Acid reflux or also known as gastroesophageal reflux is the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus. It is usually characterized by a burning sensation in the chest (heartburn), felt internally around the lower chest area.
In some cases, acid reflux may progress to GERD, which is a severe form of reflux. The frequent heartburn is the most common symptom of GERD.
Other symptoms include coughing, wheezing, regurgitation of food or sour liquid, difficulty swallowing, and chest pain, particularly while lying down at night.
There are many factors that can trigger acid reflux. The most common ones include obesity, smoking, blood pressure medications, laying down or bending at the waist, stomach abnormalities, and exercising.
Another factor that can contribute to heartburn and acid reflux is diet. There are various foods and drinks that aggravate the tissues that line the esophagus or disrupt the ability of the lower esophageal sphincter to close properly and keep acids in the stomach.
Actually, many health experts claim that you should pay a great attention to your diet so you will be able to find out which foods trigger your acid reflux. Keep in mind that different people may have different triggers!
If you are a real coffee lover, it’s time to replace it with some herb tea. Coffee contains caffeine that is harmful to people who already have heartburn or acid reflux.
Caffeine will increase the acidity in your stomach, which in turn will cause acid reflux. Coffee also reduces pressure in the lower esophageal sphincter which can lead to heartburn.
Moreover, coffee speeds up the process of gastric emptying. This contributes to the highly acidic contents passing into the small intestine more rapidly than usual.
This can result in injury to the intestinal tissue. Do not forget to mention that you should also avoid foods and beverages that contain caffeine, including tea, sodas, and energy drinks!
Any kind of alcoholic drink may cause reflux. Alcohol can relax the valve at the bottom of the esophagus, thus leading to reflux. Moreover, it stimulates the production of stomach acid and irritates the stomach and esophagus, which in turn worsens the condition.
A 2004 study found out that drinking 210 g or more alcohol per week is one of the main risks for GERD. Then, another study in 2006 proved that alcoholic beverages like wine and beer can induce gastroesophageal reflux in people suffering from GERD.
According to a 2010 study, the exposure of the esophagus and stomach to alcohol causes direct damage to esophageal and gastric mucosae. Therefore, it is very important to avoid alcoholic beverages as much as possible, or limit your consumption to 1-2 drinks per week!
Who does not love to eat chocolates, right? Well, if you suffer from heartburn, it is time to say goodbye to this sweet pleasure! There are exactly three reasons why chocolate is bad for individuals suffering from acid reflux:
- Chocolate is packed with caffeine and other stimulants like theobromine that can cause reflux. Theobromine is a type of methylxanthine that keeps the lower esophageal sphincter muscle from tightening, thus increasing your risk of severe acid reflux.
- Chocolate is high in fat. This means that it takes longer time to digest and can trigger reflux.
- The cocoa found in chocolate can induce the problem because it causes the intestinal cells to relax the esophageal sphincter. This allows stomach acid to creep up.
Those who suffer from heartburn or GERD are highly recommended to avoid tomatoes and tomato-based products. This is because tomatoes have a high content of citric acid, malic acid and ascorbic acid, all of which can irritate the stomach and esophagus.
When you are consuming these acids, your stomach starts to produce excessive gastric acid. In other words, this may creep up into the esophagus and lead to unpleasant burning sensation in your chest.
Make sure to avoid tomatoes and tomato-based products, including ketchup, pasta sauce, chili sauce, and pizza with tomato sauce!
5. Carbonated Beverages
Soda and other carbonated drinks may also cause heartburn and acid reflux. The bubbles of carbonation expand inside the stomach, while the increased distension causes reflux of stomach acids.
What is more, carbonated sodas have acidic nature. This means that when you drink these beverages, the volume of your stomach rises much higher, which in turn worsens the condition.
Therefore, it is of utmost importance to limit your intake of carbonated drinks so you can prevent acid reflux.
If you are a real lover of these drinks and you just can’t resist, make sure to drink it in the morning, because reflux is worse at night or when you are lying down.