List of 12 Foods That Cause Acid Reflux Symptoms

Updated: 08/27/2019

Whatever you consume, it will travel into your mouth and pass through your esophagus before reaching your stomach. However, if you’re suffering from acid reflux, eating may  be less enjoyable and more painful. Acid reflux can reduce the tone of the valve that is responsible for separating the esophagus from the stomach and make the acid reflux symptoms worse. There are also foods that can make your stomach produce too much acid. This acid can back up into your esophagus and lead to a painful burn. If you’re one of many people who are suffering from acid reflux,, you might consider avoiding foods that make it worse. This article describes 12 foods that may worsen acid reflux. Avoiding or limiting eating these foods may alleviate symptoms. Keep reading to learn more!

List Of 12 Foods That Cause Acid Reflux Symptoms

1. Tomatoes

foods that cause acid reflux

Tomatoes and tomato products such as its sauce, juice, soup, etc contain citric and malic acid that may make your stomach produce more gastric acid[1]. It is a chemical that helps to break down food. And when the gastric acid is too high, it may flow up into your esophagus. Cooking tomatoes doesn’t decrease the acid, therefore limiting consumption of tomatoes may help to decrease symptoms.

2. Chocolate

foods that cause acid reflux

Chocolate may lead to acid reflux since it contains caffeine and similar stimulants like theobromine that may cause reflux[2] [3]. It is also rich in fat, which takes longer to digest. Chocolate may also help your esophageal sphincter to relax, which allows stomach acid to creep up[4].
However, not all chocolate is created equal! Dark chocolate may not have the same effect as bad as milk chocolate. If you want to experiment, try a small piece of dark chocolate to see if it affects you. Chances are that small amounts of dark chocolate (1 oz or less) will create less acid reflux than milk chocolate.

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3. Citrus Fruits      

foods that cause acid reflux

According to a research published in the Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology, if you limit the intake of dietary acid, you may relieve the symptoms of acid reflux such as hoarseness and coughing. Therefore, to limit it, it might be wise to cut back on the citrus[5] [6]. Since citrus is healthy and good for the body, try consuming them earlier in the day rather than late at night before bedtime to avoid acid reflux. Because many people experience while lounging or in bed, this will lower the chances of acid reflux.

4. Alcohol


To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.
Beer, wine, and liquor are believed to contribute to acid reflux. Many kinds of alcoholic beverages are acidic. Alcohol can worsen acid reflux by causing the valve at the bottom of your esophagus relax, leading to reflux[7] [8]. You should abstain if you can or you may only drink a cocktail or a glass of wine per day to avoid acidic mixers such as orange juice or soda.

Read more: 29 best natural home solutions for heartburn relief

5. Butter

foods that cause acid reflux

Most of us know that foods high in fat could lead to acid reflux. Processing your foods also plays a vital role in this disease. Frying in butter can add unwanted calories and fat to each of your daily meals. Therefore, you should consider cooking in the steaming or grilling form if you do not want to develop acid reflux. Avoid using butter and try using spices and herbs for flavor.

6. Peppermint

foods that cause acid reflux

It’s common to have a peppermint candy or mint after a meal. However, some research shows that it could worsen acid reflux.[9] While other research suggests peppermint to soothe the stomach, it might actually lead to acid reflux symptoms because it relaxes the sphincter that is the muscle between your esophagus and your stomach,[10] allowing stomach acids to flow freely back into your esophagus.

7. Onion And Garlic

foods that cause acid reflux

Both onion and garlic are used in many dishes for flavor. While both onion and garlic are healthy, according to some research, they could also contribute to acid reflux[11]. Therefore, you should eliminate onion and garlic from your daily diet and use different herbs to replace them.

Know more: 20 Best natural home solutions for nausea in adults

8. Soda And Carbonated Beverages


Soda & many other carbonated beverages certainly contribute to acid reflux[12]. The bubbles of carbonation expand inside your stomach and the increased pressure can contribute to acid reflux. Beverages such as Coke, tab, diet Pepsi, etc have been shown to be most acidic. Therefore, limit drinking soda and carbonated beverages to prevent acid reflux.

9. Caffeine

foods that cause acid reflux

A cup of espresso or coffee per day is fine. However, drinking coffee continuously throughout the day could increase acid reflux[13]. Instead, try using chamomile or green tea. Substituting a cup of green tea for coffee every day may improve acid reflux while leading to optimal health.

10. Spicy Foods


Spicy foods commonly cause acid reflux. In one study, any patients complained that they had acid reflux and its symptoms after eating spicy foods[14]. However, research showed that spicy foods don't affect the pressure that makes the esophageal sphincter snaps shut down. It can be that they irritate the esophagus. Therefore, avoid eating spicy foods if you want to minimize acid reflux.

11. Beef

foods that cause acid reflux

Some parts of beef such as porterhouse, T-bone steaks, and filet mignon are so rich fat that may lead to acid reflux[15]. You should choose leaner cuts of beef or opt for fish or plant-based meals. Leaner cuts of beef include top round, top sirloin, and sirloin tip.

12. Fried Food

foods that cause acid reflux

Fried foods contain a lot of oil, which takes a long time to digest and can contribute to acid reflux.[16] In addition, fried foods high in fat may damage the digestive tract. They slow down the overall digestive process, leaving excess acids that may in turn move upward into your esophagus.
Substitute foods that are poached, steamed, roasted or grilled for fried foods.
If you want to know the best foods to eat to prevent lifestyle diseases and conditions, go to our main Super Foods page. We hope that you found the list above helpful in reducing acid reflux. However, always check with your doctor first. If you have any questions, or if you know of other foods that cause acid reflux, please let us know in the comments below.

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