Peoria, Ill.,
10:55 AM

Health Highlights: Avoid reflux, choose healthy holiday eating

Thanksgiving meal 2 photo

As you fill up your plates this holiday season, it's important to decide what to, and what not to add to your meal. 

Health experts say moderation is key. 

Surrounded by holiday staples like turkey, casseroles, stuffing and more, it's an easy time to overeat and break any healthy eating habits. 

Sara Umphfleet, a registered dietitian with OSF HealthCare, says instead of focusing on what not to eat around the holidays, she focuses on what to eat. 

She recommends surveying the table before making your plate and only filling up your plate with things you like. Don't feel obligated to eat every single thing offered, and make sure to have plenty of fruits and vegetables while trying your best to stick with healthy portion sizes. 

“If you know it’s going to be some time after breakfast before you have a Thanksgiving meal, I recommend people have a healthy snack," Umphfleet says. “Something like yogurt or nuts and some fruit to go with it. Then you’re not overeating at your Thanksgiving meal.”

Umphfleet also recommends having a well-balanced breakfast the morning of Thanksgiving with protein, carbs and fruit. 

With holiday eating can come heartburn, indigestion and/or acid reflux. Reflux is a condition that's painful in mild cases, but can mean surgery in advanced cases. 

Changing your lifestyle is the easiest way to prevent it. 

Tips include not eating after 6 PM, avoid excess fatty food, nicotine, caffeine and alcohol. 

Make sure to exercise, and sleep on an incline with your head above the rest of your body. 

More advanced cases of reflux could require medicine or surgery, says OSF surgeon Dr. Greg Ward. 

“We wrap the stomach a bit around the esophagus to keep food from going back up into the esophagus when it shouldn’t," Dr. Ward says.

Dr. Ward adds if you do have surgery, no more soda. That's because burping can undo the surgery.

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