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8 Types of Food You Can't Eat With Acid Reflux

A foodie and a health nut—I love learning and writing about tips to keep my family and others healthy.

9 foods to avoid if you're experiencing acid reflux

9 foods to avoid if you're experiencing acid reflux

What Is Acid Reflux?

Acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which acid in the stomach rises up into the esophagus. Acid reflux can cause heartburn and other symptoms. It generally occurs because the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes to allow painful stomach acids to flow into the esophagus. In the article below, I will identify eight types of food to avoid if you suffer from this condition.

Avoid fried foods.

Avoid fried foods.

8 Foods to Avoid

Below are eight types of foods to avoid if you have acid reflux. Remember that these foods do not affect everyone the same way. The things that bother someone else might not necessarily bother you, and vice versa.

1. Acidic Foods

Avoid acidic foods such as oranges, lemons, orange juice, lemonade, cranberries, and grapefruits. Also, juices or beverages made with these fruits should be avoided. Vinegar is also highly acidic and is found in salad dressings and other dishes. Apple cider vinegar is a good substitute.

2. Spicy Foods

Spicy foods can aggravate the stomach and weaken the lower esophageal sphincter. According to an article on, "A South Korean study found that hot, spicy stews, noodles and fried foods were regular heartburn offenders. The researchers point out that eating too quickly and continuing to eat after feeling full also exacerbates symptoms."

Some recommend avoiding other spices such as chili powder, black pepper, mustard powder, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and mustard. Although, the aforementioned article does suggest that more frequent consumption of spicy foods will, in the long run, reduce the severity of your symptoms.

3. Tomato-Based Foods

Foods such as tomatoes, pasta sauce, tomato soup, and tomato juice have high acid content, meaning they'll likely cause a flare-up.

4. High-Fat Foods

Cut back on fatty foods like salami, burgers, pizza, and steaks. These foods tend to slow down digestion and remain in the stomach for longer periods of time.

5. Fried Foods

Fried foods and fatty foods like french fries, doughnuts, processed foods, and margarine will provoke acid reflux. Instead of frying, you can bake, sauté, or boil your food.

6. Dairy Foods

Dairy foods may increase digestive enzymes causing an overproduction of stomach acid. Avoid drinking milk before sleep and be wary of whole milk, cheese, and milkshakes. Instead, use skim milk and low-fat dairy products.

7. Caffeinated Beverages

Some people claim that beverages such as coffee, tea, alcohol, and soft drinks make their acid reflux worse. However, MedicalNewsToday claims that the medical research on this topic is fairly limited.

8. Oils

Avoid hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils. Use healthy oils such as canola oil and olive oil as an alternative.

Four types of food to avoid

Four types of food to avoid

Symptoms of Acid Reflux

  • Heartburn
  • Regurgitation
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chest pain
  • Feeling of fullness after a meal
  • Nausea after eating
  • Pain and discomfort in the upper abdomen
  • Bloating
  • Belching

Tips to Reduce Acid Reflux

  • Eat small, frequent meals
  • Avoid lying down for 3 hours after a meal
  • Wear loose-fitting clothes
  • Chew gum that isn't spearmint or peppermint flavored
  • Try taking antacids to relieve symptoms

Talk to Your Doctor

The best way to receive advice about managing your acid reflux is to discuss your symptoms with your physician. In the mean time, remember to keep a nutrition log and aim to eat healthier, more natural foods.

Sources and Further Reading

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Julius on June 14, 2019:

I guess the only thing left too eat is my grass clipping

Linda on January 13, 2016:

Canola oil is not a healthy oil, it is usually a GMO product. I don't know why you are even using it. Makes the above message about Acid Reflux useless.

carole on December 16, 2015:

Had gallbladder taken out in November this year 2015 but have suffered from burning/itching where they cut me through just below rib cage in the middle and through the belly button area. The other problem is continuing sore and painfulness in the right side across where they cut it has formed a scab in healing but under the skin it feels very sore and painful every day even though it is a month since keyhole surgery. Not very inpressed with the operation so far only hope it does get better and to be free from pain it is bad enough having to watch what you eat and drink all the time without added pressure of soreness pain itching and burning. My name is Carole.

Crock of crap on September 19, 2014:

Cinnamon and honey (in hot water) soothe quite well.

Kat on August 01, 2014:

OMG the comments are hilarious. And true.

Josh on June 25, 2014:

I love how most of these types of articles always tell you what you cannot eat and never what you CAN eat!

Frank on April 18, 2014:

Yeah, there are literally no meals you could actually eat using this list. Nothing cruncy, or with oils, or dairy, or red meat, or fried, or high fat, or spicy, or acidic. So basically you can eat noodles...with no sauce lol

Anne on March 09, 2014:

Sooooo basically, you can't eat anything at all. Nice.

CJ on January 04, 2014:

There's nothing left after you eliminate that list!

Raj on May 15, 2012:

hi' Natasha, are u ok now, if u still have issues on acidity then do take Aloe vera. Here in india Aloe vera is everywhere and fresh middle bits are better than any juice in Western countries.

danesha on November 29, 2011:

@Natasha-I'be heard of babies having acid reflux, so I wouldn't be alarmed, but you should see your doctor so you can take the proper meds. Having a hernia can make it worse also.

Natasha on November 24, 2011:

i also have a hiatal hernea, will it get better??

Natasha on November 24, 2011:

well im suffereing from this, and im 19 years old and found out in 2010 about this problem, but i have had stomach issues since i can remember,but is this bad? since im only 19 and i think i have had this problem for years, but i have my meds which i only started taking very rescent, because of a family member getting read of them and i also didn't think it was this bad of a problem, will i be ok?? if i had cancer or any of that sort wouldn't i be in a lotttt worse pain??

reflux from USA on November 11, 2011:

Apple Cider Vinegar is the best remedy for acid reflux.

Scribe For Hire from Connecticut on September 03, 2010:

Thanks for the info.

Aloe Vera Juice is very soothing for esophagal problems. I find that by taking a 1/4 cup in the morning and a 1/4 cup before bed really helps when I have a flare up.