Which foods cause heartburn?

Marisa Moore
Nutrition & Dietetics

Heartburn can be triggered by many factors but food is a major contributor. Here are some of the most common food triggers:

  • Spicy foods
  • Fatty foods
  • Highly acidic foods like citrus juice and tomato sauce
  • Onions
  • Mint
  • Chocolate
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Alcohol
Different foods can cause heartburn for different people. But, in general, acidic foods such as tomatoes, oranges and spicy foods can cause heartburn. Other foods such as caffeine, alcohol, and even peppermint or chocolate can relax the valve at the bottom of the esophagus and result in reflux and heartburn. We, thus, recommend to patients with reflux that they avoid these foods. Tobacco can also relax the valve and should be avoided.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Mealtimes are a battleground for sufferers of heartburn who must constantly analyze the fire-provoking potential of foods. Acidic foods can be irritating to the sensitive lining of the esophagus and some can lower sphincter pressure. Common culprits are citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, onions, carbonated beverages, spicy foods, fatty or fried foods, coffee, tea, caffeinated beverages, chocolate and mint. Some people have proposed that Himalayan salt reduces acid.
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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.