Health & Wellness

The Worst Foods for Acid Reflux

Eliminate these foods from your diet to prevent acid reflux and stop dreading your next meal.

fried foods

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Jill Waldbieser,   

Mar 12, 2020 • 3 min read

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Food is one of the greatest pleasures in life, but if you find yourself chewing in fear of the fiery, burning feeling of acid reflux that arrives once your meal is over, you’re not alone. One in five Americans deal with acid reflux more than twice a week, which is classified as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a painful and severe type of reflux that can increase the risk of more serious conditions like esophageal cancer.

There are two major risk factors for acid reflux: hanging on to extra body weight and diet, which means that what you eat (and how much of it) can cause symptoms. “Diet is not always the main or only cause, but it has been found that people with acid reflux tend to be triggered by the same types of food and beverages,” says Niket Sonpal, MD, a Manhattan-based gastroenterologist and adjunct assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Learn which foods to steer clear of if you deal with acid reflux, as well as some surprising triggers that could be bothering you without even knowing it. Find out which foods can help your acid reflux here.

Acidic Fruits and Vegetables

We all need more produce on our plates, but if you suffer from acid reflux fruits and veggies with a high acidity level will present a problem. When in doubt, pile on the greens and skip these foods:

  • Oranges

  • Grapefruit

  • Lemon

  • Lime

  • Pineapple

  • Tomato sauce (including any foods that use it like pizza, chili, etc.)

Spicy Foods

These spices in particular can aggravate your acid reflux, regardless of whether or not you think a dish tastes spicy or hot:

  • Garlic

  • Onion

  • Chili powder

  • Black pepper

  • Crushed red pepper

  • Tabasco sauce

Fried Foods

“Fatty [fried] foods relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which makes it easier for acid to seep back up and cause a burning sensation,” says Dr. Sonpal. Steer clear of comfort food staples like:

  • Fried chicken

  • Chicken wings

  • Chips

  • Mozzarella sticks

Surprising Acid Reflux Triggers

In addition to the common culprits above, there are some less obvious items that may be exacerbating your heartburn. Not all of the below will affect everyone but take note if you experience acid reflux after eating or drinking one of these so you can add them to your trigger list.

It can be impossible (not to mention unenjoyable) to avoid all of these foods all the time. Luckily, with the help of medication like omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), or pantoprazole sodium (Protonix) you can manage acid reflux without completely depriving yourself. Check Blink Health to see if you can get your acid reflux medication for less and opt for free shipping to your house to skip the trip to the pharmacy.

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This article is not medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your physician or dial 911.

Blink Health is not insurance. The discount prescription drug provider is Blink Health Administration, LLC, 1407 Breadway, Suite 2100, New York, NY 10018, (844) 366–2211,

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