Heartburn is a painful condition that affects around 20% of the population every week. The symptoms of heartburn are a tight, painful feeling through your chest. Heartburn is caused by acid reflux, which happens when stomach acid is released into the esophagus. The stomach acid eats away at the lining of the esophagus and can cause lasting damage.
If you experience frequent heartburn, you may have a condition called acid reflux disease, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Lifestyle and overall health are important factors in heartburn symptoms. Losing excess weight, quitting smoking, and sleeping in an elevated position can decrease the likelihood of acid reflux.
The type of food you eat and the quantity can exacerbate acid reflux, causing heartburn. If you suffer from heartburn, try eating smaller portions in 4-6 meals a day. Overloading your stomach can cause acid to leak into your esophagus. Keep a food diary to identify which foods may trigger your heartburn. You don’t need to cut these foods totally out of your diet, but moderation can help keep your heartburn at bay.
Here are 15 of the biggest heartburn trigger foods that you can avoid for relief from acid reflux.
Alcohol can be a massive trigger for heartburn attacks. Red wine and beer are particularly likely to cause acid reflux. Alcohol relaxes your esophageal sphincter, allowing for stomach acid to creep up. Drinking alcohol with a large meal is a recipe for disaster as it increases the risk for acid reflux. If you enjoy a drink with your meal, eat smaller portions to minimize your risk of heartburn.
2. Fried Food
Fatty foods can be brutal for a person suffering from acid reflux. While fried foods may look crispy, they retain a lot of the oil in the coating. Foods high in fat take longer to digest, putting pressure on your stomach and esophagus. This increases the risk of acid reflux due to the time your stomach stays full. Instead of fried foods, try grilling or poaching your meals. This not only saves calories but can protect you from heartburn.
3. Spicy Food
The effect of spicy food on heartburn is interesting. Many people complain of massive heartburn after consuming a spicy dish, but others may find spicy food helps calm their chronic heartburn. Spicy food can affect the acid levels in your stomach, creating a more hostile environment that can promote acid reflux. If you find spicy food can trigger heartburn, then try reducing the heat in your meals.
Tomatoes, fresh or canned, can be a major trigger for heartburn. While they are incredibly healthy vegetables, tomatoes are naturally high in acid. This can upset your stomach, causing acid reflux as you digest your meal. Be wary of tomatoes used in cooking. A delicious pasta sauce could come back to haunt you later that night. Also consider condiments high in tomatoes and acid, such as ketchup and salsa.
Your breakfast orange juice could be giving you heartburn later in the day. Oranges and other citrus fruit are high in acid content, which can lead to acid reflux. Instead of citrus fruit, go for high alkaline foods. These include berries, apples, pears, bananas, and melon. If you insist on drinking or eating citrus foods, try to get them in as early in the day as possible. This will minimize the risk of heartburn, as many people experience it in bed or while lounging.