The Ten Worst Foods For Heartburn


heart burnAlmost everyone has experienced heartburn at some point in life, but about 10 percent of people in the United States suffer from heartburn regularly.

Heartburn occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES, does not close properly after food is consumed and enters the stomach. The LES joins the esophagus to the stomach.

It opens up when food is traveling down to the stomach, then closes back up. However, if the LES was weakened for some reason and does no close properly, stomach acid can travel back up into the esophagus and cause a burning sensation in the throat.

The sour and bitter taste of the stomach acid lingers in the mouth making this a very unpleasant experience. Certain foods can trigger a heartburn. Here are a few general categories of foods that are common triggers, followed by ten specific foods that are among the worst ones, in no particular order.

Foods That Are Acidic

Acidic foods relax the lower esophageal sphincter and lets the stomach acid flow back up into the esophagus. These foods include fruits, tomatoes and tomato products, and ketchup. Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and lemon are common triggers for some people who suffer from heartburn a lot. However, the reflux symptoms can vary in degree among these individuals.

Foods High In Fat

Fatty foodFat is hard to digest. It takes longer to break down. When fatty foods are eaten, the food tends to stay in the stomach a little longer because the stomach is working very hard to break it down.Digestion is slowed down.

Lots of stomach acid is produced in this process. Pressure on the stomach builds up and puts pressure on the weakend LES.At one point, the LES will not be able to stay closed, and the stomach acid will find its way back up into the esophagus.

Foods That Are Spicy

The spices irritate the esophagus, the LES, and the stomach. Spicy foods may excite the palette, but once the taste buds have had their enjoyment, the body has to pay the consequences.

Foods With A Minty Flavor

Mints can relax the LES, and when it is relaxed, it sets the stage for heartburn. Mints are friendly to the stomach, but they are bothersome to heartburn sufferers.

Here Are 10 Of The Worst Examples Of Foods That Heartburn Sufferers Should Avoid:


pizzaPizzas are often made with ingredients that are unfriendly to people who suffer from heartburn. Ingredients like tomato sauce and tomato slices are highly acidic.

The cheese and meat toppings are high in fat. Onions and spices can irritate the esophagus. Pizza is hard to digest. When food lingers in the stomach, there are more chances of developing a heartburn.

Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is extremely fattening. Not only is it deep-fried in oil, but the breading usually has a lot of spices. Spicy fried chicken is a favorite for many people, but it spells trouble for heartburn sufferers.


This is notoriously high in saturated fat, and it can be loaded with condiments like ketchup, onions, and pickles.

Prime Rib Or Rib Eye Steak

These cuts are tender and juicy, but fattening cuts of beef. These are slow to digest, raising the risk of heartburn.

Mexican Food

spicy foodMexican food is enjoyed by people everywhere because of the robust flavors. However, the most popular dishes are often deep-fried and spicy.

Indian Food

Indian cuisine is also famous for its liberal use of spices and curries. The richness of the flavors please the palette, but may not be friendly to those senstive to heartburns.

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate is known to relax the LES. Plus, it is high in fat. The combined effects from these two properties can easily trigger a heartburn.


friesChips are fried in fat. They are also very salty. For some people, the extra salt can raise their risk of heartburn.

Carbonated Drinks

The carbonation produces extra gas and pressure in the stomach, and the pressure can force open the LES. When you pair a soda with a fatty and spicy food item, you should get ready for a major heartburn.


alcoholAlcohol, especially wine, can relax the LES. Sipping a little wine may not cause much heartburn if the stomach is relatively empty. However, if a glass of wine is drunk after a big meal, no one should be surprised that someone gets heartburn.

These are the worst foods and beverage for heartburn. Different people will react to these at varying degrees. Each person has his own set of triggers. It is important to find out what your unique set is so that you can be sure to avoid those trigger foods.

When you have a better grasp at what you can and cannot eat, or how much you can eat and still stay within a safe range, you will get a better handle on your heartburn problem.


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