As many as 20% of Americans need frequent relief from heartburn. Food-related holidays, particularly Thanksgiving, can mean a lot of pain if you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). With reflux, the food, liquid, digestive liquid (bile), and acid move from the stomach into the esophagus (tube that connects your throat to your stomach). When that happens, the acid can cause a uncomfortable burning feeling in the chest.


There are some things you can do to help avoid heartburn caused from acid reflux, though, to have a safe and happy holiday. It’s not easy to hear, but what you eat and how much you eat have a big impact on how much heartburn you’ll feel later. While Thanksgiving is a holiday known for over-indulgence, consider moderation this year in return for less pain later that night.

Keep GERD trigger foods in mind. Some foods are more likely to trigger reflux than others. Common trigger foods include onions, garlic, citrus, tomatoes, mint, alcohol, chocolate, and high-fat or fried foods. Foods that trigger your reflux may vary, however. If you’re not sure which foods trigger your condition, work with your doctor for strategies to narrow down the list.

For foods that you know do trigger your reflux, consider passing on them or taking very small portions, and even then being selective. Steer toward friendlier dishes such as salads with low-fat dressing, carrots, broccoli, green beans, and peas. Be wary of green bean casseroles, though, which may be high-fat and contain fried onions. As a general guideline, go for white meat turkey, baked (not mashed) potato, and whole wheat roll.

Beverages matter, too. Alcohol can trigger reflux, as can caffeine. Try and go easy on wine with dinner and skip the after-dinner coffee.

Slow down and enjoy. Lingering over dinner can extend the pleasure of being around friends and family as well as lessening heartburn pain later on. Consider an after-dinner walk instead of a nap, as walking aids digestion. If you do feel like you need to lie down, stay propped up to avoid aggravating the reflux.

Plan ahead. If you’re traveling for the holidays, go prepared with your heartburn relief in hand, just in case.

Happy holidays! From all of us here at Orlando ENT.

Back to Blog

With 3 convenient locations across the Orlando area, we’re never far away.

Find your ENT Request Appointment
Contact us media
Accessibility: If you are vision-impaired or have some other impairment covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or a similar law, and you wish to discuss potential accommodations related to using this website, please contact our Accessibility Manager at .