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Heartburn/GERD Health Center

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Top 10 Heartburn Foods

From coffee to grapefruit -- helpful tips for avoiding those enticing foods that may just trigger your heartburn.

Heartburn and Caffeine

Coffee, soda, tea, iced tea, and any other food or beverages that contain caffeine are big offenders. But java junkies don't have to give up their Joe forever, Chutkan tells WebMD. "It's not 'no coffee ever' if you have heartburn. It's about cutting down and paying attention to portion sizes. A Starbucks tall," she explains, "which is their version of a small, is like three cups of coffee. Some people tell me they drink two cups of coffee a day and that they get it at Starbucks. That's like six cups a day."

If you have heartburn, you can likely consume a 3- or 4-ounce cup of coffee each morning with no problem. But if you guzzle coffee all day long, then, yes, heartburn is a consequence.

Heartburn and Chocolate

Sure, it can be loaded with caffeine, but chocolate can also be a heartburn food in and of itself. "Pack up all of your chocolate and give it to your gastroenterologist for safekeeping if you have heartburn," Chutkan says. Chocolate relaxes the sphincter, allowing stomach acids to flow back into the esophagus, she says.

Heartburn and Carbonated Beverages

"Carbonated beverages cause gastric distension," Mausner says. And if your stomach is distended, this increases pressure on the esophageal sphincter, promoting reflux." He tells WebMD that people with heartburn may be wise to steer clear of pop and other carbonated beverages.

Heartburn Foods: Find Your Triggers

Taub-Dix's advice is to use the above list as a guide to help you figure out your heartburn foods and heartburn trigger situations. And remember, she cautions, even if your favorites are not on this list, you don't necessarily have a free pass. "Too much of any food can trigger heartburn," she says. It's not just what you eat; it's how much you eat and when you eat it. "Consuming a large meal right before you lie down," she says, "will likely cause heartburn even if it doesn't include any of these heartburn foods."

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Reviewed on December 29, 2010

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