Many people can point to specific food triggers that make their acid reflux worse. The truth is that avoiding certain foods can often help to minimize those uncomfortable symptoms, and even keep the disease itself from worsening. While the most important foods to avoid will vary from person to person, there are quite a few foods that seem to make acid reflux worse for almost everyone:
Experiencing acid reflux symptoms after drinking coffee or tea is a common complaint. While the research on this issue isn’t completely clear, it’s best to avoid caffeine if you notice that your daily cup of coffee is impacting your symptoms.
High-Fat or Fried Foods
High-fat and fried foods are thought to relax the muscles at the end of the esophagus, known as the lower esophageal sphincter. This is the muscle that is supposed to keep food in the stomach after eating. When this muscle is relaxed, those stomach contents can escape and cause acid reflux symptoms.
High-fat foods can include everything from butter and cheese to fast food options like french fries and pizza. Chocolate, too, is considered a high-fat (and caffeinated) food. Unfortunately, even some healthy fats, like avocados, can trigger acid reflux symptoms.
Mints and Spices
Mint, including peppermint and spearmint, can worsen acid reflux symptoms. Many people will find this surprising, as mint is frequently recommended to soothe stomach conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Certain spices, too, can trigger acid reflux. Pepper, chili powder, garlic, and even too much salt have been reported to cause acid reflux symptoms.
If you have acid reflux, try to limit your consumption of alcohol. These beverages are irritating to the esophagus and relax the lower esophageal sphincter. They can also increase your stomach acid, which makes acid reflux worse.
Carbonated beverages, like soft drinks or sodas, can cause heartburn and increase symptoms of acid reflux.
Acidic Fruits and Vegetables
Sadly, even some healthy fruits and vegetables can worsen acid reflux. Oranges, tomatoes, lemons, grapefruit, and other acidic foods can trigger acid reflux. When it comes to preventing symptoms, bland is often better.
Controlling Acid Reflux Through Food
While there are many foods that can worsen acid reflux, there are also many foods that can make acid reflux better. Low-fat and low-sugar foods have been shown to help acid reflux, as have whole grains and high-fiber foods. Ginger is a soothing choice for people with acid reflux, as are non-acidic or low-acid fruits like bananas.
Keeping a food diary can help you identify which foods make your acid reflux symptoms worse. Whenever you experience symptoms, write down the foods that you ate to see if you notice a pattern. Share your results with your doctor for their opinion.