I have been plagued with acid reflux all my life. Mine is caused by a hiatal hernia, a looseness between my stomach and esophagus. It has caused everything from mild heartburn to violent spasms that can shoot undigested food up into my nose. Yeah, that’s probably TMI, but it just shows you how severe acid reflux can get. I’ve learned a trick or two in my time, including the all-important rule to avoid eating or drinking after seven. While this has greatly interfered with my European dining habits, with dinner tending to be served well after seven, it has proven to be a sure-fire way to avoid the horrifying side effects. Another tip is to learn what foods to avoid to reduce symptoms of acid reflux. Here’s what I have found, as well as foods experts advise you to avoid.
1. Peppermint And Acid Reflux
I have not experienced issues with peppermint, and in fact, I find peppermint tea to be quite comforting. However, the University of Maryland Medical Center reports peppermint relaxes the muscle separating your esophagus from your stomach aggravating bile and increasing heartburn. (1)
2. Alcohol And Acid RefluxAs a lover of wine and cocktails, I found this a tough one to swallow, or more likely not swallow. However, there’s no denying when I don’t imbibe, my acid reflux is greatly reduced. According to studies, alcohol has the same effect as peppermint. (2)
3. Citrus Fruits And Acid Reflux
Citrus fruit is mega acidic so it makes sense it can aggravate acid reflux. This would include juices. A study found 72% of patients with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease participating in a survey reported increased heartburn after drinking either orange or grapefruit juice. Symptoms get even worse if you have citrus on an empty stomach. (3)
4. Raw Onion And Acid Reflux
Raw onions are brutal on the breath but quite delightful on a burger or hot dog. Unfortunately, I know that this will lead to hours of discomfort. According to the American Journal of Gastroenterology raw onions are a direct route to reflux and heartburn not to mention belches. Charming. (4)
5. Spicy Food And Acid Reflux
Yep, this one is kind of self-explanatory. It makes good sense that if it burns your tongue, lips, and throat it will continue to burn all the way down. Avoiding spicy foods is heartburn/reflux avoidance 101.
6. Caffeine And Acid Reflux
This is another heartbreaker, but absolutely true. When I cut out caffeine my tummy is truly happier without fail. This includes tea, coffee, and soda, especially colas. I find almost all traditional teas (translates to non-herbal teas) kill my stomach from morning right into sleep that night.
7. Deep-Fried Foods And Acid Reflux
Luckily, I don’t eat deep-fried foods at all. Apparently, this is a good thing as fatty foods decrease pressure in the sphincter which leads to heartburn. While there are conflicting studies on the relationship between acid reflux and high-fat foods, I can attest that it does indeed cause issues. (5)
My Acid Reflux Tips
Although some of these studies are on hold, they still remain relevant. While I’m not a doctor, I can offer a few more tips based on my experience living with acid reflux. First, as mentioned try avoid eating or drinking after 7 pm and see how you feel. Next, eat smaller meals and reduce portion sizes, it makes a huge difference. If you’re not sure if something is causing acid reflux, avoid eating it for a few days. Then try it again, and see how you fare. If it hurts, take it off your menu or be prepared for the unpleasant consequences!