If you have been experiencing heartburn or acid reflux, it’s likely that one of the foods you are consuming is a trigger.
Acid reflux occurs when stomach acids flow up to the esophagus and irritate the lining.
This can result in pain, inflammation, and other unpleasant symptoms that can be very uncomfortable.
Acid reflux affects 20% of the population in the United States.
If your acid reflux occurs two or more times each week, you may have GERD, which is gastroesophageal reflux disease.
GERD can cause severe damage to the esophagus over time if left untreated.
But what if you could avoid the foods that cause acid reflux?
Avoiding these triggers can help you to feel better by reducing your GERD symptoms.
In this article, we will discuss the eight most common foods that cause or worst acid reflux.
Let’s get started!
Here are the 8 foods that cause acid reflux
Are you a coffee drinker?
If so, you may be interested in knowing that drinking too much coffee can trigger acid reflux.
Because when you take too much caffeine, it can relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is a muscle that separates the esophagus and stomach.
When the LES opens, acid can flow up into your esophagus and cause heartburn symptoms.
If you are having issues with frequent acid reflux attacks after drinking coffee, try reducing the amount of coffee you drink each day.
Alternatively, try drinking coffee with milk or cream to help buffer the acids.
2. Carbonated beverages
Carbonated beverages, such as soda and sparkling water, are a common cause of acid reflux.
Here is why:
Carbonated drinks are acidic and can loosen the LES, allowing stomach acid to flow back up into your esophagus.
Additionally, the carbonation in soda and sparkling water can cause bloating, which puts pressure on your stomach contents.
This increased abdominal pressure causes acid to come back up into your esophagus.
If you regularly experience acid reflux after drinking carbonated beverages, try limiting or avoiding these drinks altogether.
Chocolate is a delicious treat that many people enjoy, but it could be causing you to experience acid reflux.
The fact of the matter is that chocolate is high in fat and sugar, both of which can trigger acid reflux.
But that’s not all:
According to Healthline, the cocoa powder in chocolate can relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and allow acid to flow back up.
As pointed out by HealthCentral, chocolate milk, hot chocolate, and chocolate liqueurs can also trigger acid reflux.
If you are experiencing acid reflux after any chocolate products, it may be a good idea to limit or avoid these foods.
The good news is that dark chocolate, in smaller quantities, does not seem to have the same effect on heartburn as milk chocolate does.
If you want to enjoy a piece of dark chocolate, be sure not to eat more than one-half ounce per day.
4. Fried foods
Fried foods are another common trigger of acid reflux.
Fried foods are high in fat and low in fiber.
When you eat a meal with little to no fiber, the food can take a long time to digest.
This can cause the stomach acids to flow back up into your esophagus.
To make matters worse:
Fried foods can also relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which allows stomach acid to flow back up into your esophagus.
What’s more, fried foods are typically high in salt, which can cause water to build up in your intestines.
When the sodium and water from fried foods enter the small intestine, it can push stomach contents up into the esophagus and give you heartburn.
If you are experiencing acid reflux after eating fried foods, try avoiding these foods altogether.
If you enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, it may be causing your acid reflux.
The truth is that alcohol can relax the muscles that control digestion, including:
The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) – This is the muscle that separates the esophagus and stomach.
When this muscle is relaxed, acid can flow back into your esophagus and cause heartburn.
The pyloric sphincter – This is the muscle that controls the release of stomach acids into the small intestine.
When this muscle is relaxed, stomach acids can flow back up into the small intestine and cause indigestion.
Most researchers agree that consuming more than one alcoholic drink per day can increase the risk of acid reflux.
But which type of alcohol is the worst for acid reflux?
Some research suggests that both beer and wine are associated with an increased risk of acid reflux, and there was no difference found between the two.
However, other studies have shown that white wine is more likely to cause acid reflux than red wine.
In general, if you are experiencing frequent heartburn after drinking alcohol, try avoiding or cutting down on the amount to one drink per day.
6. High-fat dairy products
If you are experiencing heartburn after eating dairy products, it may be because they are high in fat.
Dairy products like cheese, ice cream, and whole milk are high in fat.
And as we mentioned earlier, eating a lot of fat can cause acid reflux.
Additionally, dairy foods may relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which can cause acid to flow back up into the esophagus.
If you want to avoid heartburn after eating dairy products, try switching from whole milk and full-fat cheese to low-fat options.
You can also try eating dairy products in smaller amounts throughout the day instead of consuming them all at once.
It’s no secret that tomatoes are highly acidic.
But did you know that acidity can cause problems for people with acid reflux?
The citric and malic acid in tomatoes can irritate the lining of your esophagus, causing heartburn and making acid reflux symptoms worse.
So can I still eat tomatoes with GERD?
Yes, it’s okay to have them in moderation.
Also, avoid eating fresh tomatoes as they tend to be more acidic.
But if you’re really struggling with tomato-related acid reflux, it might be best to avoid them altogether.
8. High-fat meats
Beef, pork, and lamb, in general, are known to aggravate acid reflux symptoms.
When consumed in large amounts, they can slow down digestion.
This triggers the stomach to release more acid and pepsin to help digest the high-fat meats, which can cause heartburn in some people who have GERD.
For those with GERD, it’s best to limit red meat and stick to lean protein sources like chicken or fish instead.
So there you have it – eight foods that can cause acid reflux.
If you’re struggling with heartburn and acid reflux symptoms, try avoiding these foods and see if your condition improves.
Remember, every person is different.
What works for one person may not work for another.
If you need help finding the right diet for you, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian.
Also read: 8 Foods That Help Acid Reflux Go Away