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3 Trigger Foods For Acid Reflux

If you’re among the one in five Aussies afflicted by chronic acid reflux, you know how disruptive, uncomfortable and frustrating it can be. If you’re looking for a little relief, take note of these 3 trigger foods to steer clear of.

For many people, eating a meal is a simple part of the day, but for those with acid reflux it can be stressful and anxiety-inducing never knowing if they’ll be in for round two with their lunch.  What’s happening here is stomach acid is moving back up into the oesophagus, which then irritates the oesophageal lining – and if this is happening more than twice a week, it’s likely gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). There are a number of foods known to worsen symptoms – take a look at these 3 major culprits.

Spicy food

While spicy foods have numerous health benefits like the antioxidant properties in chilli and gut-boosting kimchi, researchers have found that hot and spicy foods can irritate the oesophagus and trigger acid reflux. Other studies show that for those with an existing gastrointestinal disorder – like acid reflux – may experience pain and heartburn after eating spicy foods. The culprit is a compound known as capsaicin, and it’s the stuff that gives foods like chilli, jalapenos add cayenne peppers their trademark spiciness. Over 50% of participants in one study experienced reflux symptoms after eating spicy stews. While people without gastrointestinal issues should be able to safely consume spicy foods – and reap the benefits! – but if acid reflux is the unwanted house guest taking up residence in your body, you may want to give these foods a wide berth.

Fried and high-fat foods

Deep-fried foods and foods rich in fat can trigger acid reflux in those with GERD, and this is because these foods reduce the pressure on the lower oesophageal sphincter, which then slows down the process of digestion and the emptying of the stomach. This can then increase your risk of reflux as stomach acid travels back up into the oesophagus and throat. Watch out for the following foods:

  • Deep-fried fish, meat and cheese
  • Potato chips and crisps
  • Butter and cream
  • Ice cream and high-fat confectionery

Foods rich in healthy fats like avocados, olive oil and walnuts are tolerated better for those with reflux – and they also play an essential role in gut health and nutrient absorption – but some may find eating any source of fat in moderation to be the best course of prevention.

Certain fruits

Citrus fruits and tomatoes – yes, they’re a fruit! – can elicit acid reflux symptoms as a result of their acidity. In the case of tomatoes, these fruits are loaded with citric acid and malic acid, and these are known to trigger the stomach to produce higher levels of gastric acid – if gastric acid levels get to high, it may end up travelling back through the oesophagus. If you’re a pasta fanatic and but a chronic acid reflux sufferer, consider a pesto sauce instead! Citrus fruits like orange, mandarin, lemon and tangerine are also worth avoiding due to their low pH content and acidity, both of which are known to trigger acid reflux.

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