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What Foods to Avoid that Causes Acid Reflux?

Updated on December 23, 2012

Acid Reflux? What is it?

When the stomach contents such as food or liquid that consist of gastric acid leak backwards from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach). This is call acid reflux or in medical term Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This action can irritate the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms.

At the entrance to your stomach is a valve, which is a ring of muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Normally, the LES closes as soon as food passes through it. If the LES doesn't close all the way or if it opens too often, acid produced by your stomach can move up into your esophagus.

Where is Esophagus

The location of esophagus
The location of esophagus

Esophagus is very easy to trace, it is a long tube that runs from the mouth to the stomach.

What is Gastric Acid

Our stomach produce a kind of fluid call digestive fluid or gastric acid, formed in the stomach. It has a pH of 1 to 2 and is composed of hydrochloric acid (HCl) (around 0.5%, or 5000 parts per million), and large quantities of potassium chloride (KCl) and sodium chloride (NaCl). The acid plays a key role in digestion of proteins, by activating digestive enzymes, and making ingested proteins unravel so that digestive enzymes can break down the long chains of amino acids.

Symptoms of acid reflux

It is not difficult to identify the symptoms of acid reflux. To set your mind at rest here are some of the most common symptoms of Acid Reflux Disease.

  1. The burning feeling in the chest usually appears after eating, and can last up to several hours. The burning pain or discomfort may move from your stomach to your abdomen or chest, or even up into your throat. This is also called as heartburn.
  2. Lying down, or bending over makes it worse. This is another signs and symptoms of acid reflux.
  3. There is a burning sensation in your throat, a sour or bitter-tasting acid backing up into your throat or mouthacidic taste in your mouth. This is call regurgitation in medical term.
  4. You become hoarse, or chronic sore throat and can even lose your voice.
  5. You may develop symptoms of asthma, and begin and continue to cough as the signs and symptoms of acid reflux.
  6. You may find swallowing difficult
  7. The most easily identify signs and symptoms of acid reflux is normally an antacid tablet will relieve the symptoms. From there, you can tell straight away that you have got a acid reflux disease already.
  8. Hiccups that don't let up
  9. Bloating, although this is common but it is another sign of acid reflux.
  10. Bloody or black stools or bloody vomiting. You should be really careful with this sign or symptom of acid reflux, you are at the very dangerous stage now! Go and consult your doctor immediately!
  11. Nausea
  12. Weight loss for no known reason

The Most Important Thing

All the information provided here is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for any medical advice or treatment for any specific medical condition whatsoever.

Should you have any health care related questions or any specific health issues, you should consult your physician, GP, medical practitioner or healthcare provider immediately.

You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you may have read here or elsewhere.

Foods to avoid
Foods to avoid

What Foods to Avoid that Causes Acid Reflux

Some foods can trigger and causes acid reflux thus indirectly causing heartburn. Here are foods and beverages that may trigger your symptoms. For most of the people, these include:

1. Alcohol

Alcohol cause acid reflux
Alcohol cause acid reflux

There are a number of reasons why alcohol influences reflux. When the digestive system operates normally, a small valve called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) keeps stomach acids in the stomach. When the LES relaxes or weakens, stomach acids enter the esophagus.

Alcohol is known to relax the body’s natural processes, which explains how it relaxes the LES. When acid reflux and alcohol are combined, a person may experience heartburn, coughing, abdominal pain, or bloating. Over time, regular alcohol consumption has been shown to cause permanent damage to the LES. This may mean finding reflux relief is more difficult, if not impossible. If acid reflux is left untreated, it can cause permanent damage to the esophagus and foster the growth of cancerous cells.

Thus, avoiding alcohol entirely may be necessary, especially if your reflux becomes more active after drinking. However, some people can get away with a few drinks and not experience symptoms.

caffeine
caffeine

2. Caffeine

Like alcohol, caffeine also relaxes LES (lower esophageal sphincter) and thus trigger acid reflux and causes heartburn. So switch to de-caffeine coffee or low tannin tea.

3. Carbonated beverages

Carbonated drinks
Carbonated drinks

Do not mistaken by not drinking coffee itself can avoid taking in caffeine, there are many more drinks that contain caffeine as well. Soda drinks and other carbonated beverages such as tonic water may increase your acid reflux symptoms, because the carbonation increases the pressure in the stomach. On top of that, caffeine, which is present in many sodas, can be a heartburn trigger.

Chocolate
Chocolate

4. Chocolate

Chocolate contains concentrations of theobromine (a compound that occurs naturally in many plants such as cocoa, tea and coffee plants), which relaxes the esophageal sphincter muscle, letting stomach acid squirt up into the esophagus.

5. Onions

Many people experience acid reflux symptoms when they eat onions. Avoid onions as much as possible, especially raw onions.

6. Citrus fruits and juices

Citrus Fruits and juices
Citrus Fruits and juices

Citrus fruits and juices are highly acidic and can cause heartburn in patients with acid reflux. Oranges, orange juice, and grapefruit can be triggers. If you have acid reflux and still want to enjoy citrus fruit, try eating it for dessert on a full stomach rather than on an empty stomach.

7. Garlic

Garlics
Garlics

Another good-for-you food that isn’t so good for acid reflux is garlic. Some people experience heartburn after eating a lot of the stinking rose.

8. Spicy Foods

Spicy Foods
Spicy Foods

Eating spicy foods like peppers and chili may cause the stomach to become upset, which can result in the stomach acids irritating the esophagus. Try avoiding spicy foods and see if it helps your heartburn.

9. Tomatoes

Tomatoes
Tomatoes

Like onions and garlic, tomatoes are full of health benefits but are usually too acidic for people with acid reflux.

Fried Foods
Fried Foods

10. Fried Foods

Most people know that fried foods can cause acid reflux, but they don't understand why. Foods that are high in trans fat slow down the digestive system, which may cause digestive juices to move back up the esophagus. Avoid eating foods such as French fries, doughnuts, egg rolls, and any food that has been deep fried in oil.

11. Baked Goods

Baked foods
Baked foods

Bakery produces baked foods such as brownies, cake, doughnuts, muffins and other sweet treats usually contain trans fats too. These foods also have high levels of preservatives and other unnatural ingredients, which may cause acid reflux to become worse.

Animal protein
Animal protein

12. Animal Protein

Many people experience an increase in acid reflux when they are eating animal protein such as meat and dairy. These foods are very hard to digest and they slow down the digestive process, which may cause the acids to irritate the esophagus. Additionally, dairy foods such as milk and cheese cause the body to excrete extra stomach acids to aid digestion.

13. Peppermint

Peppermint
Peppermint

While many people think peppermint is soothing for the tummy, it is actually an acid reflux trigger food. Our best advice is to skip the after-dinner mints, especially after a rich meal. They may be good for your breath while on a date, but they are not so good if you are prone to acid reflux. Peppermint relaxes the sphincter muscle between the stomach and esophagus. This allows stomach acids to flow back into the esophagus.

Full Fat products
Full Fat products

14. Full-fat dairy products

When it comes to acid reflux, whole milk or full fat milk are generally regarded as foods to avoid, as it weakens the muscle valve in the lower esophagus. Chocolate milk should also be avoided as chocolate contains concentrated amounts of theobromine (found naturally in many coffee, tea and cocoa plants) and can relax the esophageal sphincter muscle, causing stomach acid to rise up into the esophagus.

Natural Remedies for Acid reflux and heartburn
Natural Remedies for Acid reflux and heartburn

The Natural Remedies for Acid Reflux and Heartburn

Whenever someone is diagnosed having acid reflux or heartburn, always they will be prescribed a medicine called Antacids, such as Mylanta, Rolaids, Alka-Seltzer, Maalox, or Riopan which can neutralize the acid from your stomach and relief the heartburn sensation. Although it helps to reduce the pain, but also, it gives unwanted side effects like diarrhea or constipation if you have overused them. The best antacids that will work are those contain both magnesium hydroxide and aluminum hydroxide which may help to counteract these gastrointestinal side effects. But yet, it will produce another irreversible side effect because of the aluminum, which has been associated with senility and Alzheimer’s disease.

Hence, it is better to use natural remedies for your acid reflux or heartburn. Here is a natural remedy that you can use when you have acid reflux or heartburn.

Natural Healing

It is better to use natural remedies for your acid reflux or heartburn to avoid any side effect

Aniseed and Lavender
Aniseed and Lavender

Main Ingredients

Aniseed or anise - is a powerful herb that helps in digestions and has many other benefits for our body. Use only the ash-colored anise called green anise, European anise or sweet anise. DONOT use Star anise and Caraway, which will not work for acid reflux.

Lavender - which is known for its scent has enormous healing activity for our body. It is also an excellent stomach aid which is useful in reducing acid in the stomach.

  • Prep time: 5 min
  • Cook time: 5 min
  • Ready in: 10 min
  • Yields: Twice Daily

Ingredients

  • Aniseed or anise
  • Lavender

Instructions

  1. 1. Boil 2 ½ cup of distilled water.
  2. 2. Pour the water over a teaspoon of the herbals mixture.
  3. 3. Let the tea sit for 3 - 5 minutes.
  4. 4. Stir the tea and add a little bit of honey to make it tastier.
  5. 5. Place this tea in a thermos to keep it warm.
  6. P/S: blend and mix together equal amounts of aniseed and lavender.
  7. Direction of Use
  8. Drink up to 8 oz in the morning and 8 oz in the evening to get relief of acid reflux.
Cast your vote for Natural Remedy for Acid Reflux or Heartburn
Acid reflux - raw potato juice
Acid reflux - raw potato juice

Raw potato juice

This is another natural remedy that can help on you acid reflux.

Get two medium sized potatoes, wash clean and leave the skin intact. Remove the buds and cut into pieces. Make sure that you remove all those sprouting and greenish parts, as these are poisonous if consumed. Then use a juicer to extract about 200cc of juices. Set it one side and allow to stand for three minutes, filter the residue and only take the liquid on top.

If you do not like the taste of raw potato juice, add in an apple will make it taste better.

Do not consume the white sediments at the bottom as the starch will only worsen your condition. You can consume this for twice a day and remember that it must be consume with an empty stomach, for example, you can take it in between your meals.

Since the sedimentation of starch is still edible, you can keep it and use it to thicken food.

Photos credit

What the Expert Agree: Acid Reflux and Heartburn Can Be Very Dangerous If Left Untreated

"Ulceration of the esophagus can result in hemorrhage...the formation of an abnormal lining of the esophagus can become cancerous. "

"The complication is chronic inflammation of the lining of the esophagus caused by the acid that is in contact with the lining for hours when one is recumbent. The complications are structuring, which is scaring of the esophagus, which can cause obstruction, ulceration of the esophagus that can result in hemorrhage, and the formation of an abnormal lining of the esophagus that can become cancerous. "

John Bryant Wyman, MD

University of Wisconsin

School of Medicine

Department of Medicine

Thank You! To all the SquidAngels who blessed on this lens - This lens has been blessed by the following SquidAngels

Squid Angels Blessed
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    • lgOlson profile image

      L. Olson 4 years ago from Northern Arizona

      Shoot, I have to stop eating everything! Thanks for the great information here. I have acid reflux, and can really use this!

    • x10dit lm profile image

      x10dit lm 4 years ago

      That's an excellent article, thanks for the information. There isn't much left in my fridge that I can eat though... :)

    • profile image

      DavidPouliot 4 years ago

      Foods to Avoid:

      Dairy Products

      Acidic Foods

      Fried and Spicy Food

      Citrus Fruits

      Caffeine

      Garlic and Onions

      Carbonated Drinks

      Medications like Generic Nexium are amongst the commonly prescribed drugs to treat acid reflux.

    • funnygusta profile image

      funnygusta 5 years ago

      very clear article, i heard that apples can cause and mentain acid reflux its really?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Wow , that means we are all going to have to stop eating alltogether. Well nearly -great lens.

    • kristalulabelle profile image

      Kristen 5 years ago from Wisconsin

      Great info! I never knew baked goods could cause acid reflux!

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image

      Kay 5 years ago

      I've struggled with this since my pregnancies. I've found that a lukewarm coke actually helps. I have no idea why though!

    • Stacy Birch profile image

      Stacy Birch 5 years ago

      Great lens, my sister has had this since she was a child and I will have to pass this onto her, thanks.

    • maryLuu profile image

      maryLuu 5 years ago

      Great lens! Very well informed!

    • LornsA178 profile image

      LornsA178 5 years ago

      Great and useful information here. I have to show this to my husband. Thanks!

    • Elaine Chen profile image

      Elaine Chen 5 years ago

      thanks for creating such informative lens.

    • cgbroome profile image

      cgbroome 5 years ago

      I have had some real bouts with acid reflux and my husband suffers from it almost daily. He controls his with a teaspoon of baking soda. Unfortunately, almost all foods trigger it and for my husband, even a glass of water can do it. Still looking for a long-term fix but so far nothing. Interesting lens that is spot on!

    • GeekGirl1 profile image

      GeekGirl1 5 years ago

      Thanks for the useful information.

    • profile image

      sheezie77 5 years ago

      Nice info here, thanks for sharing!

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      I find pastry is bad for reflux too. I can't give up my chocolate...but I don't overdo it.

    • LittleLindaPinda profile image

      Little Linda Pinda 5 years ago from Florida

      This runs in my family. Thankfully I don't suffer from it yet.

    • squid-pinkchic18 profile image

      squid-pinkchic18 5 years ago

      Very useful information. I once babysat an infant with acid reflux. It was very painful for him, I felt so bad for him!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Very nicely presented information! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 5 years ago

      My son suffers from acid reflux. He's gotten very good at knowing what foods to avoid.

    • Natalie W Schorr profile image

      Natalie W Schorr 5 years ago

      I also like warm milk with a little sugar and cardamom for gastric troubles. Well done!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Everything on your list, is what I eat!

    • Mairis profile image

      Mairis 5 years ago

      great information

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      Yep, I see most of my favorite foods on the list. I'm glad there are some natural remedies -- just in case.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Onions are a killer for me, I try to avoid them but most people love to cook with onions. I use garlic instead and it doesn't seem to bother me.

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 5 years ago from La Verne, CA

      I like every food that causes acid reflex. Very good coverage on this malady.

    • Bellezza-Decor profile image

      Bellezza-Decor 5 years ago from Canada

      I had complained to the doctor years ago about burning in my back, not front. Said he never heard of it. Then I went to a Chinese Doctor in town about something else and after a physical examination he said I had it. I'm on Nexium now. I don't find Gaviscom helps much but use Ulcetrol (natural) when I need extra help. And all the trigger foods you mentioned are correct and of course they're the foods I really like. Surprise!

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 5 years ago

      Excellent lens! I like the way you explained which food to avoid and why. I didn't know that lavender would help acid reflux. Might give that a try!

    • Two Crafty Paws profile image

      Two Crafty Paws 5 years ago

      When I first had acid reflux I had to go to the emergency - the pain was not burning, it was very sharp and strong and I was breathless - I thought I had some kind of an attack. Gladly and to my embarrassment it was acid reflux. And from that day on acid reflux and I walk hand in hand (although now I experience burning pain). Did not know about lavender. I usually drink magnesium. Very informative lens.

    • profile image

      poutine 5 years ago

      I know all too well all the symptoms listed above.

      Not easy to live with this.

    • wheresthekarma profile image

      wheresthekarma 5 years ago

      I like the natural routes better too..

    • intermarks profile image
      Author

      intermarks 5 years ago

      @bechand: Thank you my Angel!

    • bechand profile image

      bechand 5 years ago

      I appreciate a good lens - Blessed !

    • intermarks profile image
      Author

      intermarks 5 years ago

      @Linda Pogue: Thank you very much!

    • Linda Pogue profile image

      Linda Pogue 5 years ago from Missouri

      Nicely done. Blessings!

    • intermarks profile image
      Author

      intermarks 5 years ago

      @delia-delia: This is really unbelievable, I have really meet an angle today. Thank you so much!

    • intermarks profile image
      Author

      intermarks 5 years ago

      @delia-delia: That is really bad to be in the hospital on the Xmas Eve. Take care!

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 5 years ago

      Very well presented. This is a big problem for many, and following these few guidelines can help a lot.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 5 years ago

      I came back to ~d-artist Squid Angel Bless~ this lens...it's an important and informative lens

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 5 years ago

      Very informative lens...I have reflux, matter of fact I have "Barrett's Esophagus" from the result of having heartburn for years, this can lead to Cancer. This Xmas Eve I ended up in Hospital Emergency because I had a ball of acid stuck in my throat, it shot up while sleeping. I could not rid the burn with anything, it was very painful.(my own fault, too much alcohol that night) lol

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 5 years ago from USA

      Peppermint, that one surprised me, and so did chocolate. So many of these items are good for you, but they trigger a response you don't want. Learned some things. Thanks for the info.

    • Phillyfreeze profile image

      Ronald Tucker 6 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      I have a condition of that cause gastric acid to continue to pump after eating almost any type of food. I tried many over the counter drugs such as TUMS, and Mallox when what I needed was an "acid-reducer" and I found relief in another over the counter drug that contain the amazing drug "Rantidine"...what a wonder drug!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      My mom was having trouble with choking and the doctor attributed it to acid reflux. Now she takes a beta blocker which seems to relieve it.

    • intermarks profile image
      Author

      intermarks 6 years ago

      @goo2eyes lm: Please tell her for her own goodness, she should stop drinking and control her diet before it is getting worst.

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 6 years ago

      my office mate is suffering from this but she likes to drink beer and eat a lot

    • intermarks profile image
      Author

      intermarks 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you very much for the comment. I am going to put in more informations very soon.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I've got friends that buy pills for this a lot and I wanted to know more about it. Great lens, thanks for putting it together. Venture to my lens, leave your lens so we can get you more traffic!