People with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) and Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR) often report that certain foods aggravate their heartburn or reflux symptoms.

Frequency and severity varies from person to person but it’s often the same troublesome foods that are known to trigger heartburn or reflux.

Just by making a few tweaks to your diet, many reflux sufferers can successfully manage their symptoms. But keep in mind that what works for most people may not work for you.

1) Citrus Fruits such as orange, lemon, lime and grapefruit contain citric acid, which can be a trigger for reflux in some people.  Citrus fruits tend to be at the low end of the pH scale*, which means they are very acidic.

Why not try instead…
Like citrus fruits, melons (honey dew, cantaloupe and watermelon)  contain vitamin C, vitamin B6 and folate but have a PH of around 6 making it a less acidic fruit option.

2) Chocolate, particularly if it is high in fat, caffeine and sugar, has been known to cause reflux in some people. Some studies suggest chocolate can relax the muscle valve called the lower oesophageal sphincter, thus allowing gastric contents to be more easily released from the stomach.
Why not try instead…
Manuka honey has been extolled by some people for helping with disorders of the digestive system.

3 Caffeine drinks including coffee and tea can cause some people heartburn and stomach upsets. It has been reported that caffeine triggers a chemical change associated with an increased production of acid.
Why not try instead…
Some people recommend alkaline water which is said to denature the stomach enzyme pepsin that damages tissue and causes reflux symptoms.

4 Fatty and fried food
Foods that are high in fat or fried, such as sausages, fish & chips and cheesy pizza, relax the lower oesophageal sphincter muscle and cause reflux that can irritate the lining of the oesophagus.
Why not try instead…
A pancake using gluten-free flour – some people find gluten-containing foods such as wheat can cause reflux symptoms.

5 Garlic and onions
Some people do not do well with either garlic or onions. These foods have again been shown to cause indigestion by loosening the lower oesophageal sphincter.
Why not try instead…
Fennel, with a pH of 6.9, is known as a great digestive herb and is a great alternative for adding flavour to your food.

6 Mint flavourings
Peppermint is often used to soothe an upset stomach or to aid digestion but mint can relax the lower oesophageal sphincter and may actually make the symptoms of reflux and heartburn worse.
Why not try instead…
Some say that parsley can act as an aid for reducing reflux as it contains glutamine, an amino acid that can help manage symptoms.

7 Spicy foods
Many people already recognise that dreaded heartburn feeling after eating hot and spicy food containing peppers, chillies and other spices.
Why not try instead…
Ginger is widely considered to be one of the best foods for reflux – some prefer it to over-the-counter or prescription medications. It has been used as an anti-inflammatory and a remedy for gastrointestinal conditions.

8 Tomato-based foods
Tomatoes are highly acidic and can trigger heartburn and irritation of the oesophagus.
Why not try instead…
Butternut squash, with a pH of between 6 and 7, can be used in soups, sauces and purees, making it a great alternative for tomatoes.

*The pH scale measures how acidic or alkaline something is. Substances with a pH of 7 are neutral, substances with a pH greater than 7 are alkaline and materials with a pH lower than 7 are acidic.