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Identifying Foods that Trigger Your Heartburn

Identifying Foods that Trigger Your HeartburnEach person who suffers from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) has specific trigger foods that are more likely to cause acid reflux and heartburn. By finding your own trigger foods, you can make it easier to avoid GERD symptoms at every meal and remain free of heartburn.
To identify the foods that trigger your symptoms, it is best to start examining foods that trigger heartburn in many people, and then consider the foods that may affect you personally.

Common Triggers

Though each person with GERD is different, there are some foods that cause acid reflux and heartburn in a wide range of people. The most common trigger foods are:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeinated drinks like coffee
  • Carbonated drinks like soda
  • Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits and any products made from them
  • Tomatoes and products made from tomatoes
  • Peppers and other spicy foods
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Chocolate
  • High-fat foods

For many people who are trying to minimize GERD symptoms, these are the first foods to eliminate. Though not all of these foods will necessarily cause you discomfort, cutting all of them out initially is generally a good step in preventing acid reflux and heartburn.

Personal Triggers

Beyond the common triggers above, there may be foods that you find yourself consistently unable to tolerate. There is no particular safe diet for those who suffer from GERD, and determining what you should and should not eat comes down to carefully trying different foods and tracking your symptoms as they arise.
You can begin finding your personal triggers by:

  • Writing down what you eat. Recording your eating habits and symptoms in a journal will help you connect the foods you eat to the symptoms you experience. Be detailed and consistent when tracking your eating habits and remember to consider triggers beyond the common culprits above.
  • Using careful trial and error. After you’ve eliminated all common food triggers from your diet, you can carefully reintroduce them to your diet to see if they cause symptoms. Try these foods one by one in small quantities to see which ones affect you the most and record your findings in your journal. If you find yourself experiencing symptoms after eating one of these foods, remember that taking over-the-counter antacids can help you feel better.

By keeping a list of your personal food triggers with you and avoiding them whenever possible, you can make it easier to prevent acid reflux and heartburn any time you eat.


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