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Fittingly, Thanksgiving week is also GERD Awareness Week.

The heartburn caused by reflux disease (commonly referred to as GERD) can make those who indulge in a big holiday feast less than thankful.

But you can head off the discomfort of heartburn by following tips from gastroenterologist Bruce Greenwald of the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center, who also is chairman of the Esophageal Cancer Action Network (ECAN):

• Schedule your Thanksgiving meal in the afternoon rather than the evening.

• Don’t lie down right after eating; take a walk instead.

• Avoid overeating; start out with smaller servings and you might not want seconds.

• If you are hosting a feast, do your guests a favor by using smaller plates – it will make every portion seem larger and keep overeating to a minimum.

• Drink in moderation. Alcohol worsens GERD symptoms.

• Eat dessert an hour or two after the meal, but not too close to bedtime!

• Start the day with a Turkey Trot. These Thanksgiving morning charity walks and runs will burn a few calories and help a worthy cause. (If you’re not one of the 14,000 registered for the YMCA Buffalo Niagara Turkey Trot, take a family walk somewhere on Thursday.)

“Overeating or lying down after a meal make it more likely that acid and stomach contents will reflux into the esophagus, causing heartburn,” Greenwald said in a news release. “Following these simple suggestions can help make this a heartburn-free holiday!”

To find out more about the link between heartburn and cancer, visit ecan.org.