Foods That Cause Heartburn: The Good, the Bad and the Acidic Uglies

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Foods That Cause Heartburn: The Good, the Bad and the Acidic Uglies

There it is again. You go to a party and you start to enjoy yourself. You mingle with some friends you haven’t seen in ages, and the next thing you know, you’re enjoying some food from the buffet. Suddenly, it happens.

You don’t realize you’ve been indulging in foods that cause heartburn, and the all-too-familiar effects are unpleasant. All of sudden, you can’t stay at the party. You want to, but it seems you need to leave now before your heartburn symptoms get any worse.

A heartburn episode may include symptoms that range from unpleasant to unbearable. Regardless of your own case, when it comes to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), it may help to take note of certain foods that can make your disease worse, so you can avoid eating them altogether.

Smarter Eating: Avoid These Foods That Cause Heartburn

meals you are havingJust like other diseases, you can consume some foods that act as triggers for GERD. They can make you suffer from the disease immensely and repeatedly, too. Identifying all kinds of food that causes reflux is key to making sure you can avoid them in all of the meals you are having, whether you’re preparing the food yourself or you are ordering from a restaurant.

Here are number of foods and drinks known for causing heartburn that you should try to keep off your diet today, or at least keep consumption to a minimum:

Sadly, Chocolate is a Trigger

Yes, chocolate can be amazing. It can be luscious, sweet and incredibly indulgent. When you suffer from an acid reflux; however, having some delightful chocolate can make your condition much worse.

The reason for this is that consuming chocolate tends to cause the muscle responsible for controlling your stomach acid backflow to get relaxed. Because of this, your lower esophageal sphincter or LES also tends to stay open longer than it should, easily allowing for regurgitated acid to flow back up through your esophagus. When this happens, you immediately experience a heartburn.

While dark chocolate is generally named the healthier chocolate option compared to milk and white chocolates, people already suffering from GERD are advised to avoid dark chocolate if possible as it is high in caffeine, which is believed to make your acid reflux any worse. A small 1.5-ounce bar of dark chocolate is said to contain as much as 20 mg of caffeine.

chocolateOn the other hand, if you simply can’t resist chocolate just like many other chocoholics, just try limiting your consumption of this sweet treat and more importantly, try not to indulge on a regular basis. If you are GERD patient, you may also want to opt for milk and white chocolate to be safer.

Citrus Fruits: A Healthy Choice That Can Backfire on You

They may be a rich source of vitamin C but several kinds of citrus fruits, including orange, grapefruit, limes and lemon may not be good for you if you happen to suffer from acid reflux regularly.

This is because the juices of citrus fruits can readily contribute to the acids produced by your stomach. When your amount of acid in your stomach increases, there is a higher chance that you will start experiencing some nasty heartburn symptoms such as stomach pain, persistent sore throat, chronic cough and difficulty swallowing.

Try to limit your consumption of citrus fruits daily to avoid suffering from sudden acid reflux attacks. You may also want to stay away from sparkling drinks that contain citric acid as they may make your acid reflux worse too.

Pineapple: A Tropical Trigger

Just like citrus fruits, pineapple is also not the most ideal fruit around when you are suffering from GERD or experiencing acid reflux. This because this delightful tropical fruit is also high in acid, contributing to the increase of stomach acid in your body.

It is understandable if you want to keep enjoying some pineapple slices from to time to time. Just remember that it is not a good idea to keep eating them if you are already suffering from certain acid reflux symptoms as they might make your condition worse.

Peppermint: A Surprising Trigger

PeppermintThey may be enjoyable to have as candy and can be soothing when taken as tea, but peppermint is simply not good for your body if you are already experiencing acid reflux or heartburn.

Peppermint is known to effectively relax the stomach muscles and as it does this, it also tends to relax your sphincter muscle. When it does these, your stomach gets closed off from your esophagus, causing for your stomach acid to regurgitate back up to your esophagus and make your reflux much worse.

Because of this, medical experts advise patients already experiencing acid reflux and heartburn to avoid having any peppermint altogether. Today, peppermint is widely available as candy, tea, gum and flavoring for other kinds of foods and drinks.

Tomatoes: An Acidic Food That Can Make GERD Even Worse

They may be rich in a number of nutrients and minerals, such as lycopene and vitamin C, but sadly, tomatoes are not exactly good for you if you are already suffering from GERD or acid reflux.

In this case, the consumption of tomatoes is not encouraged as these fruits tend to be relatively more acidic than other foods. According to Dr. Basher Atiq, the founder of the Heartburn Center located in Florida Hospital Kissimmee, tomatoes generally contain two kinds of acid. These are citrus and malic acids.

For patients already suffering acid reflux or any stage of GERD, tomatoes can also make their condition worse, as it can also trigger an overproduction of gastric acid in the body. Gastric acid is typically responsible for breaking down food that you eat once you have swallowed it.

When there is an excess amount of gastric acid in the stomach, however, it can cause you to experience a familiar burning sensation in your chest. This is also more commonly known as a heartburn.

pizzaGenerally, Dr. Atiq’s recommendation to heartburn and GERD patients is to remove tomatoes and various tomato-rich dishes, like pizza, pasta and chili from their diet completely. For those who still want to indulge in tomato dishes though, he says he may prescribe medication for the patient. Should GERD symptoms not go away with drug therapy; however, it may be an indication of a more serious form of GERD such as Barrett’s esophagus.

Ice Cream: Another Trigger That’s Hard to Resist

It’s creamy. It’s rich. It’s delightful and yet, it can cause your next episode of heartburn.  It may be tempting, but ice cream is one dessert food that definitely causes reflux in the body.

Though there are a good number of ice cream flavors that are not acidic, ice cream still has a good amount of sugar and fat. Believe it or not, these are also quite bad from you if you are already suffering from acid reflux.

ice creamThe combination of sugar and fat and sometimes, an ingredient known as polysorbate 80 makes this cold treat not ideal for a GERD patient or anyone already experiencing heartburn. This is because the ingredients in ice cream make it quite difficult for your live to digest this frozen treat.

After you’ve had some ice cream, any toxins that your liver is not able to deal with gets sent to your stomach. The moment your stomach becomes agitated from this, you will start experiencing heartburn.
To avoid experiencing heartburn from eating ice cream, limit your indulgence for this frozen treat each week. Eat healthier and just make ice cream a once-a-week dessert. If you are generally in good health, you shouldn’t experience symptoms of acid reflux from eating ice cream once in a while.

Spicy Foods: A No-Brainer Trigger

Spicy dishes tend to be a popular craving among a lot of diners. The same can be said for expectant mothers, which explains why it is one of the top foods that cause heartburn during pregnancy. They can be highly addictive but when you’re already suffering from acid reflux, spicy foods are not a good choice for you.

Spicy foods can trigger a heartburn episode although, each GERD patient may respond differently to consuming them in such a way that some may end up feeling fine after a spicy meal. These include dishes that have been made with jalapeno peppers, paprika and chili. Nonetheless, the key is to stop eating the moment you begin to feel symptoms that indicate that you are starting to experience an acid reflux.

It’s Not About the Coffee, It’s About the Caffeine

Sure, you like having a warm cup of coffee in the morning. After finishing your cup, however, you always tend to suffer from heartburn and the feeling is not at all pleasant.

The reason for coffee not being too good for GERD patients is that this drink is high in caffeine, which is a substance that commonly causes heartburn. Caffeine has a tendency to relax your LES, making you prone to an acid reflux. Coffee itself also encourages the production of more digestive acids which can make your heartburn feel even worse.

coffeeIf you are a coffee lover who tends to suffer from acid reflux, the good news is experts have found a way for you to have your daily cup and not suffer heartburn afterwards. For starters, you should learn to control the amount of caffeine you are ingesting with your coffee. According to the federal health department of Canada, taking in 400 mg of caffeine daily is generally safe. That is equivalent to a little over four cups of coffee.

Aside from keeping a tight control on your caffeine consumption every day, it also helps to only drink coffee that is made from 100 percent arabica coffee beans. Compared to robusta, arabica coffee beans contain significantly less caffeine, making it friendlier to your stomach.

When it comes to coffee, you are also better off sipping those made with shade-grown coffee beans. This is because this kind of coffee also has fewer caffeine content. When it comes to acidity, the levels in this kind of coffee is also significantly lower. Be sure to ask your local barista about these the next time you order your cup.

Fried Foods: Another Reason to Give Up the Fatty Junk

Donuts and fries don’t just make you fat, they increase your chances of suffering from an unbearable acid reflux too. Sadly, these foods are true heartburn causes that most people have a hard time removing from their regular diet.

Fried foods make you more prone to suffering an acid reflux as they tend to relax your LES. Because of the high fat content in these foods, they also tend to stay for a much longer time inside your stomach. Because they are relatively difficult to digest, fried foods readily cause obesity, a condition which also tends to trigger more frequent episodes of acid reflux.

To treat your GERD and make your body healthier, limit your consumption of fried foods. Instead of frying your dishes, try broiling, baking, grilling or steaming them. Fat is not the only source of flavor in the kitchen. You can try to mix up acid reflux friendly herbs and spices like anise, cardamom, cayenne, caraway, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and saffron to make your meals flavorful and good for you.

Alcoholic Beverages: Drinking in Moderation is the Key

Alcoholic BeveragesWine, beer, hard liquor and cocktails have caused a lot of severe acid reflux cases among patients over the years. They may be great drinks to sip on while socializing with friends and colleagues, but alcoholic beverages also tend to relax your esophagus, which oftentimes, results in a severe episode of acid reflux.

To enjoy alcohol without worrying about heartburn, the trick is to keep your consumption in moderation. Instead of having several glasses, just have a glass of wine or cocktail a day. It also helps to avoid alcoholic drinks mixed with any kind of soda, tonic water or orange juice.

Avocado: Small Portions, Please

If you are suffering from a heartburn episode, you may want to skip the guacamole with your chips. They may be rich in healthy fat, but avocados can still end up causing you to suffer from acid reflux.

If you suspect avocado to be the culprit in your recent heartburn episodes, try staying off the avocado for a few days to see if you will feel better. If you do, you may want to consider removing avocadoes from your diet altogether. If you think you can do it, you may continue to enjoy avocado from to time, but it is better to enjoy it in much smaller portions and not too frequently.

Mashed Potatoes: A Comfort Food That’s Not Comforting for GERD Patients

They may go well with a lot of dishes, whether it’s a stew or fried chicken, but mashed potatoes are generally bad for you if you are already suffering from an episode of acid reflux.

mashed potatoesThe reason why mashed potatoes are bad for you if you have heartburn is perhaps because of the all the fat that is mixed into this dish to make it tasty. To enjoy mashed potatoes without experiencing GERD symptoms, you may want to try making your mashed potatoes with some chicken or vegetable broth instead of cream or milk. You may want to skip the butter too.

For a healthier alternative, you may also want to consider serving some baked potatoes instead. Just go easy on the butter and cheese when you make them.

Heartburn Remedies: What You Can Do to Avoid Acid Reflux Pain

Believe it or not, you can easily manage your heartburn episodes by learning how to keep your GERD from getting worse. Here are some of the easiest tips you can incorporate into your daily routine right away. Some of these tips talk about foods that help heartburn, so be sure to put them on your weekly grocery list:

  • Have an apple or a banana day. Bananas are rich in natural antacids. This means that this fruit is great at countering any acid reflux in your body. Eat one a day and you’ll feel better soon enough.

Meanwhile, if your GERD symptoms tend to get worse at night, just slice up an apple and munch on them just a few hours before you go to bed. They will help keep any discomfort away so that you can a get a good night’s sleep for once.

  • Avoid wearing clothes that are too tight. You might think you need to put these on so that your body would look impressive in the office, but wearing clothes that hug your stomach too tightly is not good for you when you are already suffering from acid reflux or GERD.

experience a nasty acid refluxIt’s because any tightening pressure that you put in your abdominal area also ends up putting pressure on your lower esophageal sphincter. In turn, this might cause your stomach contents to regurgitate, causing you to experience a nasty acid reflux.

If you have already been diagnosed with GERD, think twice before you put on a pair of tight jeans or any dress that hugs your body too much. You might want to loosen your belt a little bit too.

  • Do a regular colon cleanse. When you cleanse your colon, you are cleaning your entire digestive tract and detoxifying your system. You are essentially pushing toxins out of your body, be it some harmful parasites or even poisons and fecal matter.

Once your colon has undergone complete cleansing, you will find that your digestive system is functioning much more effectively. Because of this, you can better avoid unwanted episodes of acid reflux.

Cleansing your colon may sound a bit complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. The truth is, you can simply do a colon cleanse by taking the Intensive Colon Cleanse system by Digestive Science. In just 10 days, this cleanse program promises to flush out all your toxins so that you have a healthier gut and more efficient digestive system.

Before you know it, you will no longer feel bloated. You will also have a more glowing skin and better energy levels. With this cleanse system is done with you, you don’t have to worry about suffering from heartburn anymore.

  • Munch on some almonds. You may not know it, but raw almonds have the power neutralize those juices found in your stomach that would otherwise regurgitate back up to your esophagus to give you heartburn.

The way to treat your acid reflux with some almonds to be sure to snack on three to four pieces of raw almonds after every meal you take throughout the day. You can eat a little bit more. Although, studies have also found that eating too much almonds may lead to a heartburn episode. As with a lot of other treats, moderation is always key.a cup of warm chamomile tea

  • Enjoy a cup of warm chamomile tea. Chamomile tea does wonders for your stomach, especially when you have been diagnosed with GERD. This is because this fragrant tea tends to help reduce your stomach inflammation and even neutralize your acidity levels.

To make chamomile tea, just boil a cup of water in a pot and then lower the heat once it boils. Add in a teaspoon of dried chamomile petals and stir gently. Let the petals simmer in the water for about 45 seconds. Take the pot off the heat and let the petals steep into the tea for one to two minutes before straining them. Pour the tea into your mug and sip slowly. You can add some honey to your tea if you wish.

  • Spread on some mustard or take it straight from the spoon. Here’s a good reason to mustard on your sandwiches, because mustard helps keep acid reflux away. This condiment may have some tang to it, but it only contains weak acid from vinegar. This is why mustard has more alkaline properties, helping neutralize any pain you might be experiencing from acid reflux.

For experts, the best way to treat your acid reflux with mustard to a take a teaspoonful of this condiment and put it straight into your mouth. If the flavor is too strong for you though, just spread a generous teaspoonful of this wonder spread on your sandwich next time. Dress your green salad in a mustard vinaigrette, too.

  • fennelEnjoy some fennel. Fennel is no ordinary herb, because it plays a critical role in treating your acid reflux while also improving the way your stomach behaves. Shave some fennel with a cheese grater and toss it into your salad with some baby spinach and arugula. You may also want to try cooking your chicken with some fennel.

The truth is, GERD is a disease that can be readily treated and managed. One of the best ways to do this is to avoid consumption of any of the foods that cause heartburn so that your disease and its symptoms would no longer worsen. It helps too, to enjoy foods that help treat heartburn instead.

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