12 Foods That Can Make Heartburn Worse
Heartburn is that uncomfortable burning feeling in your chest, or the bitter or sour taste in the back of your throat. These foods make heartburn symptoms more likely.
Give up morning coffee to start your acid reflux diet off right? Talk about a buzzkill. But the caffeine in coffee, tea, and colas can give some people more than an energy boost. According to Gale Pearson, a registered dietitian with Tidewater Physicians in Newport News, Virginia, some stimulants like caffeine can relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which causes it not to close properly. “The stomach contents leak back into the esophagus and the backflow of the acid from the stomach cause heartburn,” says Pearson. “Since this is how America stays awake and responds to stress, no one wants to hear that they should be limited to relieve heartburn.” Try one of these 8 home remedies to ease your heartburn symptoms.
A significant amount of serotonin (the “feel good” neurotransmitter) is actually located in the gut, and according to a small study at the University of Michigan’s department of internal medicine, chocolate causes a large amount of serotonin to be released from the cells in the intestines. This causes the LES to essentially put out the welcome mat for the stomach to allow acid to flow back up to the esophagus.
If your favorite food contains jalapenos or chili peppers, you may have to find a less fiery way to incorporate spice into your acid reflux diet. If you do partake in spicy foods, it’s a good idea not to take a snooze immediately after. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center recommends staying upright for at least two hours after eating so gravity can help do its job keeping food in your stomach instead of backing up into your esophagus. You may put out some of the fire and burning after eating spicy dishes. Keep an eye out for these signs of heartburn that may actually be allergies.
Lemons and oranges
Citrus fruits, juices, and even marinades contain a lot of citric acid. Our stomach lining can handle the acid, but the esophagus isn’t so keen on it. With the opening of the esophagus at the top of the stomach, it leaves room for the citric acid to be held in the esophagus and cause a mess of problems, like acid reflux and heartburn.
“Pizza can be one of the worst foods because it contains many heartburn culprits,” says Kate Patton, a registered dietitian with Cleveland Clinic’s Heart and Vascular Institute. “Tomato sauce is highly acidic, and cheese is high in fat, which slows the stomach from emptying and exacerbates heartburn.” Ordering a pizza with sausage, pepperoni, garlic, and onions, can really pack a fiery burn. Stop ignoring these 6 silent signs of acid reflux.
This delightful herb is known for soothing an upset stomach because it relaxes stomach muscles and has a calming and numbing effect. However, peppermint also relaxes the LES, which means peppermint can make symptoms of heartburn worse, according to Harvard Medical School. “Mint, including peppermint and spearmint oil, relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, which may cause digestive fluids to leak back into the esophagus,” says David Nico, PhD, of Drhealthnut.com and author of Diet Diagnosis.
Burgers are an American diet staple, not an acid reflux diet one. On average, we eat three burgers a week. Plus, add bacon and creamy sauces to your beef patty and you have a high-fat recipe for a heartburn disaster. Besides the fact that they relax the LES, high-fat foods overstay their welcome in our stomach. Slower digestion can increase your chance of obesity. An occasional bacon double cheeseburger may mean a tolerable short-term heartburn now. But researchers from Poland showed in their study how eating a steady diet of high-fat foods, it could mean long-term heartburn issues and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Drop that burger and learn how the Mediterranean diet is better for your heartburn and GERD than any other medication.
According to a gastroenterologist at Florida Hospital, foods that contain a lot of tomatoes like salsa, spaghetti, and pizza sauce are highly acidic and big offenders for those prone to heartburn. These sauces often come with a double whammy of burning capabilities because they are often paired with onions that also cause heartburn.
Whole milk and chocolate whole milk
You can still sport a milk mustache on your acid reflux diet, but make it a low-fat version. Stomach juice and milk don’t play nice for some people when it comes to a diet that causes heartburn. Any high-fat dairy products can cause an uncomfortable burning feeling because they take the longest time to leave the stomach, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Here’s the best sleep position for heartburn and other health conditions.
Fried or creamy sides
We know it’s hard for some folks to eat plain, cooked, or steamed veggies, but if you’re prone to heartburn, you may want to season with herbs instead of creamy ingredients like milk, cheese, or sour cream. Veggies doused with creamy ingredients may taste better going down but you could regret it later.
Some like it hot, but don’t be shocked if you feel the burn later. Even a few cranks of the pepper mill or light sprinkles of other seasonings such as crushed red pepper flakes, hot sauce, curry powder, and chili powder can create heartburn. Don’t miss these 8 important medical reasons why you should never ignore severe heartburn.
Who hasn’t heard about the health benefits of the avocado? It’s chock full of nutrients and good-for-you monounsaturated fat. But for chip and guac lovers, this may be the end of a beautiful relationship. Even though the fat in avocados is good for you, it still slows down stomach emptying, which can make heartburn more likely.
Start a heartburn log
If you’re experiencing heartburn after eating, try keeping a food journal for a week. Keep track of the foods you eat, time of day, any activity and the symptoms you experienced after eating. Identifying the foods that trigger heartburn will help you plan out the best acid reflux diet for your health needs. Here’s why your liver may be in trouble if you take acid reflux meds.