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Acid-Free Diet Foods to Avoid

author image Jessica Bruso
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.
Acid-Free Diet Foods to Avoid
Chocoholics beware -- this yummy treat can make acid reflux worse. Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images

If you want to limit acid reflux, changing your diet can go a long way, although you may still need medication if you have a more serious version of acid reflux called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Some foods can trigger an attack, while others are just uncomfortable to consume in the midst of attack. Talk with your doctor to determine the best treatment for your acid reflux.

Proven Triggers

The main triggers for acid reflux include chocolate, mint, alcohol, coffee and deep-fried foods. These foods relax the lower esophageal sphincter, which allows food to go back up from your stomach through your esophagus while slowing digestion. Some of these foods are also acidic, making them a potential double-whammy for people with GERD -- first relaxing the sphincter to allow food through and then causing more harm to the esophagus due to their acidity.

Fatty Foods

While different foods can cause reflux in different people, eating fatty foods like creamed foods, fast foods, whole milk, oils and fried foods can slow down digestion, keeping your stomach full longer so that you're more likely to experience an attack. This may be especially true if you eat large meals containing these foods, wear constricting clothing or exercise or lie down soon after eating.

Irritating Foods

Spicy and acidic foods won't necessarily cause an attack, but they can make it more painful as they irritate an already-damaged esophagus. This is why doctors sometimes recommend limiting hot peppers, spicy foods, citrus fruits, tomatoes, tea and caffeinated beverages. You don't necessarily need to avoid them all the time, but don't eat them during an attack, and don't eat them in large amounts at any given time.

Beneficial Dietary Changes

Eat more foods high in fiber to improve your digestion. Other good foods include ginger, couscous, celery, fennel, oatmeal, whole-grain bread, bananas, melons, salad, green beans, brown rice, cauliflower, parsley, skinless poultry and fish. Eating smaller meals more often and not eating after 8 p.m. may also help limit acid reflux.

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