8 Foods that Cause Acid Reflux

Acid reflux, or heartburn, is characterized by a considerable burning sensation in the stomach and esophagus region. Extremely bothersome, there is a direct correlation between the foods we put in the body and the experience of acid reflux.

When we eat alot of highly acidic foods, our body starts to become accustomed to this diet. In turn, our stomaches cannot sufficiently process the acid, and this burning liquid moves back up into the throat.

While there are many home remedies for acid reflux, knowing which foods cause acid reflux is your best bet from experiencing it in the first place.

If you frequently get acid reflux, I would recommend you follow a healthy, alkalizing diet. This will help you take great strides in bettering digestive function and reducing the overall symptoms of acid reflux [1], and prevent the uncomfortable feeling from ever starting.

Foods to Avoid if you get Acid Reflux

Below is a list of foods that cause acid reflux. While it may not always be easy, try to avoid these foods when possible.

1. Fried Food

Fried Potatoe Fries

More challenging to digest, fried foods, and foods high in trans-fats, wreak havoc on the digestive tract. These foods are heavy and slow down the overall digestive process, leaving excess acids that can eventually move upward into the esophagus. Fried fats also remain stuck in the digestive process for longer periods of time, and can create increased pressure in the stomach.

2. Processed Baked Goods

Sweets like brownies and cookies create an acidic environment, especially if they are processed baked goods that are full of artificial colors and preservatives. In general, avoid all forms of refined white sugar and enriched flour, as they rank highest on the “acidic” charts.

3. Coffee

Cup of Coffee

While coffee acts as a laxative, more often than not, the high levels of caffeine in coffee lead to an increased secretion of gastric acid in the stomach which may cause acid reflux.

4. Carbonated Drinks

Drinks like soda pop, tonic water and Perrier increase pressure levels in the stomach, which in turn increases the acidic response. As an alternative, try drinking more purified water that’s not too cold. Stay away from acidic fruit juices, like orange juice, especially before going to bed.

5. Hot and Spicy Foods

It may seem obvious, but spicy foods do not help acid reflux. Avoid chili peppers and hot/spicy sauces. When dining out in restaurants that offer Indian or Thai food, ask your waiter for “no-spice.” For many people, the Indian version of “mild” can still wreak havoc on heartburn.

6. Alcohol

Alcohol

Alcohol not only increases gastric acid in your body, but it also dehydrates you and may cause you to wake up in the crucial part of the night when our body detoxes from the previous day. In this sense, drinking alcohol today can set you up for poor digestion or acid reflux tomorrow.

7. Meat

Plain and simple, meat is one of the hardest things for the stomach to digest. In general, meat that is lower in fat (fish, lean chicken, turkey) creates less acid, whereas a thick juicy steak requires more acid in the stomach. Limit meat intake to 2-3x weekly and chew well before swallowing. Better yet, eliminate as much meat from your diet, and eat plenty of raw fruits and veggies.

8. Dairy

Dairy Products

While a cup of cold, creamy milk may provide some temporary relieve to acid reflux symptoms, you may be better off reaching for a glass of water. Milk creates excessive secretion of acid, especially if we drink it when the stomach is full, which will only make matters worse.

Other Ways to Prevent Acid Reflux Symptoms

In general, it is a good idea to eat until you are about 3/4ths full. Chew food thoroughly and eat smaller meals throughout the day, instead of two or three heavy meals. Focus on being present with your food. This will help you avoid over-eating.

I’d also recommend that you chew your food for at least twenty bites and do not lie down immediately after eating. Daily exercise (even just a nice brisk walk), can do wonders for digestion and circulation. With these simple changes, you can avoid acid reflux easily and without medications.

Taking a beet derived Betaine HCL supplement before meals can help aid digestion, and prevent most of the symptoms of acid reflux. However, before taking a supplement, change your diet and avoid the foods that cause acid reflux. You’ll be amazed at how much this will help put the fire out.

– Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

References:

  1. Madhura P. The Most Common Symptoms of Acid Reflux. Nutrion, Health, & Fitness. 2010 August 27.

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  • http://www.yshoo.com Gwendolyn L. Garrison

    This is very good information and I can use it all, except the Prilosec
    I was on this drug for a while and it works very good. However, I am also taking Plavix, and it seems they have found that Prilosec decreases the effectiveness of that drug. I now take Zantac which I don’t think works as well as the Prilosec.

  • Willie J

    tomatoes are another food that cause GERD for me.

  • John

    Thank you for information.
    If you allowed me, I want to share my experience.Up to last month I have a serious acid reflux problem.One of my friend advises an e-book which gives lots of information how to cure this disease.After her advice,I examine the web site which is sold and I am persuaded and buy it. It’s different other types of ebooks and also it’s much cheaper than them.Now, I haven’t any problem and strongly advises to you!

  • Acid Skin

    I have always wondered why certain foods have made me experience heartburn. It must be all the spicy foods I have been eating, but now that I have a larger list I can avoid these items too. Thank you!

  • Buffalo Chiropractor

    Amazing blog. People will get great help from your efforts. Being in the healthcare field it is hard for me not to interject my clinical experiences. I find that there is an intimate relation between the nerves and the organs responsible for heartburn symptoms. It’s often thought of as an outside to in problem. Meaning people think that ant-acids will calm down / reduce the acidity and therefore their heartburn. I have gotten great success with spinal adjustments and allowing the body to regulate itself back to a proper homeostatic environment. The body regulates itself from the inside out. Patients love it when they do not have to take all the chalky pills and liquids before / after each meal. I would encourage anyone with heartburn to seek out a chiropractor in their local area.

  • Adrian

    Hotdogs. I just ate one from a 7-11 and I’m currently having a massive acid reflux.

  • Adrian

    I did not even put mustard and catsup, because last time I ate hotdogs I thought those two caused my previous reflux.

  • Jeffersonianideal

    It is interesting that processed baked goods made the list. In addition to artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, such products are often loaded with inferior quality cooking oils such as soybean oil. Soybean oil is one of the cheapest cooking oils on the market and a contributory cause of acid indigestion. It is used almost exclusively in commercial salad dressing as well as many other processed foods, fried items and snacks. I would highly recommend eliminating soybean oil whenever possible or combining it with foods that will neutralize the heartburn inducing effects of the oil. If you are having trouble identifying the source of your stomach acid problems, look at the list of ingredients. Don’t be surprised if soybean oil in some form is part of the recipe.

  • LibertyVini

    I suffered from terrible reflux, and, eventually, ulcers. Here is what I discovered were my triggers, and why I think they affected me;

    1)Colas and other sodas with phosphoric acid. I noticed that the large amounts of coke and pepsi I drank were associated with heartburn and reflux, but other sodas without phosphoric acid did not.

    2)Cured pork products. I LOVE the taste of all the cured pork products, such as pork roll, bacon, scrapple, et al. All of them caused or exacerbated my symptoms. Convenience-store hot dogs are invariably pork, and would invariably cause reflux.

    3)Lard in baked goods. I noticed that packaged baked goods containing lard (and probably trans fats too) gave me terrible hearburn.

    4)Highly fatty meats. Philly cheese steaks and pork sandwiches were the next to go :o(

    5) Coffee from a coffee truck. This one was a real mystery – I could not figure out why this gave me so much trouble, when coffee from a convenience store usually didn’t. I deduced that while the coffee makers in the convenience stores were likely cleaned frequently, the urns on the coffee trucks are difficult to clean, and so likely harbor heliobacter pylori, the bacterium that causes ulcers. (I still have yet to prove this theory, luckily I work in a laboratory that can help me).

    6) Eating right before (or in) bed. Allowing time to digest the food and allowing acid production to subside decreased my symptoms tremendously.

    7) Sleeping on my back. By switching to sleeping on my right side, my symptoms abated significantly.

    8) Untreated ulcer symptoms. All of the above, plus a significant amount of personal and work stress eventually put me in the hospital.

    9) Misdiagnosed ulcer symptoms. Major university hospital totally misdiagnosed my severe gut pain as appendicitis. One perfectly-pink appendix and 2 weeks later the symptoms returned.

    10) After they returned, a visit to an old-school D.O. resulted in a prescription for prilosec, which along with avoiding all of my known triggers (and changing my work and personal situations) allowed my ulcer to heal.

    And by mostly avoiding the triggers, I can even on occasion enjoy some of the forbidden foods (yum, scrapple!)

  • J. Townsend

    I used to have frequent reflux problems in the night if I had eaten large meals for dinner or if I had had any thing to drink in the evening. Since I have started a weight lifting exercise program I have had not a single episode of reflux no matter my eating or drinking habits.

  • Suzan

    I had acid reflux for many years. I cut out sugar and gluten. No more reflux.

    I eat all sorts of meat and poultry and I drink coffee. I NEVER get acid reflux anymore. Meat doesn’t produce acid reflux, gluten, sugar, and dairy do, though.

    If you check Paleo diet or Primal diet sites, you will read countless stories about thousands of people like me who had acid reflux for years, and cured it after cutting out grains and sugar.

  • scottindallas

    Ummm, meat is EASY to digest. Carnivores have short, simple digestive tracts, herbivores multiple stomachs. Meat breaks down readily and quickly. Now, I certainly agree that fatty meats are a problem, but meat per se is absolutely easy to break down. The fact that it has to be refrigerated lest it begins to decompose would add to my point.

  • John

    Boy, this guy doesn’t leave us much consume, other than the pills he is promoting.
    We are not herbivores. The reason that saturated fats and cholesterol got such a bad rap several decades ago is that the studies were performed on rabbits, which ARE herbivores. Duh! Who’d a thunk!!

  • Andy

    Meat does give me acid reflux.Body builders get these complications because of large amounts of amino acids so they may often take antacid medication.Cheese does not give me acid reflux.I use cheese as a buffer against it.People need to understand that different things affect people differently.COOL PAGE,I’LL SAVE IT.THANKS.

  • SirSnacky

    Cutting out diet Cokes did it for me.

  • yolzy

    I heard heaps of times that meat takes up to 2 days to digest..u might have to read about it again

  • Paul

    Nobody eats ketchup on a hotdog.. Gross..

  • Laurie

    After reading all the comments I must admit I am confused. My ten year old seems to be suffering from acid reflux or possibly a stomach virus…?? He loves milk and drinks a good 8 ounces with dinner every night. He also loves tomatoes. Other than the odd bad beverage…ie: kool aid jammer or power aid, he pretty much eats well, veggies and fruit, home prepared meats etc. and homemade cookies and baked goods.
    Although the hospital assumed he has a stomach virus, after researching acid reflux, I believe that is the problem. Maybe it’s the milk? Any advice would be appreciated.

  • http://globlehealing shirley

    hi my name is SHIRLEY i have very bad reflux acid,you should not eat spicy or sour food,that contain more acid,i eat chocolate and love milk,the only way to tell if you have reflux to have a ENDOSCOPY
    most people will be cured after a short course of medication,in my case i have to take medication for good,felling much better now.
    hope this has been some help.SHIRLEY

  • yobabyyo

    Actually, scottindallas, human’s are not carnivores – we are omnivores. We don’t have short or simple digestive tracts like carnivores.
    Having said that, I do not believe meat is distressing to our digestive tracts as implied by this article, we are omnivores and designed to eat flesh (for the protein and iron). We should limit red meat but mostly in an attempt to get a balanced diet.

  • Chris

    Basically you are suppose to eat Good Food Fruit & Veggies! Bread Peanut Butter “Plenty Of Water” Can food is High Sodium especially Peanuts, & Chips (SALT) Candy Soda High Sugar (Caffine)

  • Sally

    I suffer from strong acidity and reflux. Its been 20 yrs now. It seems to be more related to poor sleeoing and stress than food. Certain foods will make me sick and possibly throw up no matt what: oranges, peaches, fresh prunes. Before, i couldnt even stomach raw vegetables, like broccoli, coliflower. I take nexium 40 mg every morning and although it doesnt help much, without it Im a lot worse. I wish i hadnt started with the pills as my doctoe tells me that now i cannot live without them..

  • varun

    i have been suffering frm severe acidity from the last 2 months ,, whatever i eat it results in acidity and throat burn . i followed the doctor but it was all in vein.. my whole day passes with acid in the throat and cant explain the situations ..
    it will be great thanks if anyone can share the most probable reason of this and if there is any permanent cure of this………..:P

  • ghc_health

    Varun,
    Thank you for your post! lets gather more information and go from there.

    Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which the stomach contents (food or liquid) leak backwards from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach). This action can irritate the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms. When you eat, food passes from the throat to the stomach through the esophagus (also called the food pipe or swallowing tube). Once food is in the stomach, a ring of muscle fibers prevents food from moving backward into the esophagus. These muscle fibers are called the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES.
    If this sphincter muscle doesn’t close well, food, liquid, and stomach acid can leak back into the esophagus. This is called reflux or gastroesophageal reflux. Reflux may cause symptoms, or it can even damage the esophagus.

    The risk factors for reflux include:

    Alcohol (possibly)

    Hiatal hernia (a condition in which part of the stomach moves above the diaphragm, which is the muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavities)

    Obesity

    Pregnancy

    Scleroderma

    Smoking

    More common symptoms are:

    Feeling that food is stuck behind the breastbone

    Heartburn or a burning pain in the chest (under the breastbone)

    Increased by bending, stooping, lying down, or eating

    More likely or worse at night

    Relieved by antacids

    Nausea after eating

    Less common symptoms are:

    Bringing food back up (regurgitation)

    Cough or wheezing

    Difficulty swallowing

    Hiccups

    Hoarseness or change in voice

    Sore throat

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001311/

    Ideally you will want to start dealing with this concern by making changes to your daily life, eating more organic and raw fruits and vegetables will help you over come this problem, however there are a few other suggestions I would have to help you.

    In order to over come this issue, and aside from diet and life style change, it will be wise to focus on the digestive system, cleansing it out and allow a better balance. This process should allow you to digest the foods your eating and also allow for better absorption of these foods.

    Oxy-Powder is a scientifically formulated, all natural colon cleanse, it is the only colon cleansing product backed by real Clinical Studies

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    Premier HCL is a supplemental source of beet-derived hydrochloric acid that can help improve digestion, as well as assist the absorption of many essential vitamins and nutrients.

    Take all supplements as is suggested on the bottle.

    Do your best to drink ½ your body weight (in ounces) of “Super Water” each day.

    Example: If you weigh 150 pounds you should drink 75 ounces of “Super Water” daily. I also recommend drinking this water after your cleanse on a regular basis to maintain good intestinal and overall health.
    How to Make Dr. Group’s Toxin-Free “Super Water”
    Start with one gallon (128 ounces) of distilled, purified or Wellness Water®, preferably stored or purchased in a glass container. Remove 2-3 ounces of water so that you can add the additional ingredients listed below.
    Add three tablespoons of raw non-pasteurized organic Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) to the gallon of water. Shake well. If the taste is too strong for you to handle, reduce to 2 tablespoons per gallon until you become accustomed to the taste.
    Optional: Add the juice of ½ organic lemon and 1-2 ounces Organic Aloe Vera Juice per gallon of “Super Water”. This is not necessary but will improve your results

    Personal Note: Distilled water works beautifully to help detoxify the body. However, if you regularly consume distilled water it may cause a mineral depletion from your body. Therefore, I recommend always adding Organic Apple Cider Vinegar to distilled water to replace the essential minerals normally absent.

  • Tahir Rana

    Gentleman, I dont know the cause and permanent cure, but if you will use regularly sweet lassi you will feel much less acidic. Just take it with meals or as snack. Just google the term sweet lassi.

  • snippy

    It’s been a real process. I thought it was heartburn until the research came up that it was acid reflux. I’m stubborn and keep on eating the wrong things. I believe it’s the sugar and the processed flour; a little bit is okay. I have no problem with sprouted grain bread.
    I found out from a health book that fresh pineapple helps with heartburn and so when I had trouble, would cut up a piece. Pineapple has enzymes and bromelain in it, which is anti-flammatory. Also laying on the left-hand side while sleeping, reduces the heartburn. Apparently it has to do with how the organs are located in the body.
    Right now, as long as I eat an apple or something fresh, I find it goes away.
    Thanks everyone for all of your input. It also is beneficial knowing that I am not alone.

  • bethy

    soybean oil in anything has caused me to ho to hospital avoid all soybean

  • doodlehead

    Agreed – the author doesn’t have a clue, saying that it’s one of the most difficult things to digest. Sounds like he enjoys reading vegetarian propaganda in his spare time.

  • mico

    actually i do

  • M.A

    R u kidding?????Its delicious!!!!!

  • vipul

    use antacid syrups….mean take two spoons before every meal.

  • susannunes

    None of that is even true. That is nothing but vegan nonsense. What will cause it in me is bread and cold chicken if I don’t chew it thoroughly. The pain is horrendous.

  • mark udan

    good day everyone i was suffering reflux and also heartburn everyday for almost 3 weeks, the doctor told me take a medice for almost 2weeks and i need to diet. and as of now i still feel the heartburn and the food that i always eat in morning i eat bread after an hour always buscuit after that my lunch oatmeal and banana and dinner a couple of rice and fish. could u help me what should i do and what should i eat. could u help me what should i eat cause the doctor told me not to eat chocolote,oily food,fatty foods,spicy foods,coffee,

  • eew

    I had severe debilitating Larynpharengeal Reflux (also known as silent acid reflux and burning throat). I suffered greatly. After 2 1/2 years of allergy medications, antibiotics, increasing PPIs that did nothing for me except make my legs feel like lead weights and it gave me pneumonia, my Drs told me there was nothing more they could do for me. The acid was slowly eating through the nerves of my throat. They had to do a biopsy but apparently there was nothing they could do about the searing burn. I did my own research and read that Vitamin D3 strengthens muscles. Since I deduced that sphincters are muscles I decided that D might be able to help me. I took it based on my weight. 35 IU x each pound of weight. I went from ‘searing to death’ to having quality of life. I am not cured but I have long periods of feeling well. I try to travel down the latitude of the planet (below the 32nd latitude) to get sun for vacation. I’d say I have about a 95%-99% improvement and have many long periods were I feel well. I sit in the sun at 1:00 pm (the high point of the sun during daylight savings time) for 10 minutes on each side of my body from mid-April to mid-Sept. I think LPR is like an atrophy of the both the UES and LES. I got the LES fixed with the fundo but there is no surgery for the UES. I’m so grateful to have stumbled onto Vitamin D3…I was unable to cope after 2 1/2 years of being in constant searing pain from the acid burn on the throat. I hope so much it keeps working for me as I age. (PS I still have to watch what I eat)

  • Cured acid reflux

    About me.
    -Lacrosse vegetarian whole life… No meat or eggs, never drink any type alcohol.

    Had Severe heart burn for hours sometimes days…I get so bad acid reflux that I can’t even breath. I went to urgent care but no help.

    Situation got so bad that couldn’t even wat or drink water…

    I figured out two things trigger my acid reflux soda and coffee. I can’t even take a drop of these…

    I am. Cured 95 percent however I can still take coke n coffee.

    First I tried ** pure aloe vera juice ** one gallon bottle from trader Joe. Pure not sugary one… Big bottle. costs 9 bucks I guess. *** must take this for 1 Month every morning empty stomach… Again empty stomach. This cured me acid reflux for 95 percent.
    Aloe vera juice doesn’t help when you are being in acid reflux. It works only if yiu drink first thing in morning. If you having acid reflux n then u drink aloe vera juice doesn’t work… Based on my experience…

    When you having acid reflux… I am trying **baking soda … Yes yellow box one…. Mix 2 spoons of it in water and stir well. It works after coffee… Lol

    Medicines are waste of time.. Never worked for me. Most of times I had to wait 6 hrs before medicine gave me any cure…. I took all milk magnum… Purple…. All are just bs.

    Try these natural stuff what I explained above… Might work you guys…

  • Danielle Barcey

    This is the worst article I’ve read on heartburn.

  • http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/ Global Healing Center

    I’m sorry it wasn’t up to your standards, Danielle. Can you offer a few suggestions for how we can improve it?

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