Foods to Avoid id You Have Acid Reflux

Many people have felt the sensation of heartburn, but what exactly is acid reflux? Acid reflux is the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus, the tube that connects the throat to the stomach.  This backward flow becomes possible when the sphincter muscle at the lower end of your esophagus is weak or relaxes at the wrong time.  If the valve or sphincter is open, this allows stomach acid to back up into your esophagus. This reflux can, in turn, cause heartburn along with other symptoms. When acid reflux and heart burn occurs at least twice a week, and the backwash of acid irritates the lining of your esophagus, doctors will classify this as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.

Here are some common symptoms of acid reflux:

·         Chest pain

·         Regurgitation

·         Choking

·         Hoarseness

·         Sore throat

·         Cough

·         Trouble swallowing

Identifying that you have acid reflux can be difficult, as many of the symptoms are not obvious and can easily be mistaken for something else, like a heart attack or common cold. If left untreated, acid reflux can cause esophagitis, a painful irritation of the esophagus that can lead to bleeding, ulcers and scarring in the esophagus.  Chronic acid reflux has also been linked to Barrett's esophagus, characterized by an abnormal change in the cells that line the esophagus, which is a precursor to cancer.

If you have acid reflux, simple lifestyle changes, like losing excess weight, eating smaller meals, and avoiding foods or drinks that seem to trigger heartburn can help. 

Foods to avoid:

·         Spicy foods

·         Tomatoes and tomato sauce

·         Garlic

·         Citrus fruit

·         Onion

·         Peppermint

·         Chocolate

·         Fried foods

·         Fatty/greasy foods

·         Salt

Drinks to avoid:

·         Coffee

·         Alcohol

·         Soda

·         Citrus fruit juices

Not everyone’s reflux is triggered by the same foods or drinks.  If the items listed above don’t seem to get your acid churning, keep a food journal and note the meals that brought on reflux symptoms.  Once you have identified the food that is bringing on acid reflux, you can try to avoid it. If you frequently suffer from acid reflux at night, you may find relief is as simple as avoiding big meals before bed and raising the head of your bed.  Additionally, if you are a smoker, you may want to consider quitting. Smoking can weaken the valve in your throat, leading to acid reflux and heartburn.