You know it all too well. Heartburn. That fiery sensation
that grabs hold of your lower chest after you eat something you know you
shouldn't have. What often follows is that sour or bitter taste of acid reflux
in your throat and mouth that can last minutes (if you are lucky) or hours (if
you are not).
Yes, millions of us are familiar with the discomfort of heartburn, a
condition in which stomach acids back up into the esophagus. The good news is
that heartburn is largely avoidable if you steer clear of the top 10 heartburn
foods. It also helps to avoid certain classic heartburn-inviting
From coffee and liquor to tomatoes and grapefruit, experts tell WebMD that
certain foods are known heartburn triggers.
Here's what you need to know about the top 10 heartburn foods.
Oranges, grapefruits and orange juice are classic heartburn foods. "These
are very acidic," says Robynne Chutkan, MD. Chutkan is the founder of the
Digestive Center for Women in Chevy Chase, Md. and a gastroenterologist at
Georgetown Hospital in Washington, D.C. "As a result of being so acidic," she
says, "they are likely to cause heartburn, especially
when consumed on an otherwise empty stomach."
Heartburn and Tomatoes
While they might be chockfull of healthy nutrients like lycopene, Chutkan
tells WebMD that tomatoes are also highly acidic and likely to cause heartburn
in those who are prone to it.
The acid antidote may be a sour ball, according to Daniel Mausner, MD.
Mausner is the section head of gastroenterology at Mercy Medical Center in
Rockville Center, N.Y. "Things that promote saliva -- like sour balls -- are
good for acid reflux," he says, "because saliva neutralizes the acid that comes
up from your stomach."
Heartburn and Garlic and Onion
Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, says, "Some people with heartburn do not do well
with either garlic or onion." Taub-Dix, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic
Association, is a nutritionist in private practice in New York City and
Woodmere, N.Y. "It's all very individual," she says. For avoiding heartburn,
she offers the following suggestion: "Keep a food log to help you track the
foods that are your heartburn offenders, and try to develop a list of safe
foods." Foods like broiled chicken, baked sweet potatoes, toast, or cottage
cheese, she says, are on the safe side of the heartburn food list.
Heartburn and Spicy Foods
Pepper, Mexican food, chili, and any other food that is loaded with pepper
or other spices can trigger heartburn, says Deepa A. Vasudevan, MD. Vasudevan
is an assistant professor of family medicine at The University of Texas Medical
School at Houston. He tells WebMD that avoiding heartburn isn't necessarily a
matter of all or nothing. "If spicy food triggers your heartburn, avoid it.
Then slowly reintroduce milder versions of whatever you like."