Without a doubt, the burning sensation that spreads from the chest up to the throat area, leaving a sour or bitter taste, can be an irritating experience. It can be even more frustrating when it lasts for hours. This sensation – commonly referred to as heartburn – is enough to leave anyone desperate for a solution. Acid reflux is the cause of this and, usually, this is triggered by various lifestyle factors.
Fortunately, you can now avoid these unpleasant symptoms by consuming less, if not zero, of certain food and drink groups. So, what not to eat with acid reflux? Here’s the top 10 list.
1. Citrus Fruits and Juices
At the top of the list of worst food for acid reflux are citrus fruits. Though high in vitamin C, oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes and mandarins also contain high acidic levels which can trigger acid reflux, particularly when eaten on an empty stomach. Even your favorite orange juice can feel like rubbing salt on the wound when you have acid reflux. Instead of orange juice, go for ginger ale which has been proven to ease heartburn.
2. Garlic, Onion and Other Spices
Spices like garlic and onions are staples in most food recipes. Be reminded though that, though not acidic, fresh garlic and onions can easily trigger or worsen acid reflux. Notwithstanding the pungent smell they leave on your breath, these two can easily irritate the stomach lining. Choose to cook with herbs such as basil, dill, thyme, tarragon, and parsley to add flavor to your menu without triggering an attack.
Rich in anti-cancer compound, lycopene, tomatoes and its equivalent are no-no to people with acid reflux due to their high acid content. Ketchups and tomato-based pasta sauces also elicit the same effects. So, try mustard or low-fat mayo the next time around.
4. Spicy Stuffs
Indian, Malay, Thai, Indonesian, Bhutan and Mexican food are mostly peppered with chili and various spices—known acid reflux triggers. While tolerance to spicy food is highly individual, eating “hot” food items can certainly lead to pain. Instead choose milder, non-spicy foods when possible.
One of the results of recurring acid reflux is bad breath. But when you feel like grabbing some mint, consider the repercussions it may have on your esophageal sphincter muscles. Peppermint relaxes them and can easily allow acid to back-flow into your throat. In the same way, avoid tea and other mint-based products like chewing gums and candies as well. Consider chewing fresh ginger instead.
6. Fatty Foods
What do avocadoes, cheese plates, nuts, and juicy red meat steaks have in common? Though, these foods are known to be low in acid, they are high in fats (both good and bad). However this can slow down digestion. This then heightens the pressure on the esophageal sphincter causing acid reflux symptoms to set in. When eating steak, consider trimming the fat and also lower the portion to reduce the load on your digestive system. Cheese servings should also be limited into a two-dice size.
7. Alcohol and Carbonated Beverages
Some people drink alcoholic and carbonated beverages to relieve pressure from their stomach—which is just plain wrong! Just because one is able to belch doesn’t necessarily mean that acidic backflow can be prevented. These two type of drinks are not only bad for the health, both can also worsen or trigger symptoms of acid reflux like heartburn. As mentioned previously, a healthy alternative is to drink ginger ale or a ginger-based tea.
8. Caffeine-Filled Beverages
Caffeine-rich food and drinks like coffee, cola, tea (except ginger-based) and other food or beverages are huge acid reflux offenders. When you are undergoing the usual burning sensation, steer clear of these items and, again, opt for water or ginger ale to help attenuate the acidic content. If you can’t live without coffee, consider cutting your consumption.
9. Chocolates and Equivalents
This no-no food will definitely break hearts but really, chocolates don’t just trigger heartburn, they worsen the symptoms. According to gastroenterologists, chocolates relax the esophageal sphincter muscles triggering backflow of acid from the stomach to the esophagus. So, if you know you are susceptible to nasty acid reflux attacks, steer clear of this dark sensation.
10. Milk and Dairy
Dairy foods like milk and cheese do not only worsen stomach’s acid level, they are also high in fat which slow down digestion as discussed above. The more they remain on your stomach wall, the more they will trigger stomach acid to flow back to the esophagus. So, next time you bake, consider replacing this with other substitutes. Applesauce and other reduced fat versions also make good options.
Find Your Triggers
When thinking of what not to eat with acid reflux, consider food preparation and your own personal triggers. Try ditching frying, deep frying and, if it can be helped, sautéing. Go for boiled, steamed, broiled, grilled, roasted or raw as all of these cooking methods aid in the digestive process. To add flavor to food preparation, use various herbs and broths. Best of all, keep a food log to keep track of foods which trigger your heartburn.