Battle of the burn: encore wellness offers tips for preventing holiday heartburn

GARDEN GROVE, CA — Besides enjoying the relatives and holiday cheer, this Thanksgiving millions will also be suffering from “holiday” heartburn, acid indigestion and bloating, typically followed by a post-dinner nap while watching football on TV.

All of the ingredients of a Thanksgiving or holiday meals can cause pain and suffering for those with even mild heartburn or stomach problems, according to experts. Heartburn is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders in the world with more than 25 million Americans suffering from the condition on a daily basis.

Heartburn is a burning discomfort in the chest or throat that results when harsh stomach acid comes into contact with and irritates the delicate lining of the esophagus. Most of the time heartburn is mild and can be controlled by diet and by avoiding alcohol, caffeine, chocolate and peppermint.

However, there are some people who require medicine. You should speak with your doctor if you suffer from heartburn more than a few times a week. There are over-the counter medications that may help relieve the “burn” as well as prescription medications that may offer relief as well. Males over the age of 55 who suffer from heartburn for five years or longer should check with their physician because they may be at risk for developing esophageal cancer.

If you find yourself tempted by leftovers, try a slice of lean turkey or chicken, or a few veggies instead of a second serving of pumpkin pie, says Dr. Sheldon Zinberg, founder of Encore Wellness, the nation’s leading fitness and wellness centers for seniors.