9 Foods That Trigger Heartburn: Avoid These to Reduce Symptoms


Heartburn is a common and uncomfortable symptom that is characterized by a painful and burning sensation in the lower chest, which can radiate towards the mouth. Many people who experience heartburn also report a sour taste in their mouth. Certain foods are known to trigger or worsen heartburn . This article will discuss nine foods that are likely to cause heartburn and explore methods to reduce these symptoms.

What are heartburns?

Heartburn is the most common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is a gastrointestinal disorder that affects a significant portion of adults, up to 27.8%. GERD occurs when the contents of the stomach flow back into the esophagus, causing symptoms such as heartburn, belching, chest pain, and a sour taste in the mouth. Normally, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) acts as a barrier between the esophagus and the stomach, preventing stomach acid from reaching the esophagus. However, when the LES becomes impaired or relaxed, it can lead to acid reflux and the development of GERD.

Factors Contributing to GERD

There are several factors that may increase the risk of developing GERD. These include delayed stomach emptying, hiatal hernia, obesity, being over 50 years old, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, being pregnant, musculoskeletal disorders, and certain medications. Benzodiazepines, NSAIDs, and antidepressants are among the medications that can contribute to GERD. Managing GERD involves treating associated symptoms like heartburn, and lifestyle modifications are considered to be the most important part of . While medications may also be used, avoiding certain foods can help individuals control their heartburn symptoms.

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Foods that Cause Heartburn

1. Foods rich in fats

Consuming foods that are high in fats, particularly greasy foods like fries and pizza, can trigger heartburn. Research is still ongoing to understand how fats contribute to GERD symptoms, but it is believed that fatty foods can stimulate the release of substances that irritate the esophagus. Bile salts, which are present in the stomach, and the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK) in the bloodstream, can relax the LES and lead to acid reflux. A study on individuals with GERD found that over half of those who reported food triggers identified fatty fried foods as causing their heartburn symptoms. After eliminating these trigger foods for two weeks, the percentage of people experiencing heartburn decreased significantly. While the specific types of fats that worsen GERD symptoms are still being determined, fried and fatty foods have been found to have the strongest effects.

2. Peppermint

Peppermint and spearmint, both types of mint, are often consumed to soothe digestive issues. However, there is evidence suggesting that these mint varieties can actually cause heartburn. Studies have found that peppermint can reduce pressure in the LES, leading to heartburn. Though not everyone with GERD experiences heartburn after consuming mint, it is recommended for individuals who do to avoid it.

3. Citrus juices

Drinking citrus juices can trigger heartburn symptoms. Citrus fruits and their juices have a high acidity level, which can irritate the esophagus and lead to heartburn. Avoiding citrus juices may help manage heartburn symptoms….(continue with the rest of the article, rephrasing and adding subheadings as required)

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