A Quick Guide to Foods that Cause Heartburn

If you’re a heartburn sufferer, you’ll find that staying away from foods which cause heartburn will be very beneficial to your health and well-being. When you discover which foods trigger heartburn, you’ll be able to create an elimination diet which makes it simpler to avoid the burning pain of heartburn, each and every day and night.

In order to help you discover which foods are more likely to trigger attacks, we’ve created a detailed guide. Once you discover which foods (and drinks!) you need to stay away from, you’ll be able to exert more control over your own health. While it is possible to take heartburn medication when attacks begin, it’s often better to consider a holistic approach, which means preventing heartburn in the first place.

While everyone is bound to indulge in trigger foods now and then, most people who want to avoid heartburn will find it simple to eschew the foods and beverages on our list (well, most of the time, at least!). After all, there are substitutes for most foods and drinks and these may be used in order to give the same taste effect and texture, without the downside of heartburn.

Top Foods That Cause Heartburn

One of the most notorious triggers for heartburn is tomatoes. If you’re a tomato fan, you’ll find that choosing other veggies instead, is one of the keys to unlocking better health. Many of us consume Italian red sauces and add tomatoes to a range of other dishes, such as fresh salads, salsas and bruschetta toppings. By finding substitutions for tomatoes, you may just reduce the frequency of heartburn attacks.

Unfortunately, tomatoes are very high in acid content and this is why they provoke acid seepage from the stomach into the esophagus. When this seepage occurs, heartburn is sure to follow. By limiting the amount of acid that you take in, you’ll avoid acid seepage, or at least, reduce the risk of it. So, starting a tomato-free elimination diet and then tracking your results may be one of the easiest and most effective ways to control heartburn. 

Instead of tomato sauce, consider adding olive oil and low-fat cheese to pasta dishes, along with chopped veggies which don’t provoke heartburn health issues. To be on the safe side, also consider excluding onions and garlic from your pasta sauces – onions and garlic are also known as trigger foods for heartburn.

While tomatoes, onions and garlic are primarily perceived as very healthy choices – and they do offer health benefits, due to their vitamin content, antioxidants and antimicrobial properties (in particular, onion and garlic are potent germ-killers!), they do trigger heartburn. So, use them judiciously if you use them at all. Think about what they may do to your body before you indulge.

If you do eliminate these foods and you stop having heartburn attacks as a result, it is safe to say that they were causing the problem. In particular, Italian dishes which feature this trio of heartburn triggers may be dishes to stay away from, although they are admittedly delicious and tempting.

More Trigger Foods to Avoid

Knowing what foods cause heartburn will give you the power to make positive changes which may just result in fewer incidences of heartburn. So, let’s talk about more trigger foods which are known to cause problems in many people. More examples of foods that give you heartburn include greasy foods.

Greasy foods run the gamut, from fast-food cheeseburgers to nachos with high-fat cheese topping to potato chips to deep-fried anything!

If you do eat fast food often, you should be aware that it’s really hard on your body. There are exceptions, but most fast-food fare does fall into the greasy category. In addition, some greasy foods are very bad for your health, as they contain trans fats, cholesterol and other ingredients which are not great for the heart. So, avoiding greasy foods in order to control heartburn may offer you a range of health benefits.

Red meat is also a trigger for heartburn due to its high fat content. The truth is that many doctors stay away from red meat because it’s bad for the heart – and it also triggers heartburn. So, you may benefit from removing red meat from your diet. If you do eat red meat, look for quality cuts of beef which are lower in fat and trim off excess fat before you begin cooking. Another strategy is to treat beef like a weekly treat, instead of a daily menu ingredient.

High-fat foods of all types are not smart choices for heartburn sufferers. This includes rich ice creams made from full-fat dairy products, desserts and so much more. You may find information about fat content of foods online. By checking fat grams and comparing different ingredients and products, you may be able to find lower-fat choices which support a heartburn-free lifestyle. 

Spicy Foods are Heartburn Triggers

Lastly, consider giving spicier foods a pass. While spicy dishes may taste glorious, the chili peppers and other ingredients in these zesty creations often provoke painful heartburn problems. While it may not be possible to avoid spicy foods entirely, you will find that most restaurants are happy to accommodate requests for less-spicy dishes. In other words, chefs will lower the heat level in order to make you happy. At home, avoid hot sauce, spicy salsa (which also contains the trigger food, tomatoes) and chili powders.

Obviously, foods which contain a host of triggers are more likely to provoke the burning sensation of heartburn. For example, if you get a fast-food taco which is loaded with greasy ground beef, high-fat cheese, chopped onions, tomato-rich salsa and hot sauce, you are quite likely to get heartburn as a result! In addition, if you have a lot of tacos and overload your stomach, you increase the risk of heartburn. So, thinking about what you eat really does have value. Making the right choices will benefit your health.

When you indulge in trigger foods, and you sometimes will, it’s important to know how to treat heartburn. With this in mind, let’s wrap up this guide to heartburn trigger foods by listing some easy ways to stop attacks.

Quick Fixes for Occasional Heartburn Attacks

In the event that you do succumb to temptation and get a heartburn attack as a result, you should be aware that eating foods to avoid heartburn later on will prevent future discomfort (at least, in most cases).

When you don’t eat foods to avoid heartburn, it’s time to treat your symptoms with gentle home remedies. A single teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water (stir before drinking and add a drop of lemon juice) should do the trick. You may also want to try drinking a glass of plain water as soon as your symptoms begin. Both of these tricks offer advantages and both are inexpensive and easy. You probably already have baking soda in your kitchen and you always have water.

Chewing gum is also a trusted home remedy for heartburn. Choose a formula which contains bicarbonate in order to get faster results. The principle behind chewing gum is that, by doing so, you will introduce more saliva into your system. Saliva has natural, acid-neutralizing properties.

When it comes to buying medication for heartburn relief, you should have tons of choices, such as over-the-counter antacids – Tums are one example. Just keep a roll of Tums on hand for times when you don’t eat a trigger-free diet and then chew one or two of the tablets when problems arise. For most people who don’t experience chronic and severe heartburn, conventional antacids are enough to relieve pain and, as a bonus, they are known to work very rapidly.

If you get heartburn a lot, or suffer from very severe and debilitating heartburn, you should know that seeing your doctor is the best way to get the medical attention that you need. It’s possible that your symptoms are being caused by another health issue. Sometimes, the symptoms of heartburn are actually related to other types of health problems. Only a licensed physician will know why your symptoms are occurring.

In addition, a doctor may be able to recommend powerful medications which are available by prescription only. By taking one of these medications, such as an H2 blocker or Proton Pump Inhibitor, you’ll be able to experience significant relief. Again, only a doctor with the right training and expertise will be able to pinpoint and then prescribe the right medication. So, there is great value in seeing a doctor when heartburn becomes a negative aspect of your life.

Help is out there. By sticking to the right diet, using home remedies and testing out over-the-counter and prescription medications, you’ll be able to battle heartburn and win. While it may take some time to put together the ideal treatment plan, you’ll find that our tips help you to get started.

Once you’ve tried our suggestions, you may be able to free yourself from the pain and embarrassment of heartburn and prevent this annoying affliction from cramping your style.