12 Foods That Trigger Heartburn

  • Chronic acid reflux and heartburn can signify a more serious condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • By modifying your diet, you can easily prevent heartburn. 
  • Foods that slow down the emptying of stomach cause acid reflux and heartburn.

Your eating patterns and certain foods can trigger heartburn. It’s caused by acid reflux when the acid in your stomach backs up into your esophagus. Chronic acid reflux and heartburn can signify a more serious condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

To prevent heartburn, avoid these ten foods that trigger it.


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Caffeine causes the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to relax, which causes it not to close correctly, says Gale Pearson, RD, a registered dietitian with Tidewater Physicians in Newport News, Virginia. He says that the stomach contents leak back into the esophagus, and the backflow of the acid from the stomach causes heartburn.


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A significant amount of serotonin can be found in the gut, and chocolate’s release of this neurotransmitter from the cells of the intestines may cause the lower esophageal sphincter to relax according to a 2014 study in the journal Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine. This allows the stomach to accept acid to flow back up to the esophagus, which can trigger heartburn.

Spicy foods

Avoid spicy foods if you have heartburn, or try to stay active for at least two hours after you eat them.

Salty foods

According to a 2013 study published in the journal Gastroenterology Research and Practice, researchers found that a high intake of meat, oils, salt, and calcium were associated with a higher risk of heartburn.

Lemons and oranges

The esophagus can be sensitive to citric acid, which you can find in citrus fruits, juices, and even marinades. If the opening of the esophagus at the top of the stomach relaxes, it can allow the citric acid in the stomach to come into contact with the esophagus and cause both acid reflux and heartburn.


According to Kate Patton, RD, a registered dietitian with Cleveland Clinic’s Heart and Vascular Institute in Cleveland, pizza contains tomato sauce, which is highly acidic, and cheese high in fat, which slows the stomach from emptying and exacerbates heartburn.


While peppermint can soothe an upset stomach, it also relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, which makes symptoms of heartburn worse.


Burgers relax the lower esophageal sphincter and high in saturated fat, which can slow down digestion. The International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders says that a steady diet of high-fat foods and fried foods can lower LES pressure and slow down the process of stomach emptying, which can increase the risk of acid reflux.


Salsa, spaghetti, and sauces contain a lot of tomatoes that are naturally highly acidic and can be bad for those prone to heartburn. Because these sauces often have onions, they can be difficult to digest, which can also cause heartburn.

Whole milk

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High-fat dairy products like whole milk and yogurt can slow down digestion and may cause an additional issue for those with lactose intolerance.


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Alcohol can trigger heartburn because it causes the lower esophageal sphincter to relax. It also increases the amount of stomach acid your body produces.


Although avocado contains fat that is good for you, it slows down stomach emptying, which can make heartburn more likely.

Start a heartburn log

If you experience heartburn after eating, keep track of the foods you eat, time of day, any activity, and the symptoms you experienced after eating. Identify the foods that trigger heartburn so you can plan out the best acid reflux diet for your health needs. 

Source: The Healthy

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