The stomach is one of the most acidic, if not the most acidic, environment in our body because it is where digestion occur. Many acidic enzymes are released by specialized stomach cells to digest food molecules such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into tiny pieces that the body can absorb.
Just above the stomach is the esophagus, the tube that delivers food from the mouth into the stomach. Unlike the stomach, the esophagus hates acid as it irritates cells and tissues. The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is the valve that prevents stomach acid from leaking back to the esophagus. In some people, the sphincter doesn’t close well causing stomach acid to move backward into the esophagus. When acid touches the esophagus, it causes heartburn or burning pain in the chest (under the breast bone). Besides heartburn, other symptoms include nausea, cough, wheezing, hiccups, difficulty swallowing, food regurgitation, and sore throat.
Persistent heartburn is an indication of a disease called gastrointestinal reflux (GERD) which affects many people worldwide. It is still unclear how gastrointestinal or acid reflux develops but there are factors that may contribute to acid reflux such as hiatal hernia, obesity, pregnancy, smoking, hypercalcemia, scleroderma, systemic sclerosis, visceroptosis, Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, and high intake of acidic foods.
People who have GERD should watch out the food that they eat to prevent GERD attacks. They should avoid foods that greatly stimulate the production of acids in the stomach because too much stomach acid triggers GERD attacks. Below is a list of foods that can trigger acid reflux.
Foods That May Cause Acid Reflux
- Tangy citrus fruits such as oranges, lemon, cranberry, and grapefruits. The pulps of these fruits are very acidic and can readily cause acid reflux especially when eaten with empty stomach.
- Tomatoes and foods with tomato sauce should also be avoided because they are also highly acidic and likely to cause acid reflux in those who are prone to it.
- Garlic and onion were reported to cause heartburn.
- Spicy foods can also trigger heartburn.
- Peppermint is a heartburn trigger food.
- Fatty foods such as cheese, nuts, avocadoes, and juicy rib eye can trigger heartburn.
- Any alcoholic drink can trigger acid reflux especially when imbibed with a large meal.
- Drinks such as coffee, soda, tea, iced tea, and other caffeinated drinks are big offenders of heartburn.
- Chocolate can also be a heartburn food as it relaxes the sphincter that prevents stomach acid to leak into the esophagus.
- Dairy products such as milk, ice cream, cheese, and shakes are acidic foods that may cause heartburn.
- Potato and corn chips are added on the list of heartburn foods.
- Salad dressings with either cream or oil & vinegar can get your esophagus into trouble.
Note: The foods mentioned above may not cause heartburn especially when consumed in small or moderate amounts. The list is not totally complete as there are many foods that can trigger acid reflux. To monitor the foods that get you into trouble, make a food diary wherein you list all the foods that give you heartburn. Take note also that not only foods can trigger heartburn but other medical conditions as well.[ad#afterpost]
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