Foods That Cause Heartburn
As we are all individuals the foods that cause heartburn vary from individual to individual, but there are certain foods or types of foods which seem to trigger heartburn or acid reflux on a more frequent basis. These can be grouped into the following categories:
– foods with a high acid content
– foods with a high fat content
– spicy foods
– foods which relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES)
– carbonated drinks
High Acid Content
There are many foods and drinks which have a high acid content, some of which are obvious such as citrus fruits and others such as coffee and chocolate which are not. The high acidic content of the food is believed to cause excessive acid to be produced in the stomach as these foods stimulate the production of digestive enzymes.
High Fat Content
Foods with a high fat content are more difficult to digest, meaning that they stay in the stomach longer, increasing the probability of heartburn arising. The function of the LES is to prevent the contents of the stomach from refluxing back into the esophagus but, high fat foods can relax the LES thereby inhibiting its function.
The jury is out on whether spicy foods actually cause heartburn, but they may well aggravate a damaged or inflamed esophagus causing a burning sensation. Anyone who has ever cut up chillies and then accidentally rubbed their eyes will know the burning sensation that chillies can create.
Foods which Relax the LES
As stated above high fat foods tend to relax the LES. Caffeine in tea, coffee and other drinks can also have this effect as can eating chocolate. It is thought that it is the theobromine in chocolate which acts as the relaxant and, alcohol can also act in a similar way.
Carbonated drinks can also be highly acidic and contain caffeine, but the gases within the drink can also increase gastric pressure with the result that the LES fails.
When eating certain foods doesn’t always result in heartburn, there may be other factors that are causing it. For example, if a person eats fatty food at lunch time and has no problem, but when they eat the same food in the evening they always have heartburn, it might be that they are eating a larger meal in the evening or, that they are eating too close to going to bed. Their heartburn is therefore not necessarily attributable to the eating of a particular food.
Tracking down what is causing your heartburn can be a very complex problem to solve and this is where keeping a detailed journal can be extremely useful. As well as recording the foods that you eat and beverages that you drink you also need to include the timings of meals and the quantities of food and drink consumed. You might also need to think about the clothes you are wearing, as tight clothing can increase pressure on the LES.
It is the complexity of establishing the cause of their heartburn which often puts people off trying. If this is the case, but you still want to find a natural and holistic cure you may be interested in Heartburn No More – the best selling heartburn and acid reflux book on the Internet. If you would like to learn more about this “Acid Reflux Bible” please read our review here.