Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows into your esophagus after you've eaten. This causes a burning sensation in your chest. Frequent acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, can cause a dry cough, hoarseness, nausea and difficulty swallowing. Children with GERD often experience hoarseness and other throat problems instead of heartburn, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. A healthy diet limited in common reflux triggers may help you manage your symptoms.
Acidic Fruits and Vegetables
Contrary to what many people believe, acidic foods -- those with a 6.9 or less -- don't cause acid reflux. Gastric juices have a pH of 2.0, which is much lower than most of the acidic foods that you may eat. If you have GERD, your doctor may have advised you to avoid acidic foods because your esophagus doesn't have the protective lining that your stomach has, according to Columbia University Health Services. The acids in foods with a low pH could trigger a burning sensation in your esophagus.
Fatty foods slow digestion and delay the emptying of food from your stomach, according to "Doctor Talk -- Made Easy" by Tammy J. Zimmerman. This increases pressure in your stomach and on the lower part of your esophagus, increasing the likelihood of acid reflux. Particularly fatty foods include red, fried and processed meats, high-fat milk, cheese and ice cream and fried foods, such as doughnuts, potato chips and french fries. Fatty meats and dairy products are also high in saturated fat, which has been linked to high cholesterol, increased inflammation and heart disease.
Spicy foods cause or worsen acid reflux and hoarseness in some people. If they seem to exacerbate your condition, choose mild foods and seasonings. Particularly spicy foods include salsa, miso paste, chili, hot peppers, Asian stir-fries and curries, Mexican dishes and sweet spices, such as spearmint and peppermint.
Coffee, Caffeine and Alcohol
Alcohol and caffeine, including both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, may contribute to GERD symptoms, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Common sources of caffeine include not only coffee, but also energy drinks, soft drinks, black tea, chocolate and coffee-flavored ice cream.
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Heartburn, Gastroesophageal Reflux and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
- Columbia University Health Services: Which Foods are Acidic?
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
- "Doctor Talk -- Made Easy"; Tammy J. Zimmerman; 2010