Top 10 Foods That Trigger Heartburn & Acid Reflux

Start by limiting or removing these foods from your diet to eliminate heartburn and improve gut health.

June 13, 2017
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Sharp pain in your chest after meals. Trouble catching your breath and daytime headaches. Persistent coughing when you lay down. Uncomfortable burning in your throat when you wake up. 

They are all classic signs of heartburn and acid reflux. 

Regardless of whether you get occasional heartburn after partying a little too hard or have ongoing symptoms of GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease), the suffering can be unbearable.  

To make matters worse, popping antacids or a little purple pill can have serious consequences in the long run. 

More: 9 Simple Ways to Boost Your Heart Health

Despite the burn, reflux can actually be caused by too little stomach acid, so limiting acid production may worsen the problem. Plus, recent studies show that long-term use of acid-reflux medications is linked to dangerous vitamin deficiencies and increased risk of osteoporosis.

Don't worry—there are steps you can take to feel better! Simple shifts in your diet and lifestyle can naturally relieve symptoms of heartburn and acid reflux.   

Start by limiting or removing these foods from your diet: 

Citrus fruits
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1. Citrus fruits

Grapefruit and oranges are known for triggering heartburn, particularly when eaten by themselves. Stick to using citrus for making infused water (try these flavored water recipes).

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2. Soft drinks and carbonated water

In addition to studies showing that diet soda is associated with strokes and dementia, the carbonation can provoke an attack of acid reflux. Go for still water or a protein shake instead (try these favorite recipes). 

More: How Soda Destroys Your Body

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3. Gluten

If you're still consuming gluten, there are far greater things than heartburn to be concerned about! Not only does gluten aggravate your stomach and digestive system, it can lead to systemic inflammation, autoimmune disease, and more

When going gluten-free, make sure you're aware of the surprising side effects and make sure you follow the important steps to help ease wheat withdrawal

Tomatoes and marinara
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4. Tomatoes and marinara

If you have recurrent bouts of heartburn, this one won't come as a surprise. Give acidic tomatoes the boot and enjoy pasta with pesto instead (just follow this quick pesto recipe to start).

More: 9 Ways to Love Vegetables More

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5. Peppermint

Although peppermint helps with gut inflammation and nausea, it can actually increase symptoms of heartburn. If reflux is an issue, pass on the mints after your meal—instead, try this better natural remedy for good breath

chocolate brownies
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6. Chocolate

A sad reality: chocolate is one of the top problem foods for acid reflux. Opt for versatile vanilla or add some spice with cinnamon. 

More: 13 Spices That Keep You Slim and Healthy

fried chicken
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7. Fried and fatty foods

Healthy fats such as coconut oil and omega-3s can heal your gut, but high-fat or deep-fried foods are a nightmare for acid reflux. 

Garlic and onion
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8. Garlic and onion

Symptoms of heartburn differ between individuals, and some folks are unable to tolerate anything in the allium family, like onions and garlic. A great alternative is gut-soothing fresh ginger

More: The Top 10 Inflammation-Fighting Foods

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9. Alcohol

There's a good reason that heartburn so often goes along with hangovers! Alcohol is terrible for acid reflux, so be careful with your drinking. (If you're relying on a glass of wine to relax at night, try an all-natural sleep aid instead.) 

Coffee and tea
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10. Coffee and tea

The high acidity content plus caffeine means your esophagus will feel like it's on fire after a cup of coffee or tea. Minimize the amount you consume and choose decaf or unsweetened green tea as often as possible. 

More: How Oolong Tea Can Reboot Your Health

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If you're not certain whether some of these are issues, try keeping a food journal. Write down what you eat and when you have symptoms—you'll discover the offenders that are causing your pain and discomfort in no time at all!

Don't forget, you can also replace antacid medications with high-quality digestive enzymes and probiotics. They help ease the symptoms of acid reflux in a safe and natural way by optimizing the balance of healthy enzymes and gut flora in your body. Goodbye heartburn and heartache! 

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