The condition wherein the stomach contents move back into the food pipe or esophagus is known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It can result in uncomfortable and painful symptoms. In some cases, this condition can be resolved with a few diet and lifestyle changes. Avoiding a few trigger foods such as those given below can help you prevent a flare-up of GERD symptoms.

1. Citrus fruits
Fruits such as grapefruit, oranges, and lemons are highly acidic. This acid causes the esophagus sphincter to relax, thus causing heartburn. Vegetables such as tomatoes that are also high in acid can trigger or worsen the symptoms of GERD. Therefore, it might be beneficial to avoid tomatoes and tomato-based items such as ketchup, marinara sauce, and tomato soup.

2. Fried foods
French fries, fried chicken, and onion rings are also among the worst foods that can trigger or worsen the symptoms of GERD. These foods are not only difficult to digest but excessive consumption can result in weight gain or obesity. Increased fat in the abdominal region can make you more prone to heartburn. Therefore, instead of frying, choose to cook your food on the grill or in the oven instead.

3. Caffeinated and carbonated beverages
Tea, coffee, and other beverages that contain caffeine can aggravate the symptoms of GERD. Opt for tea without caffeine to get relief from heartburn and acid reflux. Similarly, the gas in carbonated beverages causes the stomach to expand exerting more pressure on the surrounding muscles. This can result in pain, bloating, and heartburn. Choose plain water over these kinds of beverages.

4. Dairy products
One of the most common triggers of GERD are products made from cow’s milk. Hence, avoiding yogurt, cheese, and ice cream might be beneficial for you. Choose low or non-fat dairy products to avoid heartburn. You can also opt for dairy alternatives such as soy, almond, or coconut milk.

5. Spicy foods
Spicy foods such as salsa and curry contain a compound known as capsaicin, which slows digestion and increases the risk of GERD. They also irritate the esophagus, making the symptoms of heartburn worse. Limiting or restricting the consumption of spicy foods could provide you relief from heartburn and other GERD symptoms.

6. Alcohol
Alcohol affects your whole body including your digestive system. It can inflame and irritate the stomach and affect the proper functioning of the esophageal sphincter. This can trigger heartburn. If you suffer from GERD or regular heartburn then limiting your alcohol consumption to one drink and avoiding drinking before going to bed could prevent acid reflux.