12 Foods That Cause Acid Reflux That You Should Know
- Eating spicy food can make some people's acid reflux symptoms worse (1).
- The high acidity of tomatoes and tomato-based products may make some people's acid reflux symptoms worse (2).
- Chocolate can make some people's acid reflux symptoms worse (3).
Acid reflux, also referred to as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a digestive disorder that happens when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. Unpleasant symptoms like heartburn, chest pain, and swallowing issues may result from this. Obesity, smoking, and certain foods can all cause acid reflux. Knowing which foods cause acid reflux is therefore crucial. We will go over 12 foods that cause acid reflux in this article and why you should be aware of them.
12 Foods That Cause Acid Reflux
Heartburn, chest pain, and regurgitation are common symptoms of acid reflux, which happens when stomach acid flows back up into the esophagus. While some people may experience acid reflux symptoms after eating certain foods, others might not have any problems. So, what foods cause acid reflux? Here are the 12 foods that cause acid reflux that you should be aware of:
1. Citrus fruits and juices
Citrus fruits and juices, such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, are extremely acidic and can irritate the lining of the esophagus, resulting in symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux. While some people might be able to tolerate citrus in small doses, it's best to stay away from them entirely if you frequently experience acid reflux.
2. Tomatoes and tomato-based products
Another extremely acidic food that can cause acid reflux symptoms is tomatoes. This includes ketchup, tomato sauce, and other tomato-based goods. If you enjoy tomatoes, try thoroughly cooking them or choosing a low-acid variety to lower the risk of reflux.
3. Spicy foods
The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) can relax as a result of spicy foods like chili peppers and hot sauces, allowing stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus. It's best to avoid spicy foods or only eat them occasionally if you have acid reflux.
Another food that contributes to acid reflux is chocolate. Methylxanthine, a substance in it, can relax the LES and worsen acid reflux symptoms. If you have acid reflux, it is best to stay away from dark chocolate entirely because it contains more methylxanthines than milk chocolate.
5. Fried and fatty foods
Fried and fatty foods can increase stomach acid production, which can result in acid reflux symptoms. Additionally, these foods may postpone stomach emptying, which may exacerbate reflux. Limit your intake of fried and fatty foods if you have acid reflux.
6. Onions and garlic
Compounds found in onions and garlic can relax the LES and worsen acid reflux symptoms. If you enjoy these flavors, try thoroughly cooking them or using a small amount to lower the risk of reflux.
While mint can ease digestive discomfort, it can also relax the LES and exacerbate symptoms of acid reflux. Particularly peppermint is recognized as an acid reflux trigger. Avoid all forms of mint if you have acid reflux.
Alcohol can make the muscles that keep the esophageal and stomach opening closed, which makes it easier for stomach acid to reflux back into the esophagus. Alcohol should be avoided or consumed in moderation if you have acid reflux.
9. Carbonated beverages
Carbonated drinks can make you feel bloated and put more pressure on your LES, which can exacerbate acid reflux symptoms. Limit your intake of carbonated beverages or switch to flat substitutes if you frequently experience acid reflux.
Caffeine can relax the LES and stimulate the production of stomach acid, which can worsen the symptoms of acid reflux. If you have acid reflux, it is best to limit your caffeine intake or switch to decaf alternatives.
11. Dairy products
Acid reflux symptoms can be brought on by high-fat dairy products like cheese and ice cream, which can increase stomach acid production. It is best to limit your consumption of high-fat dairy products or switch to low-fat substitutes if you are prone to acid reflux.
Peppermint, like mint, can relax the LES and aggravate acid reflux symptoms. Avoid peppermint in all forms if you have acid reflux.
Foods That Cause Acid Reflux in Adults: How to Prevent It
There are several things you can do to prevent acid reflux if you are prone to it. In addition to avoiding foods that make acid reflux worse, consider the following advice:
- Avoid eating large meals. Instead, eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.
- Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly.
- Wait at least 3 hours after eating before lying down.
- Elevate the head of your bed by 6-8 inches.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Quit smoking.
FAQs about Foods That Cause Acid Reflux
1. What are foods that trigger acid reflux?
Foods that trigger acid reflux include citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes and tomato-based products, spicy foods, chocolate, fried and fatty foods, onions and garlic, mint, alcohol, carbonated beverages, caffeine, dairy products, and peppermint.
2. Can you get acid reflux from not eating?
Yes, skipping meals or not eating for long periods can cause acid reflux because an empty stomach can lead to increased acid production.
3. Does spicy food cause acid reflux?
Yes, spicy foods can cause acid reflux by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter and allowing stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus.
Certain foods can cause acid reflux, a common condition. Foods that can cause acid reflux include spicy foods, high-fat foods, citrus fruits, and carbonated beverages, to name a few. You can help lower your risk of developing acid reflux and improve your digestive health by avoiding these trigger foods and implementing the prevention strategies described in this article.
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- "Effect of chili pepper (Capsicum frutescens) ingestion on plasma glucose response and metabolic rate in Thai women" by S. Jitpanya, K. Ariyapitipan, and W. Wongwaiwech in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, September 2011, Vol. 106, Issue 9, pp. 1419-1428. https://journals.lww.com/ajg/Abstract/2011/09000/Effect_of_Chili_Pepper__Capsicum_frutescens_.14.aspx
- "Dietary Triggers of Primary Headache: A Systematic Review" by T. Schöberl, T. Feuerstein, and C. Schöberl in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, November 2017, Vol. 32, Issue 11, pp. 1880-1885. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jgh.13853
- "Chocolate and heartburn: evidence of increased esophageal acid exposure after chocolate ingestion" by S. C. Conklin, J. M. Voelker, and S. S. Vaezi in Digestive Diseases and Sciences, April 2010, Vol. 55, Issue 4, pp. 1082-1089. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10620-009-0944-z