What can you eat to get rid of heartburn?

The Best and Worst Foods for Acid Reflux

A hot burning in the chest, a bitter taste in the throat, a gassy bloating in the stomach – acid reflux is no picnic. What you eat, however, can have an impact. The best and worst foods for acid reflux could spell the difference between sweet relief and sour misery.

What Aggravates Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux occurs when the sphincter at the base of the esophagus isn’t working well, allowing fluid from the stomach to enter the esophagus. The worst foods for reflux can exacerbate painful symptoms, while other foods can soothe them, says gastrointestinal surgeon Leena Khaitan, MD

“Dietary changes can significantly affect acid reflux and allow avoidance of other treatments,” Dr. Khaitan says.

Best Foods for Acid Reflux

“A diet well-balanced with vegetables, protein and fruits is best,” Dr. Khaitan says. Examples of the best foods for acid reflux include:

  • Chicken breast – Be sure to remove the fatty skin. Skip fried and instead choose baked, broiled or grilled.
  • Lettuce, celery and sweet peppers – These mild green veggies are easy on the stomach – and won’t cause painful gas.
  • Brown rice – This complex carbohydrate is mild and filling – just don’t serve it fried.
  • Melons – Watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew are all low-acid fruits that are among the best foods for acid reflux.
  • Oatmeal – Filling, hearty and healthy, this comforting breakfast standard also works for lunch.
  • Fennel – This low-acid crunchy vegetable has a mild licorice flavor and a natural soothing effect.
  • Ginger – Steep caffeine-free ginger tea or chew on low-sugar dried ginger for a natural tummy tamer.

Worst Foods for Reflux

In general, anything that is fatty, acidic or highly caffeinated should be avoided. The worst foods for acid reflux list includes:

  • Coffee and tea – Caffeinated beverages aggravate acid reflux. Opt for caffeine-free teas.
  • Carbonated beverages – The bubbles expand in your stomach, creating more pressure and pain. Choose plain water or caffeine-free iced tea.
  • Chocolate – This treat has a trifecta of acid reflux problems: caffeine, fat and cocoa.
  • Peppermint –Don’t be fooled by its reputation for soothing the tummy; peppermint is an acid reflux trigger.
  • Grapefruit and orange – The high acidity of citrus fruits relaxes the esophagus sphincter and worsens symptoms.
  • Tomatoes – Also avoid marinara sauce, ketchup and tomato soup – they’re all naturally high in acid.
  • Alcohol –This has a double whammy effect: alcohol automatically relaxes the sphincter valve but it also stimulates the production of acid in the stomach.
  • Fried foods – These are some of the worst foods for reflux. Skip the french fries, onion rings and fried chicken — cook on the grill or in the oven at home.
  • Late-night snacks – Avoid eating anything in the two hours before you go to bed. Also, you can try eating four to five smaller meals throughout the day instead of two to three large meals.

When to Talk to Your Doctor About Acid Reflux

It’s a good idea to speak with your doctor if the best foods for acid reflux do not relieve your symptoms, Dr. Khaitan says. Other alternatives can include lifestyle changes, medications that can block acid and surgical procedures on the esophagus sphincter.

It is important to make a doctor’s appointment if you have heartburn or acid reflux that is severe or frequent, Dr. Khaitan adds. Chronic acid reflux is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and can lead to esophageal cancer.

Related links

UH Esophageal & Swallowing Center

UH Bariatric Surgery Program

UH Digestive Health Institute

Try taking bitters. These herbal digestive tonics have been used for centuries in Europe as a remedy for heartburn. Examples of herbs commonly included are dandelion, gentian, fennel, wormwood and goldenseal. The usual dose is half to 1 teaspoon in warm water about 15 minutes before eating.

Homeopathy can help. Nux vomica is the remedy most often prescribed for heartburn. Clinical trials prove it is most effective for the type of indigestion and heartburn that is the direct result of eating too much rich or fatty food.

Food and drinks to avoid that cause heartburn

If you’re prone to heartburn, certain foods and drinks are best avoided. Try to limit or cut out at least some of the following foods and beverages:

  • Beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks tend to relax the lower oesophageal sphincter, the important valve between your stomach and lower oesophagus. Peppermint, spearmint and tomatoes have the same effect.
  • Milk may feel soothing as you swallow it, but the fats, proteins and calcium it contains can stimulate the stomach to secrete more acid.
  • Coffee, tea and cola are caffeinated drinks that relax the lower oesophageal sphincter, and can irritate an inflamed oesophagus.
  • Chocolate is loaded with two heartburn triggers – fat and caffeine.
  • The carbonation in fizzy drinks can expand your stomach, which has the same effect on the lower oesophageal sphincter as overeating.
  • Fried and fatty foods tend to sit in the stomach for a long time, where they can cause excess acid production.
  • Citrus fruits and juices are acidic – though their acid content is bland compared to your stomach acid, and may not be a problem.

How to prevent heartburn

Stay upright. When you stand, gravity keeps the acid in your stomach. Avoid bending over after a meal, and don’t lie down.

Eat meals at least 2 to 3 hours before you go to bed. This will give acid levels a chance to decrease before you lie down.

You might also raise the head of your bed 10-15cm with large wooden blocks or old phone books. When you sleep tilted at an angle, gravity helps to keep acid in the stomach.

Try sleeping on your left side. When you lie on your left side, the stomach hangs down and fluids pool along the greater curvature, away from the lower oesophageal sphincter. Pooled fluids thus stay further away from the oesophagus.

Eat smaller, more frequent meals to minimise the production of stomach acid. And avoid eating too much in one sitting; doing so can force open the lower oesophageal sphincter, the thick ring of muscle that separates the stomach from the oesophagus and keeps stomach acid where it belongs.

What are the health benefits of cranberry juice?

Potential benefits of cranberry juice include:

1. Fighting age-related damage

Share on PinterestCranberry juice may help fight age-related damage.

Chemicals called free radicals accumulate in the body as people age. Free radicals cause oxidative damage. There is a link between oxidative damage and health issues, including:

  • cancer
  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • digestive health
  • urinary tract health

Some of the chemicals in cranberry juice are antioxidants or compounds that fight harmful free radicals. The presence of antioxidants means that cranberries and cranberry juice might help fight age-related damage to the body’s tissues.

A 2011 study found that chemicals in cranberries promoted better antioxidant activity the lower their pH was. That study also found that the berries were significantly more potent antioxidants than cranberry juice, although cranberry juice still offered some benefits.

2. Improving heart health

Studies show that various ingredients in cranberry juice may improve heart health.

Cranberries are high in chemicals called polyphenols that may support heart health. A 2011 study of females with metabolic syndrome found that cranberry juice increased the antioxidants in the blood plasma. People who drank cranberry juice also had lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL). LDL is known as the “bad” type of cholesterol.

Another 2011 study found that cranberry juice could improve health in people with coronary artery disease. Mean carotid-femoral artery pulse wave velocity, which is a way to measure the stiffness of arteries, was reduced among the people in the study who drank a laboratory preparation of double-strength cranberry juice.

3. Treating or preventing urinary tract infection (UTI)

The antibacterial effects of cranberry juice were reported to reduce the incidence of UTIs in mice, according to a 2017 study in Frontiers in Microbiology.

The reduction of UTI incidence is thought to be due to the ability of antibacterial properties to reduce the colonization of Escherichia coli in the bladder. The bacteria, which is known better as E. coli, is the cause of most UTIs.

A 2016 study, reported in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, showed less bacterial infections in urine cultures from uncircumcised boys who drank cranberry juice and had previously had repeated UTIs compared to those who drank a placebo and those who had been circumcised who also drank the placebo.

The authors concluded that cranberry juice might be beneficial against the growth of bacterial pathogens.

4. Supporting digestive health

There is growing evidence that the phytochemicals contained in cranberries play an important role in digestive health.

Evidence for the digestive health benefits of cranberry juice, in addition to other benefits, was reported in a study from 2018 in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

The paper noted that inhibiting the production of another bacterium called H. pylori in the stomach is thought to promote digestive health. The researchers also suggested further research is needed on cranberry juice.

5. Preventing infections

Share on PinterestStudies suggest that cranberries may inhibit the growth of bacterial microbes.

Some chemicals in cranberries may help fight viruses and bacteria.

A 2011 study found that cranberries inhibited the growth of seven bacterial microbes. The study did not assess whether cranberries or cranberry juice could prevent infection with these microbes in humans.

Similarly, a 2010 study found that cranberries could fight some viruses, including norovirus, which s a common cause of food-borne illness.

The authors of the study caution that more research is needed, but argue that cranberries might be a useful method of treating or preventing food-borne illness.

6. Supporting post-menopausal health

The risk of heart problems increases after menopause compared to the risk in all other groups of people of the same age.

A 2013 study investigated this phenomenon in rats that had their ovaries removed. Researchers found that daily cranberry consumption reduced total cholesterol, suggesting cranberry products might be useful dietary supplements after the menopause.

GERD diet

Diet & Nutrition >> GERD diet

This diet is used to help reduce discomfort in the esophagus caused by Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Symptoms such as heartburn, chest discomfort, and a bitter taste in the mouth often occur due to fluid coming up into the breathing passages. Coughing, hoarseness, or shortness of breath may also occur when there is reflux of stomach contents into the throat.

The esophagus is a tube that connects the throat and the stomach. At the bottom of the esophagus, there is a valve that usually prevents acid from washing up from the stomach. A muscle usually keeps this valve tightly closed.

Some foods cause the muscle at the bottom of the esophagus to relax. Other foods cause the stomach to create more acid. This diet is designed to avoid these foods. Choose your foods according to the Food Guide Pyramid to meet your needs.

Treatment may include medications, but the following guidelines should be followed:

GERD Diet – General Guidelines

  • Stop smoking and chewing tobacco.
  • Discuss your weight with your doctor. Lose weight if you are overweight.
  • Do not overeat. Eat small portions at meals and snacks.
  • Avoid tight clothing and tight-fitting belts. Do not lie down or bend over within the first 15-30 minutes after eating.
  • Do not chew gum or suck on hard candy. Swallowing air with chewing gum and sucking on hard candy can cause belching and reflux.
  • Use bricks or wood blocks to raise the head of your bed 6-8 inches.
  • Do not eat/drink: chocolate, tomatoes, tomato sauces, oranges, pineapple, grapefruit, mints, coffee, alcohol, carbonated beverages, and black pepper.
  • Eat a low fat diet. Fatty and greasy foods cause your stomach to produce more acid.

GERD-Friendly Diet Recommendations

Choose these foods / beverages Do not eat these foods / beverages
Fruits/juices Most fruits and fruit juices such as apple, grape, cranberry, banana, pears, etc. Citrus fruits: oranges, grapefruit
Soups Low-fat and fat-free soups such as clear broth based soups*. Regular cream soups, other high fat soups*.
Beverages Decaffeinated tea, herbal tea (not mint), Kool-Aid, soda, water, juices (except orange, grapefruit and pineapple). Coffee (regular and decaffeinated), alcohol, carbonated beverages.
Sweets and deserts Fruit ices, gelatin, popsicles, ice milks and frozen low-fat yogurt, low fat cookies and cakes (less than 3 g fat per serving). Chocolate and high fat deserts.
Vegetables All steamed, roasted, stir-fried (with little oil) vegetables. Fried, creamed vegetables.
Milk and dairy products Skim or 1% milk, lowfat yogurt, or cheeses (<3 g fat per oz). Whole and 2% milk, whole milk yogurt and cheeses. Chocolate milk and hot chocolate.
Bread, cereals and grain products Low-fat Made with whole milk or cream.
Meat, Chicken, Fish, and meat substitutes (nuts, tofu, etc) Low-fat meats with the fat trimmed before cooking, skinless poultry. Baked, broiled, poached roasted, without added fat. Sausage, bacon, fried meats and chicken, salami, bologna and other high fat meats (> 3 g per ounce). Chicken skin and meats with visible fat left on.
Oils, butter, margarine None, or small amounts. Animal or vegetable fats.

* Fat can be skimmed from the top of soups and stews when they are hot or cold.

Are Apples Good for Relieving the Discomfort of Acid Reflux?

You Might be Surprised How Ambrosia Apples Affect GERD and Heartburn

Ambrosia Apples are not only honey-sweet and juicy, but they are also thin-skinned and low in acid – in fact they are the ideal snack for the sensitive digestive systems of children and older adults.

Many people have experienced digestive issues like acid reflux in their lifetimes. It’s commonly described as a burning sensation in the chest, often right after eating a big or spicy meal. However, it can also include symptoms like nausea, bloating, heart palpitations or a sour taste in the mouth.

Did you know that a third of the population deals with acid reflux at least once a year?

If episodes are more persistent, then it might actually be Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), sometimes referred to as Acid Reflux Disease. Left unchecked, this can lead to serious health issues and negatively impact enjoyment of life. It’s important to seek medical help in this instance. GERD can be treated with medication but more and more doctors are also recommending a dietary adjustment.

The good news is that at least one adjustment is a tasty one!

Here are few ways that eating Ambrosia apples may help acid reflux.

Smaller Meals

Overeating is one of the most common triggers of acid reflux. Health.com says: “A very full stomach can cause the valve between your stomach and esophagus (known as the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES) to relax, pushing stomach acids back up into the esophagus.” To help avoid this, they recommend eating smaller meals more frequently. Ambrosia apples can play an important role in your success with this strategy because they are a high fibre, relatively-low calorie snack that will help you feel full without filling you up. Even eating an Ambrosia before a meal will decrease the amount you eat!

Low Acid Diet

It might seem pretty logical that if acid reflux is exacerbated by highly acidic foods then reducing acidic foods in your diet should help. Dr. Jonathan Aviv MD, FACS-ENT wrote a diet book on how to do this and also created a website on the topic (Acid Watcher). His belief is that by following a low-acid, high-fibre nutrient-rich diet, those who suffer from acid reflux can see significant relief. Ambrosia apples fit nicely into this diet because they are naturally low in acid and high in fibre.

Digestion Optimization

Eating apples triggers a few other things that may facilitate your stomach doing its job. Ambrosia apples have a higher pH than sour apples. It’s thought that this may help alkalize stomach acid, which in turn would soothe or stem acid reflux. In addition, chewing crunchy apples (like Ambrosia) stimulates saliva production which also helps digestion.

Weight Management

According to a large 2003 study published in the International Journal of Epidemology, there is a strong link between GERD and BMI (body mass index). The study found that overweight people were significantly more likely to suffer from acid reflux and heartburn than those with a normal weight. This research resulted in weight loss being prescribed as a treatment and preventative measure for anyone suffering from acid reflux. As we’ve written before, Ambrosia apples can play an effective (and delicious) role in weight management.

Whether you suffer from acid reflux or not, these are all great reasons to eat more Ambrosia apples.

Apples For Acid Reflux?

Alkaline or Acid?

Apples for acid reflux. Many nutrional therapist claim that apples act as a natural antacid and list them into a category of ‘alkaline forming foods’. That is a strange assumption, since apples contain a strong acid, called ‘malic acid’. This acid is commonly used as a flavor in foods like potato chips and candy to give them a sour taste.

Are Therapists Wrong About Apples?

Since apples are a food that is naturally acidic, they are not able to ‘neutralize’ your stomach content. On the other hand, we can not ignore that so many heartburn patients report an apple as the ideal heartburn cure. Some people peel an apple in the morning and eat a slice of it to balance their stomach whenever they feel there stomach burning.

At this point, there is no scientific proof for apples as a remedy for acid reflux. That is because no studies have been done to examine the effectiveness of apples for acid reflux.

… Still, the fact remains that lots of people eat apples to get relief from their heartburn….

Truth About Apples For Acid Reflux

It is definitely a good idea to eat apples if you have heartburn. Here’s why:

  • A raw apple needs a lot of chewing before swallowing. The delicious mix between naturally present sugars and acid, stimulates saliva production. Saliva has the capacity to neutralize acid because it contains digestive enzymes. The more saliva is formed, the more digestive enzymes are swallowed, assisting your stomach to digest your stomach content.

  • Apples are the most popular healthy alternative for high-calorie candy bars like twix or snickers. An apple digests easily because it contains no fat, no gluten and only a few calories.

A medium apple contains 7 times less calories than a Twix!

  • Your stomach juices become less liquid when your eat something. If your stomach is upset, an apple brings relief because you add something denser to your stomach. A stomach content that is less liquid, will more easily stay inside your stomach. Because an apple is easy digestible, it is able to pass without provoking heartburn itself.

  • In spite of what many people think, acid reflux can caused by low stomach acid. Your stomach’s digestive enzymes require enough stomach acid in order to perform their job. It is possible that your stomach produces sufficient acid to cause heartburn, but not enough for good digestion. By eating an apple for acid reflux, you make your stomach content more sour. This supports the digestive enzymes that empty your stomach.

Time Your Apple For Acid Reflux

Apples are good for your stomach. When to eat them?

  • Eating an apple right after a heavy meal won’t do you much good. If you have an apple for dessert, it just sits on top of your meal, filling a stomach that is already too full. Too much of a good thing is… still too much. So an apple for dessert provokes heartburn rather than solving it. Of course, if you must have a dessert and you have to choose between an apple or a chocolate cake for dessert, the apple will do less harm…
  • The best way to start your day is drinking a glass of water on an empty stomach. Give water a couple of minutes to ‘clean’ your stomach and then eat piece of fruit. This can be an apple, a kiwi or any other that you like. Fruit on an empty stomach passes quickly and will not give you heartburn. An apple can be the ideal starter that provides you with energy without stomach troubles.
  • If you have histamine intolerance, apples are better than kiwi’s or bananas because they don’t contain any histamine
  • If you want to stop acid reflux with apples, you need to eat them between your meals. Your apple makes your stomach content less liquid which helps to keep the acid content inside.

An Apple A Day Keeps Reflux Away!

As you can see, there are several reasons to eat apples for acid reflux.

Apples have a beneficial impact on your stomach and are the ideal snack if you have acid reflux!

from apples for acid reflux to exreflux.com

Copyright © 2012 – 2019 exreflux.com.

Is Apple Good for Acid Reflux?

A few people may think whether the apple or apple juice is acidic or whether it is awful for acid reflux.

Apple is extremely scrumptious and reviving. It contains great measures of vitamins and minerals. It is exceptionally rich in vitamin C and it gives 159% of the suggested consumption. A large portion of the fruit juices that have an acidic quality has a low PH. For instance, the PH of apple juice fluctuates from 3.35 to 4, which is intriguing.


Numerous nutritional advisors asserts that apples go about as a characteristic stomach settling agent and classify them into an alkaline forming sustenance. That is an unusual presumption since apples contain a strong acid, termed malic acid. This corrosive is generally utilized as a flavor in nourishment like candy to give it an acrid taste.

Since apples are a sustenance that is normally acidic, they are not ready to kill your stomach content. Then again, we cannot overlook that such a large number of acid reflux patients report an apple as the perfect indigestion cure. A few people peel an apple in the morning and eat it to cure their stomach pain as soon as they feel an inflammation.


No specific research has been done to look at the viability of apples for acid reflux symptoms.

Apples can be consumed to treat signs of acid reflux, keeping excruciating acid from reversing into the throat and helping the esophageal sphincter recuperate. Professionally prescribed medicines and over-the-counter medicines may give some help of manifestations. Yet can likewise cause unsavory reactions, and do not resolve the issue for all time. Here are the means to use apples to treat acid reflux takes place.


The majority of people can eat red apples without encountering any reactions, so there is no worry in adding them to the daily eating regimen.

Freshly bought apples are better to eat over processed products, for example, juice, fruit purée, or other apple items. As fresh apples, for the most part, have higher fiber content, have less effect on your glucose levels and more antioxidants.

Your stomach juices turn out to be less fluid when you eat anything. In case that your stomach is disturbed, an apple gives a soothing effect to it since you add something denser to your stomach. A stomach content that is less fluid, will more effectively remain inside the stomach. As an apple is easy to digest, it can go without inciting acid reflux.


If you need to stop heartburn with apples, you have to consume them between your meals. Eating an apple directly after an overwhelming dinner will not be favorable for you. For example, an apple for dessert prompts acid reflux instead of comprehending it.

  • Apples contain ascorbic and malic and acid, and juice of apple has quinic, malic, and chlorogenic corrosive, which give it an acidic pH of 3.35 to 4.
  • The acids in apple juice can cause some negative impacts, including gastrointestinal issues like cramping or bloating.
  • Malic acid can likewise give a few advantages, for example, the increment in vitality, lessening of fibromyalgia pain, and treatment of kidney stones.
  • Apples are a great source of magnesium, calcium, and potassium. It is suspected that these alkalizing minerals may help soothe indications of indigestion.
  • An apple needs a great deal of chewing before gulping. The scrumptious blend between natural acids and sugars animates saliva creation. Saliva has the ability to kill the acid since it contains enzymes. This cures acid reflux symptoms in the stomach.
  • Sweet apples are thought to work superior to sour assortments.
  • You can consume around one cup of chopped apples or a medium sized apple.
  • Red apples are less acidic than green apples.

11 Foods That Ease Heartburn

The first time you experience heartburn it can be terrifying if you’re not sure what’s going on. A sudden, shooting pain right through your chest? No, thanks. But once you understand what heartburn is and what makes it happen, you can take steps to prevent it from happening again. There are plenty of foods out there that not only prevent heartburn from happening in the first place; they can help stop heartburn dead in its tracks. We’ve tracked down 11 of them.

11 Foods That Ease Heartburn (Slideshow)

So what exactly is heartburn? According to WebMD, it begins when you eat a ‘trigger’ food, something that’s usually greasy, spicy, or acidic. Stomach acids get to work on breaking it down, but sometimes not all of the stomach acid stays in your stomach. It travels up and bypasses what’s called the esophageal sphincter (a valve-like ring of muscle that’s supposed to remain tightly closed when it’s not letting food into your stomach), and makes its way into the esophagus, a process called acid reflux. Heartburn is the most common symptom of acid reflux, characterized by a burning discomfort in the chest, an unpleasant taste in the back of your mouth, and difficulty swallowing.

Heartburn can strike anyone, but it usually happens to those who are overweight, eat big meals, and/or wear tight-fitting clothes. Not only is heartburn uncomfortable, it’s also dangerous, and has the potential to lead to esophageal cancer.

The best way to avoid getting heartburn is to change up your routine: stop eating a few hours before you go to sleep, avoid late-night snacks, eat smaller meals, and avoid trigger foods, which differ from person to person but usually include fatty foods, spicy food, and acidic foods like citrus and tomatoes. Alcohol, coffee, soda, and orange juice can also trigger heartburn. You should also take time to chew your food thoroughly and slowly, because the more you chew the less work your stomach has to do.

While you can avoid foods in order to prevent heartburn, certain foods help prevent it, and work for a variety of reasons. Some are very low in acid, others help soak up excess acid, others contain the fiber that keeps your gastrointestinal tract moving.

Foods That Help Acid Reflux (And Foods that Hurt)

Isadora Baum June 20, 2019 Food & Nutrition Email Print Twitter Pinterest Facebook

If you’ve ever felt a burning sensation in your throat and foul taste in your mouth after eating a meal, those feelings are likely the result of occasional heartburn (acid reflux) or for those who experience it regularly, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and they’re pretty darn uncomfortable, to say the least.

Of course you’ll want to see your doctor to rule out any serious conditions if heartburn is interfering with your daily life. But seeing as how food can play a major role in acid reflux, you may want to adjust your diet even if it only happens occasionally. What are the best foods to ease heartburn, and what should you avoid?

What is acid reflux?

First things first, what causes heartburn, and what is it? Normally, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) acts as a “one-way valve” from the esophagus into the stomach; food will pass through it and the valve will close shortly after.

However, when the LES relaxes too much, it allows stomach contents, including stomach acid, to splash back up into the esophagus, says Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RDN. “While the stomach has a specialized, tough lining designed to withstand its acidic environment, the esophagus does not. This means the acid burns this tissue and causes damage over time,” she explains.

Heartburn symptoms: what to look for

What does acid reflux feel like? You might notice pain and burning near or under the sternum. It’s called heartburn, because it can make you feel like your heart is actually burning.

“You feel like you have a burning in your chest or taste acid or bile in the back of your throat. It can definitely take the enjoyment out of eating,” says Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD, author of The No-Brainer Nutrition Guide For Every Runner.

Heartburn triggers

Reflux can be triggered by certain foods, but everyone has different triggers, which makes it really difficult to manage, Rizzo says. “Some people might find they feel terrible after eating tomatoes, while others feel worst after chocolate. You have to really listen to your body to figure out what your triggers are and avoid those foods,” she explains.

Acid reflux isn’t genetic, but there are certain factors that can raise your risk of experiencing it, such as obesity, eating a low-fiber or high-fat diet, excessive alcohol consumption and tobacco use, says Dixon. Another common cause of acid reflux is a hiatal hernia, i.e. when an opening in the diaphragm allows the top of the stomach to move into the chest, says Rizzo. And even if these don’t apply to you, you might still get heartburn.

If you’re looking for heartburn relief, you’ll definitely want to avoid those “danger foods” that are triggers for you and stick to alkaline foods that are less acidic. While food affects people with acid reflux differently, it’s safe to say these are typically the worst and best things you can put in your body if you do suffer from symptoms.

Foods that cause acid reflux


While not a food, alcohol and acid reflux are surely not friends. “Alcohol is both a cause and a trigger of GERD. It is irritating to tissue and it lowers LES pressure,” says Dixon. It also can lower inhibitions to overeating on greasy, fried foods (hello, post-happy-hour pizza!), and in this indirect way, alcohol can contribute to more heartburn episodes. You’re better off drinking in moderation and drinking water between alcoholic drinks to keep yourself hydrated, she says.

“Drinking enough water can dilute stomach acid a small amount and decrease acidity. But remember, with meals, sip, don’t gulp water. Too much water can cause stomach distension and back pressure on the LES, causing it to open up,” says Dixon.

Spicy foods

You might love hot sauce, jalapeno poppers and super spicy dips, but all that heat isn’t good for your throat and stomach. “Spicy foods can trigger acid reflux symptoms in many people for two reasons. First, for those who suffer from reflux, spicy foods can inflame an already irritated digestive tract. Second, they may also take longer to digest, and food sitting in the stomach for a long time can cause acid reflux,” says Rizzo. Instead, ditch the spice and go for something milder when possible.


Tomatoes taste delicious on pizza and in a sauce over spaghetti, but they are acidic in nature, which can be a common trigger for those with acid reflux. “Any food that adds acid into an already acidic system can cause heartburn episodes,” says Dixon. If tomatoes are a big culprit for you, go with a different sauce and topping when possible.

However, the good news is you can mitigate symptoms and enjoy marinara sauce from time to time, says Dixon. “There are products on the market that can be sprinkled on foods to reduce their acidity. Some people find these flavorless powders helpful, especially if they want to enjoy a plate of tomato-based pasta,” she says.

Citrus fruit

Much like tomatoes, citrus fruit, including grapefruit and oranges, are also acidic and can be problematic for those with acid reflux symptoms, says Dixon. If citrus is a trigger, swap for different fruits that are less acidic, such as melon or berries.


Bad news about your morning cup of java—sure, it smells great and that first sip is amazing, but it might not feel so fantastic later. “The acidic nature of the drink can exacerbate reflux symptoms. If you notice that you experience reflux after your cup of joe, you may be better off switching to green tea,” says Rizzo. “I recommend green tea because black tea has also been known to exacerbate GERD because of its acidic nature; however, hibiscus or herbal tea would probably be fine too, since they aren’t acidic,” she says.

And FYI: don’t go for peppermint tea; even though it may be helpful for digestion, peppermint can be a trigger for reflux, as well. Peppermint is part of a group of foods that contain compounds called “carminatives,” and these substances contribute to GERD in many people, says Dixon. That means peppermint-flavored candies, foods, and tea are all off-limits.

Raw onions and garlic

From the allium family, onions and garlic can cause heartburn, as they can be irritating to the stomach and esophageal lining and can lower LES pressure, or “relax” it, says Dixon. This will cause acid to travel back up towards the esophagus, triggering that sour, acidic taste in your mouth and the uncomfortable burning and pain in your chest.

Fried foods

Greasy and fatty foods can cause the LES to not tighten properly, which leads to stomach acid traveling back up the esophagus, says Rizzo. “Fried foods also take a long time to digest, so they sit in the stomach for a long time and the reflux symptoms last for a while,” she adds. You’re better off grilling or baking that piece of chicken or fish, instead.

Foods that help acid reflux

Whole grains

It’s a good idea to eat healthy complex carbs from whole grains. “These foods are associated with reducing risk of GERD in multiple studies. The fiber keeps the GI tract functioning well,” says Dixon. These grains, like quinoa, whole wheat, and amaranth, feed your gut microbiome and encourage stomach emptying, she says, which is helpful. “Foods that don’t hang around in the stomach can’t cause GERD,” she explains.

Eat it: 14 Whole Grain Recipes to Try

Lean protein

Protein is important for keeping the body healthy and preserving lean body mass, but it also helps alleviate GERD symptoms when cooked in a healthy manner (not fatty or fried). “By avoiding high-fat proteins—think fatty meats, bacon, ham, etc.— you get tissue-building protein that doesn’t provide a big dose of fat to slow digestion,” says Dixon. Include simply cooked and lean chicken breast, steak, fish, turkey, and tofu in the diet to keep acid reflux symptoms low.

Eat it: Grilled Chicken Blueberry Salad

Beans and peas

“Soluble fiber in particular seems to have stomach soothing properties. Several studies have linked high soluble fiber diets (beans and oats are great examples) with significantly decreased GERD risk,” says Dixon. Why? These foods keep the GI tract functioning well, and they are “absorbent,” meaning they can “sop up” some of excess acid in the stomach and prevent it from traveling upwards.

Eat it: Vegan White Bean Hummus


To be fair, most fruits are pretty great for managing acid reflux. However, watermelon is especially great for avoiding flare-ups. “This sweet fruit is more than 90% water and not acidic in nature, so it shouldn’t be a trigger for anyone who suffers from GERD,” says Rizzo.

Eat it: Creative Uses for Watermelon


Most vegetables are on the “eat freely” list, but celery is for sure. “Celery is made up of more than 90% water, and it’s not an acidic vegetable. If you can’t drink enough water throughout the day, eating celery may help you stay hydrated and calm acid reflux symptoms,” says Rizzo. Use it as a crudité for dips for healthy snacking and add it to salads, like a tuna fish salad, for lunch.

Eat it: Fish-Free “Tuna” Salad


Embrace green foods! “The best diet to combat acid reflux is full of green vegetables, like broccoli. It’s high on the pH scale, meaning that it’s alkaline and not acidic,” says Rizzo. There’s another perk—broccoli is very rich in fiber, which can be helpful for combating acid reflux. However, take note, it can cause gas and indigestion in some people with digestive issues, she says.

Eat it: Crunchy Broccoli Slaw

White Fish

“All of the recommendations for those suffering with acid reflux suggests eating lean proteins, due to their alkaline nature. And the Dietary Guidelines recommend eating fish at least twice each week, so it’s a win-win,” says Rizzo. White fish is a great option (think Mahi Mahi, halibut, or tilapia), but other fish, like salmon or tuna, will also keep acid reflux low. Aim to eat it regularly in the week, along with some green veggies!

Eat it: Baked Dijon-Glazed Mahi Mahi

Have a burning desire for more information on acid reflux? Read this related post: How to Relieve Heartburn and Indigestion Naturally

Isadora Baum

Isadora Baum is a freelance writer, certified health coach and author of 5-Minute Energy. She writes for various publications, including Men’s Health, Women’s Health, POPSUGAR, Well+Good, Cooking Light and more. She can’t resist a good sample, a margarita, a new HIIT class or an easy laugh. Learn more about her on her website: isadorabaum.com.

Tags acid refluxdigestionheartburn

Isadora Baum is a freelance writer, certified health coach and author of 5-Minute Energy. She writes for various publications, including Men’s Health, Women’s Health, POPSUGAR, Well+Good, Cooking Light and more. She can’t resist a good sample, a margarita, a new HIIT class or an easy laugh. Learn more about her on her website: isadorabaum.com.

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How to survive acid reflux — without a pill

Natural remedies for GERD

Feeling the burn? That painful sensation in your chest or throat — acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease when ongoing and disruptive — isn’t intractable. Lifestyle and dietary tweaks can bring relief, experts say. “Simple (changes) can make a big difference,” says gastroenterologist Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, author of “The Acid Reflux Solution.” That’s promising, since researchers warn that heartburn drugs may do more harm than good for GERD, increasing the risk of infection with an intestinal bacteria or even the likelihood of contracting pneumonia. Here are 11 easy ways to alleviate heartburn without swallowing a pill:

Adjust your sleep position.

Most acid reflux occurs during sleep. To prevent nighttime attacks, “you need to position your head at an angle,” so it’s higher than your abdomen, Rodriguez says. Elevate the head of your bed a minimum of 30 degrees, perhaps with a firm foam-rubber wedge or by putting bricks under your bedposts. “The worst thing you can do is lie flat down, especially right after eating.” Also, try sleeping on your left side. Research from the Stanford School of Medicine suggests that snoozing on your right side worsens reflux. So does sleeping on your stomach.

Wait longer between meals and bedtime.

You shouldn’t be going to bed immediately after eating, says Dr. Jacqueline Wolf, a gastroenterologist and an associate professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Wait at least two hours between meals or snacks and hitting the sack. “I really believe it should be three hours or longer,” says Wolf, author of “A Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Stomach: Taking Control of Your Digestive Health.”

Maintain a healthy weight.

Typically, a group of muscles between the stomach and the esophagus, called the lower esophageal sphincter, works with the diaphragm to prevent stomach contents from backing up into the esophagus. If this normally tight sphincter becomes too loose or relaxed, reflux can occur. Maintaining a healthy weight is helpful, since extra body fat puts pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter. Many studies show that obesity worsens reflux, Wolf says. “Obesity for sure is a risk factor for reflux and inflammation of the esophagus,” she says. “And losing weight often improves reflux.”

Chew your food well.

Forget wolfing down your meals. Digestion begins in the mouth, and if you don’t chew your food well, you’re asking for trouble. Chew each bite for 20 seconds.

Eat less but more often.

Portion control is key to managing acid reflux, Rodriguez says. Reduce the size of all your meals, but schedule more frequent, evenly spaced snacks. And only eat until you’re satisfied, not until you’re stuffed. Overeating causes the stomach to stretch more than normal, increasing the production of gastric acid. “Small portions are the way to go,” Rodriguez says.

Cut carbs and fatty foods.

In one study by researchers at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, obese GERD patients who curtailed their carbohydrate intake to 20 grams a day or less experienced a substantial decrease in acidity and symptoms. If cutting carbs doesn’t help after about two weeks, try another tactic. High-fat foods can also cause problems. “Fatty foods both delay gastric emptying as well as increasing cholecystokinin,” Wolf explains. This hormone stimulates the gallbladder to release more bile into the digestive system.

Avoid other reflux-triggering foods.

Garlic and onions can also worsen GERD symptoms. Mint is another culprit, which may come as a surprise. Mint tea and after-dinner mints may relax digestion but they exacerbate reflux, Wolf says. “Mint eases that high-pressure zone between the esophagus and the stomach,” she says. “And hence, you have more acid reflux.” Apple cider vinegar won’t hurt but likely won’t ease acid reflux, either. Although apple cider vinegar is often touted as a home remedy for GERD, it doesn’t work, Wolf says.

Loosen your belt.

If your belt is too tight or your jeans are too small, there will be more pressure on your stomach — and less room for food. That can trigger the release of extra acid, while stressing the lower esophageal sphincter.

Choose post-meal activities wisely.

Exercising after eating? Bending over after a meal? Both are tickets to the heartburn hotel. Sitting up in bed at night watching TV after eating doesn’t help either. “You’re actually putting a lot of pressure on your abdomen — you’re not really upright,” Wolf says. “Most people are lounging down on their pillow.”

Quit smoking and cut back on alcohol.

Research suggests that both smoking and alcohol contribute to GERD. Smoking stimulates the production of stomach acid, so by quitting smoking, you reduce your chances of reflux in addition to the many other cessation benefits. Excessive drinking also triggers reflux — it helps to learn what moderate alcohol consumption really means.

Chew gum.

You’ll produce more saliva, which neutralizes stomach acid, research suggests. Chew a piece or two before bedtime. (Hint: You might want to choose a non-mint flavor.)

Natural remedies for GERD

Reduce acid reflux and GERD with these expert tips:

— Adjust your sleep position.

— Wait longer between meals and bedtime.

— Maintain a healthy weight.

— Chew food thoroughly.

— Eat smaller, more frequent meals.

— Cut down on carbs and fatty foods.

— Avoid triggers like garlic, onions and mint.

— Loosen your belt.

— Don’t exercise soon after eating.

— Quit smoking and reduce alcohol.

— Try chewing gum.

More from U.S. News

How to Survive Acid Reflux — Without a Pill originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 03/29/19: This story was originally published on Sept. 5, 2014, and has been updated with new information.

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