Acid reflux, or heartburn, is more than just an occasional annoyance. For some people, it’s a recurring ordeal. The harsh reality is that certain foods and drinks can trigger this uncomfortable condition. But don’t despair — armed with knowledge and a few dietary tweaks. You can minimize your symptoms and enjoy your meals in peace.
Dr. Mayor Boss, Ph.D., a Pharmaceutical Scientist, shares his insight on the ten foods that are most likely to cause acid reflux.
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Foods That Trigger Acid Reflux
Here are some food items that may be exacerbating your acid reflux symptoms:
Yes, the beloved morning brew can, unfortunately, be a major trigger for acid reflux. “Caffeine in coffee can stimulate your stomach to produce more acid, which can backflow into your esophagus,” Dr. Boss explains.
You already know that citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits often result in heartburn and acid reflux symptoms. Dr. Boss shares, “Their high acidity can irritate the lining of your stomach and esophagus, triggering acid reflux.”
Tomatoes and tomato-based products like pasta sauce, salsa, and pizza can cause acid reflux. “Tomatoes are highly acidic, which can prompt a bout of heartburn,” Dr. Boss states.
This sweet treat is, unfortunately, not sweet on your stomach. “Chocolate contains an ingredient called methylxanthine, which can relax the muscle between your stomach and esophagus, leading to acid reflux,” Dr. Boss says.
While they can add a kick to your meals, spicy foods like chilies and hot sauce can ignite a heartburn episode. “Spicy foods can irritate the esophagus and trigger acid reflux,” Dr. Boss warns.
Garlic and Onions
Although they’re flavorful additions to any dish, garlic, and onions can upset your stomach. “Garlic and onions can stimulate your stomach to produce more acid, which can trigger acid reflux,” Dr. Boss notes.
Despite its calming reputation, peppermint can have the opposite effect on your stomach. “Peppermint can relax the muscle between your stomach and esophagus, causing acid to flow back up,” Dr. Boss explains.
While an occasional glass might not cause much harm, excessive alcohol can be a trigger. “Alcohol can relax your lower esophageal sphincter, hence, allowing acid to reflux into the esophagus,” Dr. Boss cautions.
Fried or Fatty Foods
Fried or fatty foods like french fries or fatty cuts of meat can worsen acid reflux. “Fatty foods can delay stomach emptying, which can cause bloating that pushes gastric juice into the esophagus,” Dr. Boss reveals.
The bubbles in fizzy drinks can typically cause havoc in your stomach. “Carbonated beverages can cause bloating, which increases pressure in the stomach and can result in acid reflux,” Dr. Boss informs.
Understanding which foods trigger your acid reflux is the first action toward managing your symptoms. Thus, by adjusting your diet and avoiding these potential triggers, you can find relief from your acid reflux.
“But remember, every person is different, and what triggers one person’s acid reflux might not affect another,” Dr. Boss reminds. “Listen to your body and identify your own triggers. And if your symptoms persist despite dietary changes, please consult a healthcare provider.”
Further Reading: Home Remedies for Acid Reflux