If you're really craving tailgate fare, try these swaps to keep GERD at bay.
January 25, 2014
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It's game day
Tailgates bring picnic tables' worth of tempting snacks. Though different foods aggravate gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in different people, there are some universal trigger foods you want to limit—citrus fruits, fried foods, liquor, and fatty meats.
Always opt for the high-fiber, low-fat options, but if you're really craving football fare, try these swaps to keep GERD at bay.
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If you want a Bloody Mary...
Choose beer instead. Bloody Marys contain acidic tomato juice and vodka—two heartburn no-no's. Though all alcohol can trigger heartburn, the National Heartburn Alliance ranks beer as your best choice. Just sip slowly and don't combine it with any other GERD-aggravating foods.
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If you want chips and salsa...
Opt for pretzels or baked chips and bean dip. High-fat foods (like potato chips) slow down digestion, allowing food to sit in the stomach longer and making it easier for acid to move into your esophagus. Instead, choose low-fat pretzels with less acidic bean dip—just be sure to go easy on the garlic, onions, and oil.
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If you want a cheeseburger...
Choose extra-lean ground beef or a turkey burger. The leaner the beef, the better chance you have of avoiding heartburn. Turkey can be a good beef alternative, but make sure it is also on the lean side. Full-fat cheese is a trigger, but if you can't leave it off, opt for feta or goat cheese, which are less likely to aggravate GERD.
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If you want chicken wings...
Try a grilled chicken breast (skinless, if it's available). Those little fried bites may seem harmless, but they can pack as many as 10 grams of fat per wing! If grilled chicken bores your taste buds, try using yogurt-based marinades that add flavor without the fat.
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If you want potato salad...
Choose beans instead. Though baked bean recipes often contain ketchup and onions, they're also lower in fat than most potato salads. Have a small portion, or take it one step further and opt for a bean salad. If you can't stand beans, have a light pasta salad that's also GERD-friendly.
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If you want a brownie...
Try a cookie instead. Chocolate relaxes the sphincter, allowing stomach acids to creep up into the esophagus. Though sugar and butter can also trigger heartburn, having one low-fat cookie (we love these Snickerdoodles) can satisfy a sweet tooth without triggering GERD.