Eliminate Food Triggers: 9 Foods That Could Cause Heartburn

Heartburn is caused by acid refluxing into your esophagus. Most often, the cause is a deteriorated condition of the stomach – but it is worsened by the food you eat. In fact, it has often been seen that those who eliminate food triggers that are known to cause heartburn actually get relief from this distressing and painful symptom of acid reflux!

Would you also like to try? Then to help you manage that, here is a list of foods that cause heartburn and that you should avoid:

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Photo Credit: toyohara via Compfight cc

1.    Meat Especially fatty meat or meat in rich preparations worsens heartburn.

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Photo Credit: Pockafwye via Compfightcc
2.    Fatty fried food–The fat in the food makes it more difficult to digest and it stays for that much longer in the stomach. Food needs to get digested fast if you want to avoid heartburn.

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Photo Credit: PetitPlat – Stephanie Kilgast via Compfightcc
3.    Citrus fruits – These fruits are already high in citric acid. When had on an empty stomach, they do not use up enough of the stomach acids, but instead add on to that. The result – the excess acid refluxes into the esophagus. Examples include – grapefruit, sour oranges and of course, by extension, orange juice.

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Photo Credit: Pieter Musterd via Compfightcc
4.    Tomatoes – Tomatoes are pretty high in acid content. They are the vegetable equivalent of oranges so to speak – high in citric and malic acid. And therefore best avoided for the same reason as citrus fruits.

5.    Acidic foods – These aren’t just foods that contain acids; they also include foods that form acids when they are being broken down in the stomach. Examples are vinegar, lemon juice or lemonade, potatoes (in any form – fried or boiled), grain based food like spaghetti marinara or mac and cheese, milk, sour cream or even ice cream!

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Photo Credit: Ruby’s Feast via Compfightcc
6.    Garlic and onion – Garlic and onion also fall under the above category in a way, but their effect is much worse. So these are also best avoided or had in moderation.

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Photo Credit: Ahmed Rabea via Compfightcc
7.    Certain beverages – Caffeine is a huge contributing factor – so tea, coffee and sodas are out. Also alcohol increases heartburn and acid reflux. This is because the caffeine or other substances in these drinks not just increase acid production, but also relax the sphincter that stops the acid from entering the esophagus from the stomach. Have green tea or herbal teas instead.

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Photo Credit: el patojo via Compfightcc
8.    Chocolate– Chocolate also contains caffeine and for this reason is a food trigger of heartburn. If you cannot avoid completely, at least cut back.

9.    Spicy food– Food that is spicy or chili hot increases the heartburn and actually worsens the discomfort as well. Plus, these actually harm the stomach lining. So when heartburn seems to become a regular aspect of your life, switch to less spicy food for a time.

In addition to these triggers, there are other food related things you should keep in mind:

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Photo Credit: Renée S. Suen via Compfightcc

  • Don’t eat too fast – this makes the condition worse.
  • Don’t eat till you feel too full – this will only cause further reflux.
  • Don’t lie down immediately after eating – at least for about an hour or two – when you stay upright, gravity is working with you to keep the food down.

Heartburn is, at the end of the day, a symptom of some other problem – like GERD or acid reflux, or inadequate acid secretion in the stomach or stomach infection. And while it is important to eliminate food triggers to control the situation instead of taking pills, it is also advisable that you visit a doctor if the condition persists, because you need to treat the actual underlying factors causing the heartburn.