Acid reflux affects millions of Americans every day. Symptoms of acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are uncomfortable and can interfere with your everyday life. While specific triggers for acid reflux vary from person to person, there are notable trigger foods and drinks you can avoid to alleviate the effects of your acid reflux or GERD.
Foods loaded with pepper or spices can trigger heartburn and stomach acid to flow into the esophagus. If spicy foods trigger your heartburn, avoid them or simply turn down the heat.
That one glass of red wine at dinner may be doing your acid reflux more harm than good. Studies show alcohol can relax the LES valve at the bottom of the esophagus and lead to acid reflux. Red wine and beer have shown to be the worst offenders.
Fried food is one of the most recognized contributors to acid reflux because of its extremely high fat content. Fried foods retain more of their oil and fat than most foods and are often associated with heartburn and indigestion. These foods can relax your LES to the point that it’s immobile, allowing stomach acid to flow freely into the esophagus.
Chocolate contains naturally occurring substances that can cause the tissue in the LES to relax. Chocolate also contains caffeine, which weakens the LES.
Bad news for coffee-holics—beverages with caffeine are big culprits of acid reflux symptoms.
Your favorite fizzy drinks are some of the main causes of acid reflux. The carbonation bubbles expand in the stomach, causing the increased pressure to trigger reflux symptoms.
Tomatoes contain high contents of malic and citric acid and are likely to cause heartburn to those with acid reflux who consume them. Common condiments like ketchup and salsa made from tomatoes can also trigger acid reflux.
Your favorite citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, grapefruit and limes are chock-full of acid, which can upset the stomach and induce symptoms of acid reflux.
Cheese, Beef, Nuts, Dairy
What do these foods share? That’s right—they all have a very high fat content. Fat slows down the digestive process and increases pressure on the LES, making heartburn more likely.
While peppermint has long been thought to be a soothing agent for the stomach, it can subject unfortunate effects to those with acid reflux by overly relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), allowing stomach acid to flow freely into the esophagus.
Now that we’ve told you what not to eat, here are some foods that work to alleviate the effects of acid reflux.
- Leafy greens
- Almond butter
- Non-Citrus Fruits
- Chamomile tea
Knowing which trigger foods and drinks to avoid is half the battle when suffering from chronic acid reflux. Keep a “heartburn journal” to track how you feel after meals and take notes on positive improvements in your condition. Arm yourself with the knowledge for a healthier life!