Heartburn is an uncomfortable and somewhat common symptom. People often describe it as a painful, burning sensation that occurs in the lower part of the chest and extends to the mouth. Some heartburn sufferers also describe a sour taste in their mouth.
If you frequently experience heartburn, you may have noticed that certain foods can cause or worsen the condition. This article lists 9 foods that can cause heartburn. It also explores methods you can use to reduce heartburn symptoms.
What is heartburn?
Heartburn is the most common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a gastrointestinal disorder. GERD develops when stomach contents back up into the esophagus, causing symptoms such as:
A stinging taste in the mouth due to regurgitation.
Normally, stomach acid does not reach the esophagus because there is a barrier between the esophagus and the stomach called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). This ring muscle remains normally closed and usually opens only when swallowing or burping. Weakness and relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter is one possible cause of GERD.
Other factors that can increase your risk of GERD:
Delayed gastric emptying
– Over the age of fifty
Excessive alcohol consumption
– to be pregnant
He suffers from a musculoskeletal disorder
Taking certain medications such as benzodiazepines, NSAIDs, or antidepressants.
GERD treatment involves managing associated symptoms, including heartburn. Lifestyle changes are the most important part of treating GERD, although people also use other treatments, such as medication. Additionally, many health professionals recommend that people with GERD and stomach acid avoid certain foods. If you have heartburn, you may find that avoiding certain foods helps control your symptoms.
Here are 9 foods that can cause heartburn.
1. Foods rich in fat
Foods that are high in fat can cause heartburn, especially fatty foods like French fries and pizza. Researchers are still learning how fats can cause GERD symptoms, but foods high in fat can make heartburn worse by tricking the body into releasing substances that irritate the esophagus. These substances include bile salts in your stomach and the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK) in your blood, which can relax your lower esophageal sphincter and cause acid reflux. A study of GERD patients found that more than half of 85 people who reported trigger foods also said high-fat fried foods triggered GERD symptoms, such as heartburn. Additionally, the study found that after participants stopped stimulating foods for two weeks, the percentage of people who reported heartburn decreased from 93% to 44%. It’s important to note that researchers are still trying to identify the types of fats that can make GERD symptoms worse, but fried and fatty foods seem to have the strongest effects.
Mints such as peppermint and spearmint are often thought to soothe an upset stomach. However, there is some evidence that these types of mint can cause heartburn.
Studies show that peppermint reduces low esophageal pressure and can cause heartburn. Although peppermint can cause GERD symptoms, it appears to be a problem for only a small percentage of people with GERD. If you experience heartburn after eating peppermint products, you can eliminate them from your diet to see if it helps you manage heartburn.
3. Citrus juices
Drinking citrus juice can trigger symptoms of heartburn. People usually say that orange and grapefruit juice cause GERD symptoms such as heartburn. However, it is not clear exactly how citrus juices cause heartburn. However, many people with GERD avoid them in an effort to reduce heartburn symptoms.
Chocolate is another common heartburn trigger. Ingredients in chocolate, such as cocoa and caffeine, can relax the reflux esophagus and increase exposure to esophageal acid
Many people report heartburn symptoms after eating chocolate, and studies have shown that chocolate can reduce low esophageal pressure. However, it is uncertain whether eliminating chocolate from the diet improves heartburn symptoms. If you find that eating chocolate causes you to feel heartburn or makes acidity symptoms worse, try eliminating it from your diet.
5. Spicy foods
Spicy foods are notorious for causing heartburn. However, it is unclear exactly how they contribute to heartburn. However, a study in people with GERD found that cayenne pepper capsules increase gastroesophageal reflux, which is the relaxation of the upper part of the stomach in response to a meal. Research has shown that people with GERD tend to have an increased gastric adaptive reflex. This phenomenon is associated with increased relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter, which can cause heartburn. The same study showed that cayenne pepper capsules were associated with a more intense burning sensation in the stomach and more severe heartburn in participants with GERD, compared to a placebo.
Another study of 4,633 Iranian adults found that eating high amounts of spicy foods was associated with an increased risk of heartburn in men, but not in women.
Also, spicy foods can irritate an already inflamed esophagus, which can worsen heartburn symptoms.
If you think spicy foods may be the cause of your heartburn, consider eliminating them from your diet.
Onions, especially raw onions, are a common cause of heartburn. Like the other foods on this list, onions cause heartburn symptoms in many people with GERD. However, it’s not clear exactly how onions cause or worsen heartburn. In a study from the 1990s, people with heartburn ate a regular hamburger one day, and then an identical hamburger with onions the other day. The onion burger significantly worsened heartburn symptoms, compared to the onion burger. However, future studies are needed to determine whether all heartburn sufferers should consider cutting out or reducing their onion intake.
Additionally, onions are a rich source of FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols), a class of small, indigestible carbohydrates that cause digestive problems in some people. It can cause heartburn in people who are allergic to FODMAPs
Moderate to heavy alcohol consumption can worsen GERD symptoms, including heartburn. This is because alcohol relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, which can allow stomach acid to escape into the esophagus and stimulate heartburn. Studies also show that drinking alcohol is a risk factor for GERD. An analysis of 29 studies found that people who drank alcohol more than 5 times or days a week were more than twice as likely to develop GERD than people who drank no or rarely alcohol.
8. Coffee and caffeinated drinks
Some people may experience heartburn when drinking coffee and other caffeinated beverages. This is because caffeine has been shown to relax the lower esophageal sphincter, which can increase the risk of acid reflux and heartburn. In addition, coffee can stimulate the secretion of stomach acid, which can aggravate heartburn. Although coffee can cause heartburn in some people, not all studies have found a link between coffee and acid reflux symptoms. A study of 1,837 people, 25% of whom had GERD, found no significant link between coffee consumption and GERD symptoms.
9. Soft drinks and soft drinks
Many people find that they experience heartburn after consuming soft drinks and sodas. Research suggests that these drinks can relax the lower esophageal sphincter and increase the acidity of stomach acid, two risk factors for heartburn. In fact, soda consumption is thought to contribute significantly to the heartburn that occurs at night, known as nocturnal heartburn. Some studies have linked soft drink consumption to worsening symptoms in people with GERD.
For example, an old study found that people who drink soft drinks have a 69% lower risk of developing reflux symptoms such as heartburn.
Soft drinks and other carbonated drinks can cause heartburn by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter. If soda or other soft drinks are causing you acidity, consider reducing or avoiding them altogether.
Other ways to relieve heartburn
In addition to cutting out foods that can cause heartburn from your diet, there are other ways to tame it.
Maintain a healthy body weight. Obesity is associated with GERD. Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce symptoms of GERD, such as heartburn.
Try a low-carb diet. Some studies show that a low-carb diet can help reduce GERD symptoms. Reducing your intake of refined carbohydrates and added sugars can also help.
Avoid lying down after eating. Health professionals often recommend that people with GERD eat food at least three hours before bed. Lying down soon after eating can worsen GERD symptoms, such as heartburn.
Follow a Mediterranean diet. A Mediterranean diet, rich in high-fiber foods such as beans and vegetables, as well as healthy fats such as olive oil and fish, can help control GERD symptoms.
Increase physical activity. One study found that exercising for 30 minutes 3 times a week was associated with a reduced risk of GERD.
– Lift your head in bed. Elevating your upper body when you’re in bed can help reduce GERD symptoms and improve your sleep patterns.
* Presse Santé strives to impart medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In no way can the information provided replace medical advice.
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