10 Pain-in-the-Gut Foods

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10 Pain-in-the-Gut Foods

By Melinda Hershey, Health Educator

If you're trying to keep heartburn at bay, there are certain foods you should avoid. Here are 10 of the biggest heartburn offenders to watch out for!

Fatty and Fried Foods

Cheese, french fries, steak and other fatty foods slow digestion and can cause added pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter (LES)--which makes heartburn symptoms worse. Cut back on your portions of rich foods to alleviate your symptoms.

Onions and Garlic

Onions and garlic are two of the most common heartburn triggers since they are found in so many types of cuisines. From restaurant meals to jarred and canned goods, it's important to check whether onions and garlic are used as a base if you're a heartburn sufferer.


Tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste are all highly acidic—so put down the pizza, salsa and pasta sauce! In fact, try to stay from sauces altogether, since many canned and bottled versions tend to have a high acid content for preservation reasons.

Carbonated Beverages

A combination of acid and carbonation makes soda and other bubbly drinks a no-no for those with frequent heartburn. Swap out your soda for fruit-infused water—you'll save yourself calories and indigestion!


Although peppermint is know for soothing an upset tummy, it actually stimulates acid production and can make heartburn worse. Forgo that after-dinner mint or chewing gum to stop heartburn in its tracks.

Spicy Foods

Spicy foods are a classic heartburn trigger. Try ordering milder versions of your fiery favorites, or learn to make your own using tamer substitutions.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit are high in acid, which can aggravate heartburn. If you can't go without your glass of orange juice in the morning, check your grocery for a ''low acid'' version. Additionally, try not to consume citrus fruits on an empty stomach.


Sad, but true--chocolate tends to loosen the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which encourages more acid to escape and cause heartburn. Ease up on the sweet stuff for sweeter relief.


Alcohol causes the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to relax, which can trigger heartburn. Alcohol can also lower inhibitions, causing you to indulge in other heartburn-inducing foods like cheesy pizza or deep-fried French fries.


Caffeine can be a big trigger for heartburn, so go easy on coffee, tea and caffeinated beverages (think cola). However, heartburn responses vary by individual, so cut back to what works for you. Maybe try having one cup of coffee per day instead of your usual three, and see how you feel from there.

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Member Comments on this Slideshow

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1/7/2017 10:41:35 PM

SKYDRAKE's SparkPage
I am being tested this week for a hiatal hernia. If you have acid reflux and difficulty swallowing at times, both are classic symptoms for the condition. All of these foods affect me.


12/6/2016 10:19:09 AM

And no where in here does it mention soy and soy by-products like soy proteins, etc, commonly used in restaurant or processed foods! Soy is a real pain in the lower gut for me!


7/16/2016 11:21:31 AM

SOLITARY65's SparkPage
Those are mostly what does it for me...sad to say.


5/14/2016 11:40:44 AM

Very true


6/18/2015 2:27:00 PM

GENESIS2012's SparkPage
Well, that's just about everything I like - LOL


5/24/2015 9:32:39 PM

Actually, I found that drinking a small glass of water with a tablespoon of lemon juice helps the acid. I drink it before eating in the morning. Lemon juice turns alkaline after drinking it.


1/1/2015 12:22:28 AM

CHRIS3874's SparkPage
I might be wrong but I thought the process of carbonation made water more acidic .


3/13/2014 4:56:29 PM

CGEIGER87's SparkPage
Peppermint also relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, which contributes to reflux of acid as well.


12/2/2013 10:23:20 PM

SAMMI-SAM's SparkPage
fart when I eat these foods-

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