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Top 10 Acid Reflux Foods to Avoid

In the middle of the night many people are refluxing and it's because of something that they ate for dinner. Foods to avoid for one person may not act in the same way on another person. The pain caused might only be one of mild discomfort, or perhaps that person might not suffer any symptoms at all. Unfortunately there is no comprehensive list to tell all heartburn sufferers to stay away from this and that particular acid reflux food. Most of us will just have to learn by trial and error. Fortunately though, for the vast majority of sufferers there are many common foods that have been found to trigger heartburn, and we offer them here in our top 10 acid relux foods to avoid.

1. Peppermint

While many people think peppermint is soothing for the tummy, it is actually an acid reflux trigger food. Our best advice is to skip the after-dinner mints, especially after a rich meal. They may be good for your breath while on a date, but they are not so good if you are prone to acid reflux. Peppermint relaxes the sphincter muscle between the stomach and esophagus. This allows stomach acids to flow back into the esophagus.

2. Tomatoes

Tomatoes in our salads and in a myriad of sauces would seem a healthy choice and the chemical that makes them red, lycopene, may even lower our risk for certain cancers. But for heartburn and acid reflux sufferers, tomatoes can be a chest pain waiting to happen. Tomatoes or tomato-based products can lead to or contribute to heartburn because in some individuals they can cause an abnormal relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter, which allows the acid contents of the stomach to splash back up into the esophagus. This causes acid reflux. There is no reasonable substitute for tomatoes and many of us consider them as staples. Our only suggestion is to avoid eating them near bedtime, preferably even switching eating your pastas and creole dishes for lunch instead of dinner.

3. Citrus Fruits

Most heartburn sufferers are all too familiar with the uncomfortable indigestion after eating or drinking something citrusy. Although the acid reflux-inducing citrus fruits vary from person to person, the most common offenders are oranges, grapefruits and lemons. As with tomatoes, it is the high acid content of these fruits that causes the pain. The aggravation is the same as well; citrus fruits cause the lower esophageal sphincter to overly relax, allowing acid to flow back up in to the esophagus, leading to heartburn.

4. Crunchy Foods

Crunchy foods can worsen acid reflux! Nuts, crackers, toast, popcorn, cookies, breakfast cereals will make your reflux situation worse by scratching your lower esophageal sphincter.

5. Coffee

Coffee has also been shown to decrease pressure in the lower esophageal sphincter. The type of coffee bean roasting method used does not reduce the tendency of coffee to produce gastroesophageal reflux. Sensitive individuals, even when consuming coffee produced through different roasting processes experienced heartburn, regurgitation and dyspepsia. Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee exacerbate acid reflux, and coffee creates more reflux than caffeine added to water, suggesting that other components of coffee contribute to its aggravating effect.

6. Alcohol, wine and beer

Drinking alcohol can increase acid reflux symptoms in several ways. It relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) making it easier for acid to reflux in the esophagus. Drinking alcoholic beverages is known to increase the production of stomach acids. Alcohol also contains grains which many people with sensitive stomachs and food allergies can't tolerate. There are also debates surrounding the use of alcohol and reflux medication, and what the interaction of the two may be. Drinking alcohol may also coincide with an atmosphere where lots of spicy and greasy foods such as nachos, hot dogs and french fries are consumed. A glass of red wine may not be a big deal on its own, but if you also have tomato sauce on your pasta and a glass of orange juice in the morning on an empty stomach, it could be a problem. If you must drink, moderation is key and you might try diluting beverages with water or club soda (other sweet sodas should be avoided).

7. Chocolate

Chocolate contains concentrations of theobromine (a compound that occurs naturally in many plants such as cocoa, tea and coffee plants), which relaxes the esophageal sphincter muscle, allowing stomach acid to reflux into the esophagus. If you are a chocolate addict, make dark, organic types your preference and do not exceed two or three minuscule squares two or three times in any week.

8. Fried and Fatty Foods

These foods tend to slow down digestion, keeping the food in your stomach longer. This increases pressure in the stomach, which in turn puts more pressure on a weakened LES, allowing reflux of stomach contents.

9. Spicy Foods

Pepper, chili, and any other food that is loaded with pepper or other spices can trigger heartburn. Forget about those chicken wings with suicide sauce. Some people with heartburn do not do well with either garlic or onion.

10. Carbonated Beverages

Carbonated beverages cause gastric distension and if your stomach is distended, this increases pressure on the esophageal sphincter, promoting reflux. Heartburn sufferers should stay clear of pop and other carbonated beverages.

By Mortin - Copyright 2014
Last modification 13/02/2014

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