7 Foods to Avoid With Acid Reflux
If you suffer from acid reflux, you know how uncomfortable the symptoms can be. The burning sensation in your chest, bloating, and indigestion can make it difficult to enjoy your favorite foods. Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a condition that occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. While several factors can contribute to acid reflux, the food we eat plays a crucial role in either triggering or alleviating the symptoms. Thus, it is essential to be mindful of our diet and avoid foods that can make acid reflux worse.
Here, we’ll discuss seven foods to avoid if you have acid reflux, along with other dietary changes that can help manage your symptoms.
1. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits are highly acidic and can worsen acid reflux symptoms. They stimulate the production of stomach acid, which can irritate the esophagus and cause heartburn. If you have acid reflux, it’s best to avoid these fruits or consume them in moderation. Instead, opt for low-acid fruits like bananas, apples, and pears.
2. Spicy foods
Spicy foods like chili peppers, hot sauce, and curry can also trigger acid reflux symptoms. They contain compounds that can irritate the lining of the stomach and esophagus, leading to heartburn and indigestion. If you love spicy foods, try reducing the amount you consume or avoiding them altogether. Instead, consider using herbs and mild spices like ginger and turmeric to add flavor to your meals.
3. Fried foods
Fried foods are high in fat and can slow down the digestion process, leading to acid reflux. They also put pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is the muscle that separates the stomach from the esophagus. When the LES is weakened, stomach acid can flow back into the esophagus, causing heartburn. If you have acid reflux, it’s best to avoid fried foods and opt for healthier cooking methods such as grilling or baking.
Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, two compounds that can relax the LES and promote the production of stomach acid. This can lead to acid reflux symptoms such as heartburn and indigestion. If you have acid reflux, it’s best to avoid chocolate or consume it in moderation.
5. Mint and peppermint
Mint and peppermint can also trigger acid reflux symptoms. They can relax the LES and allow stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus, causing heartburn. If you have acid reflux, it’s best to avoid mint and peppermint, including mint gum and breath mints.
6. High-fat meats
High-fat meats like beef, pork, and lamb can slow down digestion and increase the risk of acid reflux. They also put pressure on the LES, causing stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus. If you have acid reflux, it’s best to opt for leaner meats like chicken and turkey.
7. Tomato-based products
Tomatoes and tomato-based products like pasta sauce and salsa are highly acidic and can worsen acid reflux symptoms. They can irritate the esophagus and cause heartburn. If you have acid reflux, it’s best to avoid tomatoes and tomato-based products or consume them in moderation.
Other ways to manage acid reflux
Apart from avoiding these trigger foods, there are several other dietary changes you can make to manage acid reflux symptoms. For example, eating smaller meals throughout the day rather than consuming larger meals can help prevent acid reflux. It is also important to chew your food slowly, which gives your body more time to digest it, reducing the risk of acid reflux. Avoid lying down immediately after eating, as this can worsen acid reflux symptoms. Instead, try to remain upright for at least 2 to 3 hours after eating.
Keeping a food diary can also help you identify which foods make your symptoms worse. By recording what you eat and how you feel afterward, you can pinpoint which foods to avoid or consume in moderation. It is also advisable to consume plenty of water throughout the day, as this can help dilute stomach acid and prevent acid reflux.
The bottom line
Dietary changes can significantly impact acid reflux symptoms. By avoiding or reducing the consumption of certain foods that trigger acid reflux, you can alleviate the discomfort caused by acid reflux. Adopting healthy eating habits like eating smaller meals, chewing slowly, and avoiding lying down immediately after eating, can also help prevent acid reflux symptoms. By making these dietary changes, you can manage your acid reflux symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.