat.

Wine, coffee and orange juice are usually no-no's, but he says you can have them if you eat the turkey, potatoes and stuffing first.

"Usually eating a lot of starchy foods tends to help temporarily quelch the acid burn," said Liu.

Most people think eating fast is the worst thing a person with heartburn can do, but Liu says it's not about the speed, it's more about the volume.

"Everything in moderation," said Liu.

But if you do end up overindulging and you start to feel the burn, Liu recommends two tablespoons of vinegar or a glass of milk.

Over-the-counter antacids with calcium can also help, but only temporarily.

"Calcium temporarily helps it, but then you get this massive acid rebound with calcium, and then you get even more heartburn right after you stop taking it," said Liu.

Instead of one large meal, try grazing and eating a few small meals throughout the day.

Liu recommends not eating two hours before you go to sleep. But if you did eat a lot, try propping your head up on a few pillows. This can all help keep heartburn at bay.

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