+ a common eating habit that’s not helping your heartburn either.
When you think of foods or eating habits that trigger acid reflux symptoms, some culprits may seem obvious, like inhaling half a pepperoni pizza pie a little too close to bedtime. Since unhealthy foods = digestive woes + uncomfortable consequences … right?
While that’s partially correct, other acid reflux trigger foods are a little subtler—and some of them are actually healthy.
How Certain Foods Cause Acid Reflux
“We all have what’s called a lower esophageal sphincter, which is a valve that serves as a gate to keep acid down in your stomach and prevent it from coming up into your esophagus,” says Roshini Raj, MD, a gastroenterologist at NYU Langone Health and co-founder of healthy living brand Tula.
Certain foods can cause the lower esophageal sphincter to become more relaxed. While this may sound like a good thing, it actually means that the sphincter becomes wider, which makes it easier for acid to come up into the esophagus, contributing to reflux and heartburn, says Dr. Raj.
“There are other foods that are just more acidic and because of that they cause more irritation to the esophagus,” says Dr. Raj.
Foods That Make Acid Reflux Worse
Foods can affect everyone differently, but Dr. Raj says there are main categories of foods that are often problematic for people who suffer from acid reflux.
These foods are:
- Caffeinated drinks, like coffee, tea, and soda
- Carbonated beverages
- Very greasy or fatty foods
- Citrus fruits
Another thing that can affect your acid reflux is how you eat. “If you’re having one very large meal a day, especially if it’s a fatty meal, that’s going to sit in your stomach, take a longer time to digest, and that also makes it easier for acid to come up,” says Dr. Raj.
Dr. Raj also says that having excess weight can make acid reflux symptoms worse—and trimming down, even just 10 pounds, can make a big difference.
“Having excess weight particularly around the abdominal area really does put pressure from the stomach on the esophageal sphincter and makes it easier for acid to come up,” says Dr. Raj.
If you experience heartburn (or other acid reflux symptoms like nausea and trouble swallowing) more than twice a week, talk to your doctor about acid reflux. People who experience heartburn or other acid reflux symptoms at least two to three times a week may have gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Learn more about GERD here.
Dr. Raj is a gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at NYU School of Medicine, and an attending physician at NYU Langone Medical Center.
00:00:00,000 --> 00:00:02,670
00:00:02,670 --> 00:00:06,440
I think food plays a very big role in
whether or not you have acid reflux.
00:00:06,440 --> 00:00:10,580
There are certain foods that actually
make the lower esophageal sphincter relax
00:00:10,580 --> 00:00:13,320
which means it's wider and
it's easier for acid to come up.
00:00:13,320 --> 00:00:15,742
There are other foods that
just are more acidic and
00:00:15,742 --> 00:00:18,753
because of that they cause more
irritation to the esophagus.
00:00:18,753 --> 00:00:24,709
00:00:24,709 --> 00:00:28,660
We all have what's called a lower
esophageal sphincter, which is a valve
00:00:28,660 --> 00:00:32,165
that really serves as a gate to keep
acid down into your stomach and
00:00:32,165 --> 00:00:35,140
to prevent it from coming
up into your esophagus.
00:00:35,140 --> 00:00:39,100
Now, certain people are certainly more
sensitive than others to certain food, but
00:00:39,100 --> 00:00:43,000
the main categories that we find with a
lot of people who suffer from acid reflux
00:00:43,000 --> 00:00:48,210
that are problematic are things like
caffeinated drinks, so coffee, tea, sodas.
00:00:48,210 --> 00:00:51,840
Carbonated beverages of any kind
can be problematic, very greasy or
00:00:51,840 --> 00:00:55,560
fatty foods, peppermint,
citrus fruits, onions.
00:00:55,560 --> 00:00:58,970
These are all things that can
either produce more acid or cause
00:00:58,970 --> 00:01:03,900
a relaxation of the esophageal sphincter
which makes it easier for acid to come up.
00:01:03,900 --> 00:01:08,219
And that's when you eat certain foods,
you may experience acid reflux symptoms.
00:01:08,219 --> 00:01:10,130
Then how you're eating
can make a difference.
00:01:10,130 --> 00:01:14,520
If you're having one very large meal per
day, especially if it's a fatty meal,
00:01:14,520 --> 00:01:17,670
that's gonna sit in your stomach,
take a longer time to digest, and
00:01:17,670 --> 00:01:20,360
that also makes it easier for
acid to come up.
00:01:20,360 --> 00:01:23,355
Having excess weight,
particularly around the abdominal area,
00:01:23,355 --> 00:01:26,723
really does put pressure from the stomach
on that esophageal sphincter and
00:01:26,723 --> 00:01:28,338
makes it easier for acid to come up.
00:01:28,338 --> 00:01:31,690
And I found that with my patients that
losing not even even losing a huge amount
00:01:31,690 --> 00:01:33,237
of weight, even just 10 pounds,
00:01:33,237 --> 00:01:36,710
can cause them to have significant
improvement in their acid reflux symptoms.
00:01:36,710 --> 00:01:40,991
Patient education: Acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease) in adults (Beyond the Basics). UpToDate. (Accessed on June 20, 2018 at https://www.uptodate.com/contents/acid-reflux-gastroesophageal-reflux-disease-in-adults-beyond-the-basics)