Acid reflux is a prevalent GI condition commonly referred to as heartburn. Certain acid reflux foods can be a primary source of triggering this condition and GERD. The symptoms associated with acid reflux can be painful and cause discomfort. Therefore, if you’re struggling with these symptoms, it’s essential to be aware of certain foods to avoid.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is often used interchangeably with acid reflux. Although they evoke similar symptoms, they are not the same thing. GERD is when acid reflux occurs frequently and chronically. GERD results when stomach acid repeatedly flows back into the esophagus. Acid reflux is the burning sensation you feel in the esophagus, hence why it is referred to as heartburn.
GERD is a more serious form of acid reflux that can lead to more severe complications. You should consult a gastroenterologist if you are experiencing symptoms beyond mild heartburn regularly. At Wake Endoscopy Center, our physicians are highly educated to provide treatment for acid reflux patients.
According to Pfizer, about 20% of the population has this chronic acid reflux condition. One’s diet primarily contributes to developing acid reflux or GERD. It is also the first adjustment made for treating or managing acid reflux symptoms. These are the following foods to avoid:
Fatty foods are one of the top offenders in causing heartburn. Greasy foods, such as fried and fast food, or red meats, such as bacon and sausage, are all high in fat. These foods tend to sit longer in your stomach due to their high-fat content. Therefore, your stomach produces more acid that can disrupt and damage your digestive system.
Capsaicin, the chemical compound in food that makes it spicy, can trigger acid reflux symptoms in the esophagus. Spices can cause a burning sensation naturally. Therefore, if you are already struggling with heartburn, you should avoid hot spices or sauces that can worsen acid reflux.
Tomatoes are one of the most commonly associated foods with acid reflux due to their acidic nature. They should be avoided in addition to tomato-based sauces.
Acidic fruits, usually from the citrus family, are not acid reflux friendly either. Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, and even pineapple can trigger heartburn and other associated symptoms. The good news is that non-citrus fruits are still able to be a part of an acid reflux diet. In fact, bananas and melons have been shown to improve acid reflux symptoms.
Although chocolate is a classic dessert staple loved by many, it can be damaging to the lower esophagus. Cocoa powder, caffeine, and plant chemicals within chocolate can cause acid reflux. A chemical in cocoa powder relaxes the esophagus, making it easier for stomach contents to leak through.
Alcohol has many negative effects on the digestive system, including acid reflux and GERD. Wine can be very acidic, especially red wine. Similar to caffeine, alcohol is a relaxant that can cause an acid leak in the esophagus.
In addition to avoiding these acid reflux foods, the way one eats their food can also play a role in triggering acid reflux. It’s best to eat smaller meal portions throughout the day as opposed to a large meal in one sitting. Also, try avoiding eating anything at least two hours before bedtime. This way, with your body in an upright position, food and liquid can pass easily through the esophagus.
When it comes to treating this GI condition, one of the most effective methods is removing these acid reflux foods from your diet. There are also medications prescribed to manage heartburn and GERD. If your symptoms continue to be severe, contact a gastroenterologist. Call (919) 783-4888 to request an appointment with Wake Endoscopy Center.