Acid reflux is an ailment wherein the stomach acids flow back into the esophagus and cause a burning sensation in the chest area and throat, along with discomfort. It commonly happens when the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES) becomes weak or damaged. Certain foods can also increase acid production in the stomach and trigger the symptoms of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). If one experiences the symptoms often, here’s a list of foods to avoid for managing acid reflux:
- Fried and fatty foods: High-fat foods reduce pressure on the LES and delay bowel movement, which may elevate the risk of acid reflux. Some fried and fatty foods to avoid for preventing or managing acid reflux are potato chips, cheese, whole milk, butter, high-fat sour cream, creamy sauces, dips and salad dressings, and high-fat red meat.
- Spicy foods: Spicy foods can trigger the condition and cause severe stomach pain and burning. They may also slow the digestion process and irritate the esophagus, so it’s best to avoid them.
- Tea and coffee: Caffeine worsens the symptoms of GERD in those who are susceptible to the condition. To prevent this, one should limit the intake of caffeinated beverages and opt for teas without caffeine. Also, while some people with GERD cannot tolerate coffee, others can, so the best way to manage the condition is to pay attention to the symptoms after consuming any caffeinated beverages and opt for the ones that do not worsen the symptoms.
- Carbonated beverages: The bubbles that can be seen in carbonated beverages expand in the stomach and lead to pain and discomfort. Instead, it’s better to opt for decaffeinated ice tea or plain water to ensure hydration.
- Fruits and vegetables: Foods to avoid for acid reflux also include certain fruits and vegetables. While they are packed with important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients, some of these foods may trigger acid reflux. Fruits like pineapple, grapefruit, orange, lemon, and lime, along with garlic and onions, can cause gastrointestinal discomfort and aggravate GERD. Also, tomatoes and tomato-based products like salsa, pizza sauce, and tomato sauce should be avoided.
- Peppermint: While peppermint may ease digestive symptoms like bloating, flatulence, and indigestion, it can worsen the symptoms of acid reflux. Peppermint relaxes the LES muscles and causes food remnants and acids to flow back and aggravate the condition.
- Alcohol: Alcoholic beverages also relax the LES and worsen acid reflux. They may also increase acid production in the stomach and cause discomfort.
- Chocolates: Cocoa or chocolate relaxes the LES and leads to an increase in the gastric content in the stomach, causing burning and discomfort in the esophagus. Caffeine and theobromine in chocolates can also trigger the condition.
So, people who experience acid reflux should make a note of these foods to avoid for preventing the condition. Eating smaller meals and avoiding late-night snacks also help ease the symptoms. And in the case of frequent bouts of severe acid reflux, one should check with their doctor for strategies or medications to manage the condition.