Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a digestive disorder that occurs when the stomach acid continually flows from the stomach back up into the esophagus. This disorder causes an irritating effect on the gullet (tube connecting the mouth with the stomach). Moreover, GERD individuals may experience difficulty in swallowing, heartburn, a lump in the throat, and chest pains.
In severe cases, individuals may experience worsening asthma, chronic coughs, and Laryngitis. GERD is caused by the sphincter’s malfunction, a type of muscle located in the esophagus that allows food to flow to the stomach. When the muscle dysfunction, it will enable the stomach acid to rush back to the esophagus. GERD risk factors include eating specific food triggers, drinking certain beverages, slowed digestion, taking certain medications, smoking, pregnancy, among others. Research indicates that the majority of patients suffering from GERD report certain foods as triggers. The following are some foods and beverages that are considered as worst triggers for GERD:
Alcohol is widely considered to exacerbate the symptoms of Gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD. Medical experts argue that alcohol can cause dysfunction of the sphincter muscle. As indicated, the sphincter muscle prevents the flow back of foods and liquids back to the esophagus. Once the muscle is abnormal, stomach acid flows back to the mouth, causing irritation and other GERD symptoms. Additionally, excessive consumption of alcohol causes irritation and direct damage. Regular consumption of alcohol may exacerbate chronic symptoms of GERD, which may result in cancer. It is crucial to note that alcohol cannot cause GERD but can worsen the condition’s symptoms.
2. Spicy foods
Spicy foods are often associated with symptoms of GERD. While no research study has ascertained the relationship between GERD and spicy foods, most patients blame spicy foods for accelerating the symptoms. Spicy foods may irritate the esophagus worsening the symptoms of GERD. These foods relax the sphincter muscle, allowing the stomach acid back to the food gullet. Spicy foods contain a compound called capsaicin that slows the rate of digestion. Thus, foods will sit longer in the stomach, which is a risk factor for GERD.
3. Garlic and onions
Garlic and onions are widely known as triggers for GERD symptoms. They relax the sphincter muscles, allowing stomach acid to flow back to the esophagus. Studies show that patients who were given foods with garlic, they reported an irritating throat. Onions contain fermentable fiber, which is associated with acid reflux symptoms. Thus, patients suffering from GERD must avoid foods that contain onions or garlic.
Chocolate is a common trigger of GERD symptoms, especially heartburn. Just like alcohol and other foods, chocolate relaxes the sphincter muscles. Thus, the acid escapes the stomach and irritates the throat, and heartburn. Moreover, chocolate contains a hormone called serotonin and compounds such as theobromine and caffeine that relaxes the sphincter muscles. Therefore, patients suffering from GERD are advised to avoid large intakes of chocolate and chocolate products.
5. Citrus fruits
Heavy intake of citrus fruits or juices triggers heartburns. While there is no apparent connection between citrus fruits and GERDS, studies indicate that more than 60% of individuals experience heartburn after consuming the products. Citrus foods are acidic, and they may irritate the throat. Moreover, they relax the sphincter muscles causing acid to flow from the stomach to the esophagus.