The intense discomfort. The sour taste of acid in your throat. The burning pain. If you have acid reflux, better known as heartburn, you know that these symptoms are no joke. And despite its name, heartburn does not actually affect your heart. It’s a form of indigestion that is caused by stomach acids flowing back into your esophagus. The symptoms of heartburn can last for several hours and may appear after eating certain foods. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, if you experience these and other symptoms more than twice a week (belching, difficulty or pain when swallowing, etc.), you may have a more serious disease known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.
When it comes to cures for acid reflux, over-the-counter medication can do the trick. But it can also be prevented if you alter your eating and drinking habits. Here are some foods and beverages you should avoid to keep heartburn at bay.
Some people who have heartburn might get agitated when consuming garlic. But what impacts one person with heartburn may not have the same effect on another. It is recommended that you keep a food log to determine exactly which foods bring on your heartburn.
Like garlic, onion is on the list of foods that can cause heartburn. But you may not have to give either up completely. Try substituting a dried version of either into your dishes or adding herbs like tarragon, basil or thyme to your next meal.
You should avoid grapefruit, oranges, lemons and even pineapple if you want to keep your heartburn at bay. Since they contain such high levels of acid, these fruits can worsen heartburn.
Rice and cider vinegar have less acidity than regular vinegar, so if you consume foods made with them, you shouldn’t have any heartburn symptoms. Regular vinegar, however, is a different story.
Spices like chili powder, red and black pepper (as well as hot sauce) can irritate the lining of your stomach and trigger a bad case of heartburn.
In a perfect world, chocolate would not be on the list. But the world is far from perfect. Chocolate contains caffeine and cocoa, two ingredients that cause acid reflux. It also contains theobromine, which can tamper with an esophageal muscle, thus allowing reflux.
Chocolate is also high in fat. Food with high fat levels can make your stomach produce more acid.
Fatty meats do people with acid reflux no favors. Opt for leaner cuts of red meat. And if you’re chowing down on turkey or chicken, remember that white meat has less fat than dark meat.
Spearmint Or Peppermint
Did you know that spearmint and peppermint, flavors often found in candies and gum, can upset your digestive track? If you didn’t know, now you know!
Even decaf coffee can cause heartburn. The same goes for non-coffee caffeinated beverages like soda. But if you can’t get through the day without a cup of joe, drink coffee earlier in the day, as acid reflux tends to be worse at night (or when lying down).
Wine, beer, hard liquor. No matter your preference, alcohol can irritate both your stomach and your esophagus.
Tomatoes are highly acidic and should be avoided to prevent reflux. That means eliminating a lot of different, delicious foods, but it’s worth it if you can avoid the discomfort.