Skip to content

Heartburn/GERD Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Summer Foods: Don't Feel the Heartburn

Just because it's hot outside doesn't mean you have to feel the heat of heartburn when enjoying foods of the season.
By
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic-Feature

Ever chow down at a family picnic, come home, shower, lie down, and feel a burning pain in your chest and acid crawling up your throat like a red-hot snake? These are symptoms of the ever-popular heartburn!

Rodger A. Liddle, MD, professor of medicine and gastroenterologist at Duke University, tells WebMD that many favorite summer foods -- such as tomatoes, barbeque, cocktails or beer, and citrus -- can make acid reflux worse, although they don't "cause" this much-dreaded condition.

Recommended Related to Heartburn/GERD

Heartburn Symptoms: A Pharmacist's Guide to Treating Heartburn

If you're one of the 40 million Americans who have heartburn symptoms at least once a week -- or even among the 60 million more who have heartburn symptoms at least once a month -- you're probably always looking for new ways to relieve that acid reflux. Even if your heartburn symptoms aren't severe and frequent enough to require prescription medication, you can still get a lot of help in managing your acid reflux from your local pharmacist. Pharmacists are savvy about not only prescription heartburn...

Read the Heartburn Symptoms: A Pharmacist's Guide to Treating Heartburn article > >

More than 50 million adults experience heartburn more than two days a week. Half of those get it daily.

Although it has become the staple of commercials and sitcoms, heartburn can limit activities and productivity. And to those lying there in the dark or burping through a long afternoon meeting, heartburn is far from a joking matter. In its most severe forms it can eat away at the esophagus, which can lead to esophageal cancer.

Better to recognize heartburn and avoid or treat it.

Causes of Heartburn

To digest food, the stomach is flooded with acid. Between the stomach and the esophagus is a sphincter muscle that lets the food get to the stomach but then closes to keep the stomach acid from flowing back up the throat. If this muscle becomes loose or doesn't work properly, the stomach contents can backflow into the esophagus, making it burn.

Or you can eat foods that are acidic themselves that can irritate tiny areas of irritation you already have on the walls of your esophagus.

The body tries to counter this not only with the sphincter, explains Liddle, but with saliva, which is alkaline. But sometimes these mechanisms are overcome by circumstance. Some factors that make heartburn more likely:

Summer Foods That Trigger Heartburn

Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, author of Tell Me What to Eat If I Have Acid Reflux and of a new DVD titled The Heartburn-Friendly Kitchen, tells WebMD that trigger foods vary from person to person.

"People tend to know," Liddle says. "They will say, 'I get heartburn every time I eat pizza.'"

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

Woman eating pizza
How it starts, and how to stop it.
man with indigestion
Get lifestyle and diet tips.
 
woman shopping for heartburn relief
Medication options.
man with heartburn
Symptoms of both.
 
digestive health
Slideshow
Heartburn or Heart Attack
Article
 
heartburn
Article
Top 10 Heartburn Foods
Video
 
Is it Heartburn or Gerd
Video
digestive myths
Slideshow
 
Extreme Eats
Slideshow
graphic of esophageal area
Article