Heartburn or acid reflux is a type of burning, painful sensation that arises in the lower chest area. It typically occurs after ingesting certain foods that irritate the stomach or esophageal sphincter in some way. When everything is working properly, stomach acid cannot escape into the esophagus due to the membrane known as the lower esophageal sphincter. But certain foods have the ability to penetrate this barrier or cause stomach acid levels to rise. Read on to learn what these foods are, so you can avoid them when you are suffering from acid reflux.
Mint has historically been used as an aid for treating digestion issues. It is considered to be soothing, especially for a troubled stomach. But there is evidence to suggest that mint may actually cause heartburn. The line between being a digestive aide and digestive scare most likely comes down to dosage; taking too much can irritate the esophagus and taking just enough can soothe the stomach. If you are suffering from heart burn or its symptoms, it’s however best to avoid consuming mint.
Unfortunately, chocolate has a place on this list of foods to avoid in order to prevent acid reflux. Chocolate is a high-fat food that helps to relax the lower esophageal sphincter which allows stomach acid to rise. This will eventually result in heartburn. Chocolate also helps to produce serotonin, one of the hormones responsible for positively adjusting your mood. While this is mostly a good thing, it can cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax which can cause heartburn.
3. Spicy Foods
The active ingredient in the majority of spicy foods is capsaicin. It’s what makes spicy food hot and gives it that sinus clearing effect most people love. Ingesting it can cause acid reflux because it slows the rate of digestion. When this happens, food will sit in the stomach longer which increases your risk of developing acid reflux.
Any level of alcohol intake, whether moderate or excessive can cause acid reflux. Alcohol does this through a variety of ways, including relaxing the esophageal sphincter and increasing the amount of acid in your stomach. Drinking too much alcohol over time can also directly damage the lining of the esophagus which can make it more sensitive to stomach acid.
Milk is often utilized as a treatment for heartburn. But not all milk is the same as far as your stomach is concerned. Drinking whole milk can result in acid reflux symptoms. The reason whole milk does this is likely because it increases the production of stomach acid. If you suffer from frequent heartburn, you should make sure to avoid drinking whole milk just to be on the safe side.
One thing to look into if you’re experiencing frequent heartburn is eliminating onions from your diet. Similar to some other foods that induce acid reflux, onions also relax the lower esophageal sphincter. Simply removing onions can help you enjoy that fried rice you love so much more.
7. Citrus Juices
Citrus juices are a bit interesting in that they are used to treat indigestion but can also cause symptoms of heartburn to appear. Researchers aren’t exactly clear on why this happens. But drinking large excess of citrus juices has been shown to harm the esophageal lining due to the natural acidic properties of citrus juices. If you feel little uneasy after eating an orange, or after drinking up a glass of lemon juice, it’s because of the acidity these fruits have.
Eating table salt or foods that contain a lot of sodium can easily cause acid reflux to occur. Researchers aren’t in agreement on what about salt triggers acid reflux. But one theory is that it may not be the salt itself. It may be the food you eat along with salt that causes acid reflux to take place. This makes sense considering how meat, spicy food, and fast food is prepared with an excess amount of salt.
Coffee is another agent that helps to relax the esophageal sphincter in a way that causes heartburn. Studies have shown that not everyone seems to develop acid reflux from drinking caffeine though. This has some researchers believing that caffeine, the psychoactive component of coffee, isn’t responsible for causing acid reflux at all. If you are suffering from heart burn, however, it is best to consume coffee in moderation.
There are a lot of foods that can cause acid reflux to occur. It can happen for a variety of reasons, but most often it has something to do with weakening the esophageal sphincter which allows stomach acid to enter the esophagus. If you experience heartburn frequently, it is best to slowly cut a few foods out of your diet one by one and determine which food is causing acid reflux to occur. In any case, it is best to consult a health practitioner to understand the root cause for heart burn, apart from avoiding the above listed foods.