GERD Food Triggers
Heartburn is an uncomfortable condition that can distract you during the day, rob you of sleep at night, and cause lasting damage to your esophagus. To avoid all of these problems, preventing heartburn is essential.
Heartburn occurs when acid from the stomach flows back up into the esophagus through the lower esophageal sphincter muscle. In some cases, this occurs because the individual’s sphincter is weak. In other cases, problematic foods may have caused the sphincter to relax, allowing acid to flow through. People who experience heartburn frequently may be diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.
Although individuals with GERD can experience heartburn after almost any meal, some foods are more likely to trigger symptoms than others. According to WebMD, some of the foods that may worsen heartburn include:
- Dairy products, such as ice cream or cottage cheese
- Pasta, especially with tomato sauce
- Acidic beverages, such as tea, wine or coffee
- Certain fruits and vegetables, such as lemons, tomatoes, grapefruit, cranberries and onions
- Fatty or sugary foods, such as chocolate, potato chips, doughnuts, brownies and fried foods
- Meat, including beef and breaded chicken
- Hot sauce
Even if you have heartburn on a regular basis, you may be unwilling to give up all of the foods on this list completely. To avoid the symptoms of heartburn, simply limit the amount of trigger foods you consume, and try not to consume multiple trigger foods at a single meal.
Keep in mind that not every person will have the same heartburn triggers, so you may have triggers that are not included on this list. Likewise, some of the foods on this list may not bother you as much as others. If you aren’t sure which foods are causing your symptoms, consider keeping a diary of the foods you eat and the symptoms you experience.
In addition to limiting your consumption of trigger foods, you can also reduce heartburn symptoms through portion control. If possible, try to eat multiple small meals throughout the day as opposed to three large meals. If your heartburn symptoms are worse at night, limit the consumption of any foods, including your heartburn trigger foods, before bedtime. In general, it’s best to stop eating at least two hours before you plan to go to bed.