“Acid reflux occurs when there is acid backflow from the stomach into the esophagus…The foods you eat affect the amount of acid your stomach produces. So eating the right kinds of food is key to controlling acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a severe, chronic form of acid reflux.” – Healthline.com
We all have experienced the lovely feelings of acid reflux. The regurgitation of soured food and the burning sensation that seems to travel from your chest, through the throat, and into your mouth.
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably asked yourself why this uncomfortable feeling occurs.
First, we’ll get all “science-y” about it. At the inlet of your stomach is a ring of muscle, the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES. Most of the time when we eat, this valve closes as soon as food moves through it. When the LES doesn’t close completely or if it opens too often, the acid produced by your stomach can move upwards to the esophagus. This “trespassing” of acid is what causes heartburn.
The common risk factors for acid reflux disease – a chronic condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), are:
– Consuming large meals
– Being overweight or obese
– Certain drinks, such as alcohol, coffee, tea, or carbonated drinks
– OTC and prescription medications, including aspirin, ibuprofen, blood pressure medications, or muscle relaxers
– Eating certain foods
It is this last risk factor that we focus on in this article.
Let’s get going!
Here are seven foods (and drinks) that cause acid reflux:
Don’t kill the messenger, chocolate lovers: this delicious treat may cause more reflux than any other food. Here’s why:
1 – Common ingredients in chocolate, including stimulants caffeine and theobromine may induce reflex.
2 – Chocolate is high in fat.
3 – Chocolate contains cocoa, a bean known to produce a reflux response.
Dark chocolate doesn’t quite produce the same amount of reflux episodes, but the difference is marginal.
Yep, you knew this one was coming. Carbonated beverages – including our beloved Coke and Pepsi – are among the leading causes of acid reflux.
Here’s why carbonated beverages are bad for acid reflux:
1 – Carbonated bubbles (culprits of that “burp” reflex) expand inside of the stomach, which can stimulate a reflux response.
2 – Almost all sodas are acidic, and acidic ingredients contribute to reflux.
The worst offenders? Diet Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and Tab.
Booze may not be too acidic, but nearly every form of it – beer, liquor, and wine – can bring about acid reflux.
Alcohol can produce an acid reflux response by relaxing the pathway that adjoins the esophagus and stomach. Of course, this isn’t the type of “relaxing” we envision when imbibing – and it can produce some nasty reflux.
Let’s get this out of the way: all high-fat foods are among the main culprits of reflux. This little factoid includes any kind of high-fat dairy product: cheese, milk, butter, yogurt, and ice cream among them.
Low-fat is a better alternative, but can still instigate reflux. The best advice is to consume dairy on a seldom basis.
OH, COME ON! What else is on this list, breathing!? (Palm Slap) Okay, this writer still has a job to do.
Medical professionals claim that up to 3, 8-ounce cups of coffee is fine for health. Not bad, right? Well, if you’re a fiend for the java – you are sending reflux an RSVP.
Chamomile tea is a healthier option, or a cup or two of green tea per day.
Or you can just do what most of us coffee lovers will probably do and roll the dice.
Fried foods are (gasp!) high in fat! French fries, fried chicken, fried fish – basically anything that is both fried and delicious – are among the common culprits of reflux.
The high fat content in fried foods is what makes them among the top causes of heartburn; the chest pain that results from acid reflux.
Like fried foods and dairy products, the high fat content in meats makes it an instigator of acid reflux. Meats such as beef, lamb, and pork also take longer to pass through the stomach during digestion – and increase the risk of a reflux response.
The better alternative is to choose lean cuts of meat – chicken, turkey, tenderloin beef and pork, extra lean ground beef, and Canadian bacon, for example – and limit meat as an entrée to once per week.