Health

Published on November 25th, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Palmetto Health Provides Healthy Eating Tips that could Prevent a Trip to Emergency Department

Palmetto Health Gastroenterologist Dr. Georges Postic, with Columbia Gastroenterology Associates, says that many people end up in the emergency room during the holidays because of what they’ve eaten. Postic wants to make sure that you don’t make yourself sick this holiday season by guiding you through the minefield of tempting foods and giving you information to make your holiday season more pleasurable and less uncomfortable. Some of the conditions that can be aggravated by holiday goodies include gastroesophageal reflux disease, lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome. Palmetto Health offers the following information:

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic disease that occurs when stomach acid, pepsin and occasional bile reflux into the esophagus. The backwash of this food or liquid irritates the lining of the esophagus, causing heartburn. The following are common foods that can worsen reflux symptoms:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Chocolate
  • Drinks with caffeine or alcohol
  • Fatty and fried foods
  • Garlic and onions
  • Mint flavorings
  • Spicy foods
  • Tomato-based foods, like spaghetti sauce, salsa, chili and pizza

Lactose intolerance

Lactose intolerance occurs when a person is not able to fully digest the milk sugar (lactose) in dairy products. This is usually a result of a deficiency of lactase, an enzyme produced by the lining of your small intestine. Symptoms are not usually severe, but can be uncomfortable. The following are common foods that should be avoided with lactose intolerance:

  • Whey
  • Curds
  • Milk by-products
  • Dry milk solids
  • Nonfat dry milk powder
  • Milk
  • Frozen Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Ice cream

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine (colon), usually causing cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation. However, no serious damage to the colon or inflammation in bowel tissue occurs. The following foods should be avoided in order to ease symptoms of IBS:

  • Insoluble fibers
  • Spicy foods
  • Gassy vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage
  • Fried food
  • Fructose
  • Coffee, alcohol and other caffeinated beverages

As the holidays are quickly approaching, it is important that anyone who suffers from GERD, lactose intolerance or IBS should remember to eat small, frequent meals throughout the holidays and to avoid eating two to three hours before going to bed. By developing these habits and adhering to the following six steps, those who have these conditions will be able to maintain good digestive health amidst the holiday hustle and bustle.

  1. Eat a balanced and varied diet that contains fruits and vegetables. Other foods that specifically promote/aid intestinal health and function include bran and other whole grain breads and cereals, beans, dried plums and nuts.
  1. Try to limit fats and avoid concentrated sweets, emphasizing instead complex carbohydrates.
  1. Get enough fluids. Include a beverage with every meal or snack. Low-calorie or non-caffeinated selections could include water, herbal teas and fruit juices such as prune juice.
  1. How you eat is just as important as what you eat. Eat slowly; stop eating when you feel full and don’t eat just before bedtime. Make time for proper nutrition. If you find that you’re always on the go, take along good-for-you portable snacks such as fresh fruit, granola, almonds and dried plums.
  1. Exercise regularly, doing activities you like. Try aerobic or strength-building activities. Or try stretching exercises like yoga or pilates.
  1. Manage your stress. Relaxing should be a part of your daily to-do list, just as work, social and family obligations are.

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