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Foods causing Acid Reflux You Should Avoid

Foods causing Acid Reflux You Should Avoid

Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines, including diagnosis, advice, and treatment.

Table of Content

  • Introduction
  • Foods to Avoid for Acid Reflux
  • Alternative Dietary Options
  • Conclusion


Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a condition characterized by the regurgitation of stomach acid into the esophagus, causing discomfort and sometimes pain. Dietary choices play a significant role in managing acid reflux symptoms, with certain foods notorious for triggering or exacerbating acid reflux episodes. Understanding which foods to avoid and exploring alternative dietary options can greatly alleviate symptoms and improve overall quality of life for those affected by acid reflux.

Foods to Avoid for Acid Reflux

  • Citrus Fruits: Oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and other citrus fruits are highly acidic and can irritate the esophagus, exacerbating acid reflux symptoms.
  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes and tomato-based products like sauces and ketchup are acidic and can trigger heartburn and reflux in susceptible individuals.
  • Spicy Foods: Spices like chili powder, black pepper, and hot peppers can relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), allowing stomach acid to reflux into the esophagus.
  • High-Fat Foods: Fried foods, fatty meats, and full-fat dairy products can slow digestion and increase pressure on the LES, leading to reflux.
  • Chocolate: Chocolate contains methylxanthines, which can relax the LES and promote reflux. Additionally, it may stimulate the production of stomach acid.
  • Mint: While mint may seem soothing, it can relax the LES and worsen symptoms of acid reflux. This includes peppermint and spearmint.
  • Carbonated Beverages: Carbonated drinks like soda and sparkling water can distend the stomach, increasing pressure on the LES and causing reflux.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol relaxes the LES and may increase stomach acid production, making it a common trigger for acid reflux.
  • Onions and Garlic: These aromatic vegetables can relax the LES and cause irritation to the esophagus, leading to reflux symptoms.
  • Caffeinated Beverages: Coffee, tea, and some sodas contain caffeine, which can relax the LES and stimulate stomach acid production, contributing to acid reflux.

Alternative Dietary Options

Non-Citrus Fruits:

  • Non-citrus fruits are excellent alternatives for individuals looking to avoid the acidity of citrus fruits.
  • Bananas, apples, pears, and melons are low in acidity and less likely to trigger reflux symptoms.
  • These fruits are also rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, making them nutritious choices for a balanced diet.


  • Most vegetables are well-tolerated and can be included in an acid reflux-friendly diet.
  • Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and lettuce are particularly beneficial as they are low in acid and high in fiber.
  • Other vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, and broccoli are also excellent options for adding variety and nutrition to meals without exacerbating reflux symptoms.
  • It's essential to avoid onions and garlic if they are known triggers for acid reflux in some individuals.

Lean Proteins:

  • Lean proteins are an essential component of a healthy diet and can be included in an acid reflux-friendly meal plan.
  • Skinless poultry, such as chicken and turkey, is a lean source of protein that is less likely to trigger reflux symptoms compared to fatty cuts of meat.
  • Fish, particularly varieties high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and trout, are also excellent choices for individuals with acid reflux.

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  • Plant-based proteins such as beans, lentils, and tofu provide protein without the high fat content of some animal-based proteins, making them suitable alternatives for those looking to reduce their intake of fatty foods.

Whole Grains:

  • Whole grains are rich in fiber and can help promote digestive health while reducing the risk of acid reflux.
  • Oats, brown rice, quinoa, barley, and whole wheat products are all excellent sources of complex carbohydrates and fiber that can be included in an acid reflux-friendly diet.
  • These whole grains are less likely to trigger reflux symptoms compared to refined grains like white bread and white rice, which can be more irritating to the digestive system.

Low-Fat Dairy:

  • Low-fat or fat-free dairy products can provide essential nutrients like calcium and vitamin D without exacerbating acid reflux symptoms.
  • Skim milk, yogurt, and cheese made from low-fat or fat-free milk are suitable options for individuals with acid reflux.
  • It's important to choose dairy products that are low in fat to minimize the risk of triggering reflux episodes.

Herbal Teas:

  • Herbal teas can be soothing to the digestive tract and may help alleviate symptoms of acid reflux.
  • Chamomile tea is known for its calming properties and can help reduce inflammation in the esophagus.
  • Ginger tea has been used for centuries to aid digestion and may help alleviate nausea and discomfort associated with acid reflux.
  • Licorice tea, made from the root of the licorice plant, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and may help soothe the esophagus.


  • Staying hydrated with water is essential for overall health and can help dilute stomach acid, reducing the risk of reflux episodes.
  • Drinking water between meals can also help promote digestion and prevent excessive stomach distension, which can contribute to reflux.
  • While flavored waters and sports drinks may be tempting, it's best to opt for plain water to avoid introducing unnecessary additives or sugars that may exacerbate reflux symptoms.


Managing acid reflux involves making conscious dietary choices to minimize symptoms and improve overall well-being. By avoiding trigger foods like citrus fruits, tomatoes, spicy foods, and high-fat items, individuals can reduce the frequency and severity of reflux episodes. Instead, incorporating alternative options such as non-citrus fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, and herbal teas can provide relief while maintaining a nutritious diet. Consulting with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian can offer personalized guidance and support in managing acid reflux through dietary modifications. With the right approach, individuals can enjoy a diverse and satisfying diet while effectively managing their acid reflux symptoms.

References and Resources