9 Foods to Avoid with Acid Reflux

Acid reflux causes different symptoms for everyone, though some foods and drinks are more likely to trigger reflux symptoms than others. We’ve compiled a list of 10 foods that you may want to avoid to feel your best while living with this digestive health condition.

Coffee and beans with coffee plant in background.


Caffeinated beverages such as coffee, some teas, and soda will trigger acid reflux symptoms. They are best avoided altogether. Try jogging or yoga for your morning jolt instead.

raw broccoli on cutting board.


If your acid reflux is associated with gas and indigestion, foods like broccoli will add gas to your digestive system, triggering reflux symptoms.

Citrus fruits on blue wood table.

Citrus fruits

The acid present in citrus fruits will trigger reflux symptoms because they relax the lower esophageal sphincter. Citrus fruits also contain more acid than other fruits, which will add to most people's symptoms.

Cocktails on reflective black surface.


Beer, wine, and liquor can cause severe acid reflux symptoms in two ways. First, alcohol relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter muscles, allowing acid into the esophagus. Second, alcohol stimulates the production of stomach acid.

Hot chilies and salsa.

Spicy foods

Spicy foods (chili, curry, etc.) are among the most common causes of acid reflux symptoms in Americans. If you suffer from any kind of reflux, it is best to avoid the heat.

Assorted gourmet chocolates


Don't shoot the messenger, but chocolate (both milk and dark) is a known trigger of acid reflux symptoms. Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine that causes the esophageal sphincter muscles to relax, allowing acid to travel up the esophagus.

Tomatoes many varieties in basket.


Tomatoes and tomato-based foods contain high levels of acid and relax the lower esophageal sphincter muscles in the same way chocolate does. Avoid foods such as marinara sauce, ketchup, and tomato soup.

Very large meal.

Large meals

Eating a large meal, especially two or three hours before bedtime, can put extra pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter muscles, increasing the chance for that food to end up in the esophagus. It is best to stop eating before you actually feel full, as it takes time for the brain to register that the stomach is full.


High fat foods and beverages

When scientists look at how diet impacts acid reflux, the results can be conflicting. However, several research studies have shown that intake of high fat foods and beverages is linked to worsening GERD symptoms. Therefore, it might be best for you to avoid high fat foods (such as fried foods or foods with rich sauces) and high fat drinks (such as milkshakes or alcoholic beverages made with cream or liqueur).

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The HealthCentral Editorial Team

HealthCentral's team of editors based in New York City and Arlington, VA, collaborates with patient advocates, medical professionals, and health journalists worldwide to bring you medically vetted information and personal stories from people living with chronic conditions to help you navigate the best path forward with your health—no matter your starting point.