Foods That Cause Heartburn

What Foods Cause Heartburn?

From soda to spicy foods and beyond, all you need to know about these heartburn triggers.

Certain types of foods are more likely to trigger heartburn than others. Check out the list below to see what might be affecting you.1

Citrus Fruits

Oranges, grapefruits, and orange juice are classic causes of heartburn, especially when consumed on an empty stomach.

Spicy Foods

Cuisines that rely heavily on peppers and spices—like Mexican and Indian food—can easily trigger heartburn.


Sure, they’re known for their healthy nutrients, but fewer people realize they’re also highly acidic (just like citrus fruits). Tomato-based ketchups also are highly acidic.

Garlic and Onions

Garlic and onions may cause heartburn for some people.


Wine, beer, and liquor relax the sphincter in your stomach, giving acid the chance to enter the esophagus.


Caffeine also is known to relax the lower esophageal sphincter, which can lead to heartburn. If you must have caffeine, stick to soda or tea (which have smaller amounts of caffeine), and refrain from coffee and energy drinks (which have much higher amounts of caffeine) whenever possible.


That little after dinner breath-freshener has the same effect on your system as alcohol.

Cheese, Nuts, Avocados, and Red Meat

Foods that are high in fat slow down the emptying of the stomach, leaving you feeling bloated—which can lead to heartburn.


Unfortunately, everyone’s favorite treat can cause heartburn—even more than spicy foods can. It, too, relaxes the sphincter in your stomach, just like alcohol.


The carbonated gas in soda puts extra pressure on the esophageal sphincter, promoting reflux.

Show References

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  1. Mann, Denise. “Top 10 Heartburn Foods.” Edited by Louise Chang, WebMD, WebMD, 29 Dec. 2010,

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