Top Foods that Cause Acid Reflux

Top Foods that Cause Acid Reflux

If you suffer from a burning sensation or acute discomfort that travels up from your stomach into your chest and the regurgitation of food that you recently ate along with a sharp and sour taste of acid, these symptoms are native to acid reflux. While the occasional experience of acid reflux need not worry you, if it becomes regular, more intense, and disturbs your sleep, you must visit your doctor.

Food that enters the stomach is retained by means of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is a muscular ring, and it must close immediately as it may become weak or damaged. If it doesn’t close fully or remains open too often, it causes digestive acids to move up into the food pipe or esophagus. This causes the typical symptoms of heartburn, sour taste in the mouth, regurgitation, dyspepsia or burning sensation in the stomach, nausea, upset stomach, bloated feeling, difficulty swallowing, burping, dry cough, and a sore throat. Sometimes, the symptoms are so severe that they can be mistaken for a heart attack. If symptoms persist and are left untreated, you can develop gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Relationship Between Food and Acid Reflux
Your diet has a significant impact on acid reflux. Foods that are acidic in nature contribute to the increase of acids in the stomach and there are more chances of these causing reflux through a weak or damaged LES. There are many such trigger foods, and along with the medication, exercise and lifestyle changes that your doctor recommends, avoiding such foods can help you manage and eliminate your symptoms.

Eating heavy meals close to bedtime and lying down immediately after a meal can trigger an attack. Being obese or pregnant, bending over after a meal, snacking close to bedtime, smoking, and taking over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin, ibuprofen and muscle relaxants, certain antibiotics, and blood-pressure medications can set off acid reflux symptoms.

Foods to Avoid with Acid Reflux
Some common foods that cause acid reflux symptoms are as follows:

  • Deep-fried dishes like onion rings and fries
  • High-fat foods
  • Foods made in excess butter and oil
  • Spices like cinnamon, mace, ground ginger, dill, parsley, basil, thyme, and tarragon
  • Caffeine products like tea and coffee
  • Peppermint
  • Citrus fruits
  • Vegetables like raw/cooked onions, tomatoes, garlic, mint, and spearmint
  • Fizzy drinks and alcohol
  • Citrus/Tomato juices
  • Whole milk
  • Certain types of vinegar and wine
  • Refined and processed foods

Helpful Hints
Being diagnosed with acid reflux need not restrict your fun or enjoyment of good food. While it’s easy to manage these issues at home, it can be challenging while eating out at restaurants or at other people’s homes. It’s important to reduce drinking and stay with plain water. Eat smaller and more frequent meals. Add drinks like camomile tea and warm water first thing in the morning to reduce symptoms. You can also practice portion control and eat slowly, chewing well to allow the food to digest properly. If you’re hungry later, choose safer options like carrot/cucumber sticks, graham crackers, raisins etc. Hard candy is a good option to after-dinner mints but it could induce air-swallowing. Make sure that the last meal of the day is eaten at least three hours before bedtime.

Other useful tips are as follows:

  • Quit smoking because the nicotine content in tobacco affects the elasticity of the lower esophageal muscles
  • Never lie down immediately after a meal
  • Wear looser clothes and sit up straight while eating
  • Extra pillows may not be beneficial. Instead, elevate the top of your bed by 6-8 inches

Diet for Acid Reflux
The optimum diet for acid reflux is highly personalized. While the symptoms are common, each person’s trigger foods that cause acid reflux are unique to them. It’s important to identify and document the foods that set off your particular acid reflux symptoms. Generally, these are foods that do not cause the symptoms of acid reflux:

  • Non-citrus fruits like apples, bananas, melons
  • Berries like blueberries
  • All vegetables without adding dressings, sauces or toppings
  • Lean proteins, lean meats, egg-whites
  • Whole complex grains like rice, couscous, and oats
  • Dried or canned peas, lentils, beans
  • Dark oils like sesame oil, monounsaturated fats like peanut oil, olive oil, canola, sunflower oil
  • Polyunsaturated fats like soybean, fatty fish, tofu, flaxseed, walnuts
  • Dehydrated rather than fresh spices and herbs
  • Homemade baked goods
  • Chewing gum or licorice
  • Greek yogurt

As this list is quite comprehensive, not too many dietary changes are required. They all promote weight loss and healthy eating. The aim is to get combinations of these foods and create a varied, tasty and balanced diet. Greasy and oily foods take a long time to digest and cause the food to remain in the stomach for longer periods, triggering off acid reflux.

Acid reflux affects millions of people. There are a variety of symptoms that crop up when you eat foods that cause acid reflux. Avoid the foods that cause the symptoms and make healthier food choices to reduces chances of increasing and developing acid reflux. Certain lifestyle changes can provide long-term benefits.

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