The Worst Foods For HeartburnHeartburn, or acid reflux, is a painful condition that can create symptoms in your chest and abdomen. Sometimes caused by dietary and lifestyle choices, heartburn is often the result of stomach acid that splashes back up into your esophagus.

If you suffer from acid reflux consistently, you should seek advice from our NYC acid reflux doctors at Manhattan Gastroenterology. It could be a symptom of a more severe condition. Your gastroenterologist should diagnose all symptoms for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Foods to Avoid to Reduce Heartburn

If you experience heartburn occasionally and want to know which foods you can safely eat and which may exacerbate the issue, then you have come to the right place. Listed below are the foods to avoid now if you don’t want to feel the pain of heartburn later:

  • Fried food: The most significant contributor to heartburn is fried food, both meat and vegetables. Fried foods aggravate your digestive system and lead to heartburn and acid reflux.
  • Fast food: Fast food is high in fat and sugar, not to mention empty calories. So there are many reasons to avoid fast food. Now there’s another: it upsets your stomach and causes heartburn.
  • Tomatoes and tomato-based sauces: Naturally acidic, tomato-based foods — which include ketchup, marinara sauce, and tomato-based soups — are not good for your stomach. Too much acid in your stomach may cause some to splash back into your esophagus.
  • Chocolate: All the decadent foods are on this list, aren’t they? Chocolate contains three things that can cause heartburn: cocoa, caffeine, and fat.
  • Citric fruit: The citric acid in this fruit relaxes your esophageal sphincter. Oranges and grapefruit, in particular, contribute to heartburn by making the symptoms worse.
  • Peppermint: This sweet relaxes your stomach, allowing food to move more quickly to your intestines. But if you’re suffering from heartburn, peppermint will make it worse.

Two more notes about foods to avoid when you’re trying to eliminate your heartburn symptoms:

  • Try not to eat anything within two to four hours of going to bed. You digest better when you’re upright. It’s more difficult for your body to digest when you’re lying down.
  • If you can, take smaller meals during the day instead of the three standard large meals. This type of eating makes it easier for your digestive system. It’s naturally easier to digest smaller meals.

Drinks to Avoid to Reduce Heartburn

There are also beverages you should avoid if you are trying to reduce your heartburn symptoms:

  • Caffeine: Caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea tend to make your heartburn symptoms worse. Drink decaffeinated coffee and teas whenever possible or say No.
  • Soft drinks: Carbonated beverages add to the gas already in your stomach, expand your stomach lining, and produce uncomfortable pressure. Burping relieves the pressure but also lets some of the stomach acids escape into your esophagus.
  • Alcohol: Like fast food and chocolate, alcohol affects your stomach in multiple ways to increase your heartburn. It encourages your esophageal sphincter to relax while increasing the amount of acid in your stomach.

Only your NYC gastroenterologist can accurately diagnose and treat your heartburn or GERD symptoms.

Updated on Aug 27, 2022 by Dr. Shawn Khodadadian (Gastroenterologist) of Manhattan Gastroenterology