I am having a terrible time with heartburn lately. Could it have anything to do with the food that I have been eating?

Acid reflux occurs when the muscle that is located at the lower end of your esophagus weakens and allows the contents of the stomach (food/stomach acid) to rise into the esophagus, creating a burning sensation. Some people describe the feeling as chest discomfort, hoarseness, and a bitter taste in the back of the throat. Following a proper diet can greatly help to prevent and/or reduce symptoms of acid reflux disease.

There are certain foods that may worsen symptoms of acid reflux. These include: greasy, fatty, or fried foods, chocolate, whole milk, peppermint, and most fast foods. Another set of foods may irritate the lower esophageal area and should be limited or avoided. These include: coffee (or caffeinated beverages), acidic foods (grapefruit, tomato, orange juice, grapefruit juice), and some spicy foods.

Doctors recommend that you avoid lying down after eating. They also recommend ceasing use of nicotine and that you try to lose weight if you are overweight. Avoid activities where excess air is swallowed (drinking out of a straw, chewing gum, sucking on hard candy). Finally, it is better to eat several small meals as opposed to three large meals during the day.

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