An estimated 25 million American adults have acid reflux, or a severe form of heartburn, and experience the issue on a daily basis. More than 60 million suffer from heartburn once a month. And while simple overeating can be to blame, there are several foods that only exacerbate the condition and make it worse. Here you will learn of many foods to avoid with acid reflux.
Heartburn isn’t something to take lightly. In addition to the almost unbearable pain, the acid consistently irritating the esophagus can lead to lasting damage and increase your risk of esophageal cancer.
Interestingly, health professionals prescribe medications known as proton pump inhibitors to reduce the amount of acid build up when the condition is actually caused by too little acid in many cases, not too much acid. In some cases, the disorder is caused by a faulty valve between the stomach and the esophagus. However, in others, it is only made worse by diet.
“After food passes through your esophagus into your stomach, a muscular valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) closes, preventing food or acid to move back up. Gastroesophageal reflux occurs when the LES relaxes inappropriately, allowing acid from your stomach to flow (reflux) backward into your esophagus.”
Foods to Avoid with Acid Reflux
In addition to utilizing these 5 natural remedies for acid reflux, here are some foods to avoid when heartburn and acid reflux are a common problem:
- Chocolate – Apparently chocolate works to relax the sphincter muscle, allowing acids to flow back into the esophagus. But that isn’t the only reason it’s bad for acid reflux—it also contains the next thing on our list:
- Caffeine – Whether you get your daily jolt from coffee or soda, caffeine is a known contributor to acid reflux.
- Soda – The bubbles in soda can expand in the stomach, causing acids to back up. Sodas that are caffeinated are doubly bad.
- Alcohol – Like chocolate, alcohol relaxes the sphincter, allowing acid to flow freely. One drink may not be a problem, but when paired with other heartburn culprits, you’re only asking for greater pain.
- Citrus fruits – The acid content in these fruits are especially problematic when consumed on an empty stomach or when paired with other acidic foods.
- Tomatoes – While they are otherwise good for you, tomatoes are very acidic too.
- Spicy foods – Among other foods to avoid with acid reflux, hot and spicy foods can make heartburn a problem. Simply swap out milder alternatives for the spicy dishes you like.
- Fried and other high fat foods – Fried foods are a common heartburn culprit, but even high fat dairy and meat products can be problematic for some sensitive people.
- Meat – Meat is one of the hardest foods to digest. Limit consumption and try to choose non-fatty meats like chicken or turkey.
- Dairy – Dairy may provide temporary relief, but it could also cause problems.
If acid reflux is a problem for you, learn your triggers and how best to avoid them. In the end, you will have to find out exactly which foods are OK, and which foods to avoid with acid reflux. Learn to know your body.
Here are some other tips on how to treat acid reflux naturally. Something as popular as ginger could help, or something very unknown, such as deglycyrrhizinated licorice, could help. It’s time to figure out what works for you.