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Dr. DIY: Top Foods that May Trigger Heartburn

If you find yourself with heartburn more frequently these days, the first thing you want to check is diet. Your food choices may be the culprit of that burning pain in your chest or the sour taste in your mouth. Making a few basic changes to what you eat and drink is a natural and drug-free way to calm the burn and free yourself from that pain.

1) Citrus Fruit

“Citrus” is essentially just another word for “acidic,” so it shouldn’t surprise you that fruits like oranges, tangerines and lemons make the list of top foods to avoid. If you just can’t walk away from your favorite healthy dessert or snack, then at least try to avoid eating them on an empty stomach.

2) Tomatoes

Tomatoes are just citrus fruit disguised as a vegetable. If you’re prone to heartburn, try to avoid recipes that call for tomato sauce or marinara. You might want to skip the ketchup on your French fries, too. All things tomato can fire up your belly because, like their cousin the orange, tomatoes are acidic and likely to lead to heartburn.

3) Garlic

Garlic is a part-time offender — it might not cause a flare up every time. In fact, it might not bother some people at all. Your best bet is to keep track of what you eat; so when heartburn comes knocking, you can check to see if you’ve had a garlicky dish. It is not clear why garlic bothers some and not others. If you are a big fan of garlic, keep an eye on it as a potential trigger.

4) Peppermint

If you enjoy an after dinner mint or love to add a touch of peppermint to your tea or hot chocolate, that may also be the cause of heartburn. Peppermint tends to relax the opening at the top of the stomach, which then allows acid to push up into the esophagus.

5) Anything Caffeine

Coffee often takes the blame for morning heartburn, but the real offender is caffeine. It is found in everything from iced tea to chocolate. Caffeine tends to aggravate already hyper acidic stomachs, so if you’re prone to acid reflux or diagnosed with GERD, then it will likely bother you. One possible solution is to just drink a bit less – try a small cup of coffee instead of supersizing it every morning, or move to teas that are lower in caffeine content.

To minimize heartburn, it’s important to avoid other types of caffeine drinks the rest of the day, too — like soda. Soft drinks can be a double whammy if they contain both caffeine and carbonation – both potential heartburn triggers.

To feel your best, you may find you need to leave a few foods you love behind, but it will be well worth it. If you just can’t part ways, then cut back on what is triggering your heartburn and take precautions. You can also lose weight to take some pressure off your stomach, wear loose fitting clothes, and be sure not to lie down after you eat. Your stomach will thank you!