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What are the Foods to Avoid with Acid Reflux?

By Andy Hill
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Acid reflux, heartburn and indigestion can be triggered through the consumption of certain foods. Particularly disruptive are those foods that contain high levels of fat, dairy, caffeine or citric acid. Knowing which foods to avoid with acid reflux is important to ensure that the triggers of heartburn and indigestion can be avoided.

Acid reflux, indigestion and heartburn are quite common ailments that are triggered as a result of two key factors. The consumption of foods that have an acidifying effect on the body causes excess stomach acid to be produced, which is then refluxed or regurgitated via the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The LES is the direct link between the esophagus and the stomach, and the consumption of certain foods can have a particularly stimulating effect on the LES, relaxing it and allowing foods from the stomach to travel back into the esophagus. The key elements of the foods to avoid with acid reflux are those that either acidify the body or stimulate the LES, causing it to relax.

For individuals who suffer from heartburn or acid reflux, adopting an acid reflux diet or a diet balanced in potenz Hydrogen (pH) can be helpful. The planning of these diets is important because they must concentrate on the foods that have a more neutral pH and therefore a less volatile effect on the LES. An acid reflux diet must also take into account foods that aggravate heartburn or acid reflux and either limit the intake of those foods or eliminate them completely.

Foods that cause the LES to relax are generally fried foods, dairy-based products, meats with high fat content, cookies, chocolate and thick sauces such as mayonnaise. Peppermint is also known to stimulate the LES and be a component of acid reflux. Other foods to avoid with acid reflux are those that cause excessive acid production in the stomach, including citrus fruits, tomatoes, raw onion, spicy foods, alcohol, carbonated beverages and caffeine.

The method by which food is prepared can have an effect on acid reflux. For example, baking rather than frying foods will have a less-acidifying effect on the stomach. The time of day that a meal is eaten is also important, because eating a large meal late in the evening or eating just prior to going to bed can lead to heartburn and acid reflux. This is because the body has insufficient time to digest foods correctly before entering sleep.

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Discussion Comments

By SteamLouis — On May 19, 2013

I recently discovered that I can't have mayonnaise and ice cream. I'm so mad!

I was just getting over the fact that I can't have tea or coffee anymore and now this!

I think my number one things to avoid for acid reflux are spices and alcohol. Even black pepper bothers me now, I used to eat a ton of it before. I also love Chinese and Indian food but I have to stay away. As for alcohol, even a half glass is enough to give me severe heart burn and cramps.

I hope my treatment for acid reflux works so that I can go back to eating these foods.

By candyquilt — On May 19, 2013

@fairy-- Dairy causes problems for me if it's high in fat and if it doesn't have sugar. Try having a low fat yogurt with some sugar.

Tomatoes are acidic, so they kind of fall in with other citric fruits like lemons and oranges. It's also on my avoid list. To be honest, I can't seem to have any raw vegetable in general. Everything has to be boiled. I don't have problems with boiled peas, green beans, carrots and corn.

The foods I eat the most are mashed potatoes, cheese sandwich and crackers. These foods reduce my acid and settle my stomach. They're like acid reflux remedies. I also like having low-fat warm milk with some honey.

By bear78 — On May 18, 2013

Does anyone have problems with yogurt and tomato sauces?

I'm good at avoiding foods bad for acid reflux but the list seems to be growing every day. I can't have yogurt and tomatoes anymore either.

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