Whatever you eat, it travels through your mouth, down your oesophagus and into your stomach. But if you have acid reflux, things can get painful. Many foods can worsen the symptoms of acid reflux by decreasing the tone of the valve that separates the oesophagus from the stomach, prolonging the time food spends sitting in the stomach or causing the stomach to produce excess gastric acid. Here is a list of foods to avoid if you’re particularly prone to this horrible feeling after a meal!
Carbonated beverages: Soda and other carbonated beverages are some of the main causes of acid reflux. The bubbles of carbonation expand inside the stomach, and the increased pressure contributes to reflux. Sodas with caffeine and those that are acidic (almost all) are even worse.
Fried Food: Fried food is the single most recognized cause of reflux. It is also the food most often associated with heartburn, which is chest pain from oesophageal reflux. Deep-fried (or even not-so-deep-fried) foods are on the “bad list” because of their high fat content.
Alcohol: Beer, liquor, and wine are believed to contribute to reflux. Many alcoholic beverages are not very acidic. However, alcohol is believed to relax the valve at the bottom of the oesophagus (where it joins the stomach), leading to reflux. Abstain if you can; otherwise, have only one cocktail or glass of wine a day, and completely avoid acidic mixers like orange juice or soda.
High-Fat Dairy Foods: All high-fat foods cause reflux. There is no reason to believe that one high-fat butter or cheese is better than another in this regard. If you have reflux and a serious cheese habit, something has to give. Use a small amount of these foods as flavouring, but not as main ingredients. Low fat is better than no fat.
High-Fat Meats: Acid reflux is caused by high-fat cuts of meat—beef, pork, lamb—which stay longer in the stomach and increase the chance of acid reflux. Try cutting back to a lean cut of meat and eat it only once a week.
Caffeine: One cup of coffee or espresso a day is fine, but people who drink coffee all day long are courting reflux—if they don’t have it already. Try switching to chamomile, which is the best herbal tea, or you can have one cup of green tea a day if it is lightly brewed.