Containing the GERD gremlin

[Image 2] "No food after midnight"! That was one of the "rules" for avoiding trouble that down-and-out Rand (Hoyt Axton) was given when he bought an extraterrestrial fuzzball named Gizmo (voiced by Howie Mandel) in the 1984 comedy-horror film "Gremlins." Unfortunately, the rule was broken (along with "don't get them wet or they reproduce") and the result was an onslaught of ravenous, destructive creatures that turned his family's Christmas into a nightmare.

For a lot of folks, violating the "no late meals" rule also triggers nightmares ... of the digestive kind. Roughly 20 percent of Americans contend with gastroesophageal reflux disease, also called acid reflux or GERD. It's caused by a weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter muscle. Instead of closing after you swallow food or liquid, it flaps open, allowing stomach acid to flow upward, causing burning and pain along the esophagus.

What brings on this distress? According to a study that looked at 513 GERD sufferers, eating a big dinner in the evening, or only eating once or twice a day, was a major cause; so was drinking peppermint tea daily (who knew?!) and eating fatty, fried, spicy, sweet and sour foods. The researchers suggest eating more than three times daily. We recommend that you enjoy your largest meal at breakfast or noontime, and stick with plant-based, unprocessed foods and lean proteins.

For your holiday dinners (they're around the corner!), don't deep fry that turkey, and plan on early afternoon for feasting. That'll help keep the gremlin GERD out of your house!

Prosentials: Restore Your Body's Healthy Balance: SHOP NOW

(c) 2018 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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