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How does diet contribute to acid reflux?

Lawrence S. Friedman, MD
Gastroenterology
Diet can contribute to lower esophageal sphincter (LES) dysfunction and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) -- acid reflux. For example, alcohol can loosen the LES (and irritate the esophageal lining), as can coffee and other caffeine-containing products. Coffee, tea, cocoa, and cola drinks are all powerful stimulants of gastric acid production. Mints and chocolate, often served to cap off a meal to aid in digestion, can actually make things worse. Both relax the LES and can induce heartburn, as can fried and fatty foods. Some people say that onions and garlic give them heartburn. Others have trouble with citrus fruits or tomato products, which are irritating to the esophageal lining. High-fat foods can also trigger symptoms. If you notice that a particular food leads to episodes of heartburn, by all means, stay away from it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.