January 19

Acid Reflux? Avoid These Foods


by Julie Baker

Heartburn is a terrible burning sensation that makes your abdomen and chest feel like they’re on fire. If you frequently notice the taste of stomach acid in your throat at the same time, you may have gastroesophageal reflux disease. This is a common condition that causes major discomfort.

You may think GERD is something you just have to live with, but that’s not true. Avoiding certain problem foods that trigger acid reflux can let you enjoy meals with your family again.

1. Acidic Fruits

One of the causes of GERD is simply having too much stomach acid. Avoiding acidic fruits can help with this issue:

  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruits
  • Pineapples

You can still get the vitamin C you need from supplements, berries, green peppers and leafy greens, or by adding bananas and other non-acidic fruit to orange juice.

2. Tomatoes

Even though you may not think of tomatoes as acidic, they can raise stomach acidity significantly. Avoid fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, ketchup, salsa and spaghetti sauce.

3. Fried and High-Fat Foods

One of the main causes of acid reflux is when the lower esophagus accidentally opens, letting acid leak backward. Foods that are high in fat trigger this:

  • Fast foods: Pizza and burgers are probably the worst foods for acid reflux. Not only do they have tomato sauces, but they’re also dripping with fatty, greasy meats and cheeses.
  • French fries: Americans love French fries, but your esophagus doesn’t. So much saturated fat and grease makes your stomach practically cry.
  • Fatty meats: You don’t have to cut meats from your diet, but you do need to cut the fat. At the store, look for low-fat cuts. When making meals, trim as much of the remaining fat as you can.
  • Dairy: There’s nothing wrong with getting more calcium, vitamin D and probiotics from dairy foods such as Greek yogurt, skim milk and low-fat cheeses. Just avoid the full-fat versions.
  • Greasy snacks: You should honestly avoid hyper-processed junk foods for your overall health anyway, but greasy snack foods such as potato chips, tortilla chips, corn snacks, snack mixes and cookies are a terrible gut punch for acid reflux.
  • Rich desserts: Many desserts at bakeries and coffee shops have loads of fat packed into small portions. One piece is enough to cause heartburn most of the day. Candy bars and packaged cookies are even worse.

4. Spicy Foods

Normally, onions, garlic and natural spices provide benefits for health. If you have acid reflux, though, spicy foods belong on the “naughty” list. They can irritate the esophagus and trigger heartburn.

5. Chocolate and Coffee

Any kind of chocolate, even dark chocolate with positive antioxidants, is bad for acid reflux. Coffee has the same natural trigger ingredient, but not everyone has problems with it.

Living Without Acid Reflex

A big help is finding your personal trigger foods and limiting or avoiding them. Also, never snack before bed.

Making meals yourself can let you enjoy many family favorites without problems (minus the tomatoes). Make tacos with low-fat ingredients and plenty of veggies. For desserts, use low-fat cream cheese instead of full-fat cream. Finally, for severe cases, I have found Postbiotics (not Prebiotics or Probiotics) to be very helpful.


Acid Reflux, Diet, Food

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