There are many foods that can exacerbate acid reflux and cause heartburn. Your GI doctor can help you identify all of them, but here are a few of the most common to look out for:
1. Fried Foods
These are at the top of the list for a reason. The grease used to fry foods will generally irritate your stomach, which makes it easy for stomach acid to escape to your esophagus. Although fried meats are more common, vegetables can have the same effect, so be careful.
2. Carbonated Beverages
This one is a double whammy: carbonated drinks are often highly caffeine and caffeine, which can irritate your stomach, is one of the worst things for acid reflux. Even if your favorite carbonated beverage is low in caffeine, however, it is still better to avoid it because of the amount of gas it will add to your stomach. When you release the gas, by burping, it will allow the stomach acid to escape, making your heartburn much worse.
Citric fruits contain a good deal of acid on their own and add more acid to your stomach, which makes it easy for acid to overflow into your esophagus. On top of that, citric acid also causes your esophagus to relax, making it easier for heartburn to occur. Avoid oranges, limes, grapefruits, and lemons if you have acid reflux.
4. Tomatoes / Tomato Sauce
Tomatoes are another food that is naturally high in acid. This means that you have to avoid tomatoes and foods that use them, including ketchup, marinara sauce, or tomato soups; if you do not then all that extra acid in your stomach may splash back into your esophagus.
For many, this one may be the most difficult to avoid. Chocolate contains caffeine and fat, and it is also made of cocoa, another food that can cause heartburn on its own. In theory, dark chocolate is slightly better for those with acid reflux, but the truth is that all chocolate is going to cause heartburn, so stay away.
Any GI Doctor will tell you that any drink with a lot of sugar, such as alcohol, is likely to upset your stomach and cause heartburn, but alcohol will also cause your esophageal sphincter to relax as you drink; making it one of the worst things for those with acid reflux.
Soft drinks may be high in caffeine, but they've got nothing on coffee and espresso. All that caffeine will cause some serious heartburn, however you can always opt for decaffeinated coffee. The same goes for tea as well.
It may be hard to avoid all of the above foods and beverages all of the time, but if you do not want to experience constant stomach pain then a little bit of caution can go a long way. There are also ways to help avoid heartburn, such as making sure to eat two hours before sleeping and eating smaller but numerous meals through the day. Consult your GI doctor for information on how to treat acid reflux and heartburn.