11 Foods That Can Cause Heartburn

Heartburn affects more than 60 million Americans every month (1).

It is best described as a painful, burning sensation that occurs in the lower chest area.

Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux, a condition where stomach acid escapes into the esophagus, the tube that delivers food and beverages to your stomach.

Normally, stomach acid cannot escape into the esophagus because of a barrier called the lower esophageal sphincter. This is a ring-like muscle that naturally stays closed, and normally only opens when you swallow or belch (2).

However, in people with acid reflux, this muscle is often weakened. This is one reason why people with acid reflux experience heartburn (3).

Diet plays an important role in heartburn. Many foods can relax the lower esophageal sphincter, which allows food to escape into the esophagus and cause heartburn.

Here are 11 foods that can cause heartburn.

1. High-Fat Foods

High-fat foods may cause heartburn. Unfortunately, this includes incredibly healthy and nutritious foods like avocados, cheese and nuts (4).

There are two ways that high-fat foods can trigger heartburn.

First, they may relax the lower esophageal sphincter, the muscle that acts as a barrier between the esophagus and the stomach. When this muscle relaxes, stomach acid can escape from the stomach into the esophagus and cause heartburn (5).

Second, high-fat foods stimulate the release of the hormone cholecystokinin (CCK). This hormone may also relax the lower esophageal sphincter and cause acid reflux (67).

In addition, CCK encourages food to stay in the stomach longer so it can be better digested. Sadly, this may also increase the risk of acid reflux, which can cause heartburn (8).

It’s important to note that this does not only apply to healthy foods that are rich in fats. It also applies to fried foods and takeout meals that are high in fat.

SUMMARY: Foods that are high in fat may cause heartburn by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter. Fat also promotes the release of CCK, which may relax the sphincter and let food sit in the stomach for longer — both risk factors for heartburn.

2. Mint

Mints like peppermint and spearmint are often thought to soothe digestive conditions. However, there is some evidence that these mints may cause heartburn.

One study found that high doses of spearmint were linked with acid reflux symptoms.

Surprisingly, spearmint did not relax the lower esophageal sphincter. Instead, researchers believe that spearmint may cause heartburn by irritating the lining of the esophagus (9).

Another study of more than 500 people found that those who consumed peppermint tea daily had twice the risk of heartburn (10).

That said, there is limited evidence of a link between mint and heartburn. If you feel that mint makes your heartburn worse, then it’s best to avoid it.

SUMMARY: Mints like peppermint and spearmint may cause heartburn. If you experience heartburn after consuming mint, it is best to avoid it.

3. Citrus Juices

Drinking citrus juices may trigger heartburn symptoms.

For example, in a study of 382 people with heartburn, 67% of participants experienced heartburn after consuming orange juice (11).

In another study of approximately 400 people with heartburn, 73% experienced heartburn after drinking orange or grapefruit juice. The findings suggested that the amount of acid in citrus juices may have been responsible for causing heartburn symptoms (12).

However, it’s not entirely clear how citrus juices can cause heartburn (13).

SUMMARY: Citrus juices like orange or grapefruit juice may cause acid reflux and heartburn. However, it’s not entirely clear how this happens.

4. Chocolate

Chocolate is another common trigger for heartburn.

Like high-fat foods, chocolate can relax the lower esophageal sphincter (1415).

This may allow stomach acid to escape into the esophagus and cause heartburn.

In addition, chocolate is made of cocoa, which contains the “happy hormone” serotonin.

Unfortunately, serotonin may relax the lower esophageal sphincter, as well (1617).

Lastly, chocolate also contains the compounds theobromine and caffeine. Both can stimulate the lower esophageal sphincter to relax (18).

SUMMARY: Chocolate may cause heartburn by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter. This may be due to its fat content, serotonin levels or other naturally occurring compounds.

5. Spicy Foods

Spicy foods are notorious for causing heartburn.

They often contain a compound called capsaicin, which may slow the rate of digestion. This means food will sit in the stomach longer, which is a risk factor for heartburn (19).

For example, one study showed that consuming chili that contained chili powder slowed the rate of digestion (20).

In addition, spicy foods may irritate an already inflamed esophagus, and this can worsen heartburn symptoms (21).

Therefore, it’s best to reduce your intake of spicy foods if you have heartburn.

SUMMARY: The capsaicin in spicy foods may cause heartburn by slowing the rate of digestion. Spicy foods may also irritate your esophagus, further worsening heartburn symptoms.

6. Salt

Consuming table salt or salty foods may increase reflux, a risk factor for heartburn.

For instance, one study found that people who added table salt to their meals had a 70% higher risk of reflux than people who never added salt.

The same study also found that people who consumed salted foods at least three times a week had a 50% higher risk of reflux than people who never ate salted foods (22).

However, it’s not completely understood how salt intake might increase the risk of reflux.

It’s possible that people who consume salty foods also eat more fried and fatty foods.

In that case, those foods are a more likely trigger for heartburn than salt alone.

SUMMARY: Consuming table salt and salty foods has been linked with heartburn. However, its influence on the condition is not fully understood.

7. Onions

Onions, especially raw onions, are a common trigger for heartburn.

Like other foods on this list, onions may relax the lower esophageal sphincter, which may cause acid reflux and symptoms of heartburn (23).

In one study, people with heartburn ate a plain hamburger on one day, followed by an identical hamburger with onions on another day. Eating the burger with onions significantly worsened heartburn symptoms, compared to eating the burger with no onions (24).

In addition, onions are a rich source of fermentable fiber, which may cause belching. Belching can aggravate acid reflux symptoms (25).

The fermentable fiber onions contain is made up of FODMAPs, a group of compounds that may trigger digestive issues.

SUMMARY: Onions, especially raw onions, may cause acid reflux and heartburn symptoms by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter. In addition, onions are high in fermentable fiber, which may promote acid reflux symptoms.

8. Alcohol

Moderate to excessive alcohol intake can also cause heartburn symptoms (26).

Alcohol can do this in many ways. For example, it can relax the lower esophageal sphincter, which may allow stomach acid to escape into the esophagus and trigger heartburn (27).

In addition, alcoholic beverages, especially wine and beer, can increase your amount of stomach acid, which can increase the risk of heartburn (28).

Lastly, excessive alcohol intake may directly damage the lining of the esophagus. Over time, this can make the esophagus more sensitive to stomach acid (27).

SUMMARY: Alcohol may cause heartburn in several ways. It may relax the lower esophageal sphincter, increase stomach acid or directly damage the lining of the esophagus.

9. Coffee

Some people may experience heartburn when drinking coffee.

Coffee has been shown to relax the lower esophageal sphincter, which can increase the risk of acid reflux and heartburn (29).

Some studies suggest that caffeine is the culprit. However, other studies have looked at the effects of caffeine alone and discovered that it may not trigger reflux symptoms. If this is the case, then other compounds found in coffee may be responsible (3031).

Nevertheless, other studies have found no link between coffee and reflux symptoms (32).

Though the research remains inconclusive, if you tolerate coffee, then there is no need to avoid it. Yet if coffee gives you reflux and heartburn, it is best to avoid it or limit your intake.

SUMMARY: Some people may experience heartburn when drinking coffee, though the link between coffee intake and heartburn is not very clear. If coffee gives you heartburn, then it’s best to avoid it or reduce your intake.

10. Sodas and Carbonated Beverages

Sodas and carbonated beverages are also common culprits of heartburn.

Research suggests that these beverages may relax the esophageal sphincter and increase the acidity of stomach acid — two risk factors for heartburn (3334).

In one study, scientists observed the sleeping patterns of more than 15,000 people, finding that approximately 25% experienced nighttime heartburn.

After further investigation, the researchers found that nighttime heartburn was strongly linked to several factors, including drinking carbonated soft drinks (35).

Another study found that people who consumed carbonated beverages had a 69% higher risk of developing reflux symptoms like heartburn (36).

SUMMARY: Sodas and other carbonated beverages may cause heartburn by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter. If sodas or other carbonated beverages give you heartburn, consider cutting back or avoiding them completely.

11. Milk

People commonly consume milk to treat heartburn. However, drinking whole milk may actually cause symptoms, not relieve them (11).

In fact, research suggests that whole milk may increase stomach acid production, which is a risk factor for heartburn (12).

In one study of almost 400 people with heartburn, approximately 38% reported heartburn symptoms after drinking whole milk.

Researchers from the study suggested that the link between whole milk and heartburn was related to the fat content of whole milk (12).

If drinking milk gives you heartburn, it’s best to avoid it or reduce your intake.

SUMMARY: Whole milk has been linked to heartburn, which may be due to its fat content. If whole milk gives you heartburn, it’s best to reduce your intake or avoid it.

The Bottom Line

Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux. It affects millions of Americans every month.

Many foods can cause heartburn by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter, a ring-like muscle that acts as a barrier between the esophagus and stomach.

If you experience heartburn frequently, try removing some of the foods in this list from your diet to see if your symptoms improve.

It’s a good idea to keep a food diary so you can track which foods give you heartburn.

You can also try adding foods to your diet that help relieve heartburn, such as bananas, melons, oatmeal, grains, potatoes, ginger and green veggies.


The above article is courtesy of My EZ Health Guide and is intended for informational purposes only.

  • Wade Lannon Allen
    Posted at 19:21h, 20 June

    Great read

  • Anisha Welch
    Posted at 14:50h, 02 May

    Good information to know!

  • Lance
    Posted at 12:06h, 19 April

    Heartburn, also known as pyrosis, cardialgia or acid indigestion, is a burning sensation in the central chest or upper central abdomen. The discomfort often rises in the chest and may radiate to the neck, throat, or angle of the jaw.

  • John Swanson
    Posted at 06:36h, 10 April

    Coffee and chocolate…. two of my favorite vices. Plus a couple of tums in hand.

  • Carlos Tenorio
    Posted at 16:26h, 09 April

    I need to know this, thanks!

  • Roger Moore
    Posted at 15:13h, 09 April

    So true and I like most of them

  • Latrice Smith
    Posted at 22:47h, 05 April

    Glad to have seen this, did not realize how many food products causes acid reflux.

  • Latrice Smith
    Posted at 22:45h, 05 April

    Good information

    Posted at 16:31h, 01 April

    Orange juice gives me terrible heartburn..

  • Mable Freeman
    Posted at 20:55h, 29 March

    Thank you

    Posted at 20:24h, 28 March

    Good info

  • Kara
    Posted at 18:03h, 28 March

    I follow the BRAT diet when needed. Helps a lot for flare ups.

  • Cheryl Grose
    Posted at 20:50h, 26 March

    Good information

    Posted at 20:47h, 26 March

    Good article

  • Kalor Riley
    Posted at 19:43h, 26 March

    Good to hear

  • Danny LaFountain
    Posted at 19:35h, 26 March

    No french fries

  • Carrie Edwards
    Posted at 00:46h, 26 March

    Interesting read!

  • TasheTurner
    Posted at 19:30h, 25 March

    Dang chocolate too!!! Oh man.

  • Anissa Pinson
    Posted at 13:41h, 25 March

    Thank you

  • Alexander Broderick
    Posted at 15:16h, 23 March

    Hmmm interesting…. Okay did not know whole milk could cause symptoms. I’m going to have to inform a few people on that one.

  • carmen roe
    Posted at 03:08h, 23 March

    good info

  • Amanda G McCord
    Posted at 00:34h, 23 March

    Hopefully this will help my daughter

  • Heather Hamilton
    Posted at 19:35h, 22 March

    Good info

  • John Mark Deaton
    Posted at 18:55h, 22 March

    very useful info!

  • Gary Burke
    Posted at 17:13h, 22 March

    Good Information

  • Darby Rouzee
    Posted at 13:44h, 22 March

    Glad I don’t have this issue!

  • Nancy
    Posted at 00:47h, 22 March

    That is very fortunate for you, Barb! I hope it continues for you.

  • Nancy
    Posted at 00:46h, 22 March

    I understand, Michael. I too am experiencing more heartburn from these foods the older I get.
    Hopefully you are able to incorporate the foods that help heartburn.

  • Nancy
    Posted at 00:44h, 22 March

    You are very welcome, Barbara! I’m glad you liked it. Thank you for your feedback.

  • Nancy
    Posted at 00:43h, 22 March

    You are very welcome, Boo!

  • Nancy
    Posted at 00:42h, 22 March

    Thank you for sharing this information, Jim. We appreciate your input.

  • Donna Taliaferro
    Posted at 23:15h, 21 March

    Good information I didn’t know some good healthy food cause acid reflux

  • Kevin Klaine
    Posted at 20:25h, 21 March


  • Barb L
    Posted at 19:21h, 21 March

    Interesting info.
    As someone who has only suffered with heartburn during 2 pregnancies in my 20’s & now creeping up on 55, I’m shocked I havent suffered more, considering my love for most of these foods. Thankful

  • Michael Elliott
    Posted at 19:15h, 21 March

    The older I get the more foods on this list bother me.

  • Jim Donchez
    Posted at 18:18h, 21 March

    Did not know that chocolate could give you heartburn as well as salt. I recently switched to pink salt after hearing about it’s benefits from a friend.

  • Barbara DeLaura
    Posted at 17:37h, 21 March

    Thank you for this helpful article!

  • Leasa Bowman
    Posted at 17:02h, 21 March

    Great article…Pregnancy is definitely a contributing factor.

  • Karen Ellyson
    Posted at 16:30h, 21 March


  • Jenny
    Posted at 15:14h, 21 March

    Very interesting read and helpful.

  • Jim Cosby
    Posted at 04:27h, 21 March

    I eat most of those foods, but I rarely get heartburn.

  • Elizabeth Fogleman
    Posted at 23:12h, 20 March

    Who would have thought milk (whole fat) would increase the symptoms of heartburn. Good information.

  • Ria Caldwell
    Posted at 22:18h, 20 March

    Thank you.

  • Boo Fields
    Posted at 20:37h, 20 March

    Thank you for posting foods that alleviate heartburn!!!

  • Rose Mary Goins
    Posted at 19:36h, 20 March


  • Kerrie Bates
    Posted at 19:13h, 20 March

    Informative ty

  • Joshua vangorder
    Posted at 18:28h, 20 March


  • Austin hoener
    Posted at 17:38h, 20 March

    Very helpful

  • Joseph Christ
    Posted at 17:26h, 20 March


  • Rachelle Gizinski
    Posted at 16:50h, 20 March

    Interesting fact about milk. I always thought the opposite

  • Bill Oldham
    Posted at 16:10h, 20 March

    Several of those occasionally cause heartburn for me, but not always. Are there other contributing factors?

  • Jonathan Upholz
    Posted at 15:51h, 20 March

    Never knew mint was a cause of heartburn

  • Jeff Chadwick
    Posted at 15:19h, 20 March

    Raw onions get me every time

  • Scott Wygant
    Posted at 14:59h, 20 March

    I found the mint section interesting about heartburn.

  • Brian Jackson
    Posted at 14:23h, 20 March

    I often use milk to ease my heartburn.Thank you

  • Michael willis
    Posted at 14:08h, 20 March

    Thank you. I didn’t know salt did that.

  • Neelu Bahel
    Posted at 13:27h, 20 March

    Nice information. Knowledgable

  • Niambi Sharperson
    Posted at 13:24h, 20 March

    Very Interesting information.

  • Freda Hunt
    Posted at 12:57h, 20 March

    I really don’t get heartburn, but it’s nice to have this information handy, just in case.

  • Robin Thomas
    Posted at 12:26h, 20 March

    Good to know that whole milk can cause heartburn.

  • tonia wolfe
    Posted at 11:58h, 20 March

    good informative article

    Posted at 11:58h, 20 March

    Very helpful information

  • Lisa Adams
    Posted at 11:56h, 20 March


  • Ruste Harvell
    Posted at 11:41h, 20 March

    Ok gotcha

  • terry king
    Posted at 11:33h, 20 March

    Very informational

  • Natalie Jennings
    Posted at 10:51h, 20 March

    Good info!!

  • Heather Davis
    Posted at 08:34h, 20 March

    Good article.

  • Nestor Konditamde
    Posted at 04:26h, 20 March

    Good info

  • kris M
    Posted at 04:25h, 20 March

    great helpful information

  • Nestor Konditamde
    Posted at 04:25h, 20 March

    Very useful information

  • Toni Bullitt
    Posted at 03:22h, 20 March

    I’ve dealt with this avid reflux gor a part of my adult life. It’s true, most foods on this list can cause heartburn. I nipped tje condition by drinking ginger and lemongrass tea everyday for 31 days. Probiotics help also.

  • Karen Collins
    Posted at 02:39h, 20 March

    Thank you

  • Virginia D Goodwin
    Posted at 02:22h, 20 March

    Good info

  • Rossana Atrian
    Posted at 01:35h, 20 March

    I was surprised that chocolate can give you heartburn!!

  • Samantha Wegner
    Posted at 01:34h, 20 March

    Good info!

  • Victoria
    Posted at 01:30h, 20 March

    Thank you

  • Kara Lavey
    Posted at 01:24h, 20 March

    Good info to know!

  • Rohan
    Posted at 00:26h, 20 March

    Good information

  • Rohan
    Posted at 00:26h, 20 March

    Good inf

  • Vicki Koch
    Posted at 00:18h, 20 March

    Great article.

  • Marie
    Posted at 23:55h, 19 March


  • Lori wright
    Posted at 23:44h, 19 March


  • Karla Landoll
    Posted at 23:29h, 19 March

    Thanks for the helpful information

  • Bernadette Kniffin
    Posted at 23:01h, 19 March

    Thanks for the info. 🙂

  • Rhonda
    Posted at 22:53h, 19 March


  • Michelle Grant
    Posted at 22:50h, 19 March

    Never k ew chocolate could give you heartburn!!!! Boo!!!!

  • Mario Calabaza
    Posted at 22:39h, 19 March

    Good to know about all things that trigger heartburn

  • Thomas Truant
    Posted at 22:39h, 19 March

    Thank you

  • Alvin shaul
    Posted at 22:39h, 19 March

    Great info

  • Kathryn
    Posted at 22:29h, 19 March

    Interesting article

  • Laurie Lierman
    Posted at 22:26h, 19 March

    Good information.

  • Ayanna Gandy
    Posted at 22:22h, 19 March

    Good info!

  • Mike Crank
    Posted at 22:16h, 19 March


  • Gary Burke
    Posted at 22:15h, 19 March

    Good information thanks

  • Charlene Tucker
    Posted at 21:55h, 19 March

    Interesting about milk….hmmm!

  • Claudia Rojo
    Posted at 21:54h, 19 March

    I was surprised by the mint! Good read 🙂

  • Steven Sherman
    Posted at 21:45h, 19 March

    I learn so much good stuff with these quick tips..

  • Howie Thompson
    Posted at 21:44h, 19 March


  • Richard wiese
    Posted at 21:38h, 19 March

    Thank you

  • Whitney Barnes
    Posted at 21:21h, 19 March

    Good info

  • Angela Lloyd
    Posted at 21:13h, 19 March

    Informative! Thanks

  • Lula M Scott
    Posted at 21:07h, 19 March

    I deal with these problems at least a few times in a year due to my eating habits. I love onions and my milk, which really don’t like me. This was very helpful.

  • Danny LaFountain
    Posted at 21:05h, 19 March

    I can’t believe what we are extorted $$ for the equivalent of Facebook articles.

  • Santana Williams
    Posted at 21:04h, 19 March

    I love to use baking soda and water for heartburn…best essential oil to use internally is oregano oil..must be 100 percent natural

  • Kristin Meschke
    Posted at 21:02h, 19 March


    Posted at 20:56h, 19 March


  • Brooke Ransom
    Posted at 20:56h, 19 March

    Great article

  • Cheryl Grose
    Posted at 20:51h, 19 March

    Good info

  • Kathern Croft
    Posted at 20:39h, 19 March

    What do you really do for it other the eating antacids?

  • Paul Phelps
    Posted at 20:37h, 19 March

    Good info. Some I didn’t know

  • Mitch D.
    Posted at 20:35h, 19 March

    This is a fantastic article. I learned a great deal about my own heart burn issues that my MD never told me about.

  • Dustin Walker
    Posted at 20:35h, 19 March

    I never get heartburn

  • Kelly Pitts
    Posted at 20:32h, 19 March

    What a great article. I also try and not eat chinese food or italian food with coffee. Those give me the heartburn more than anything.

  • Jodi Lee
    Posted at 20:27h, 19 March

    I suffer with heartburn almost every night. The list was helpful in pinpointing the cause of my heartburn. I was diagnosed with acid reflux several years ago. I notice when I stay on a 6 meal a day ( Small serving) , leaving out high carb foods, staying away from sauces, high sugar foods, I do better with not experiencing heartburn. Low fat milk helps as well.

  • Deborah Thomas
    Posted at 20:26h, 19 March


  • Serena Phillips
    Posted at 20:23h, 19 March

    Good Info.

  • Ben H Poitevint
    Posted at 20:23h, 19 March

    Very good information

  • Shelby York
    Posted at 20:22h, 19 March

    Great info! Thanks

  • Candice Thomas
    Posted at 20:22h, 19 March

    I was excited to read all this information, it taught me a few things

  • Danny LaFountain
    Posted at 20:22h, 19 March

    Read as mandated.

    Posted at 20:21h, 19 March


  • Sam
    Posted at 20:18h, 19 March


  • Mike
    Posted at 20:18h, 19 March

    Nice to know

  • Sandra Cook
    Posted at 20:15h, 19 March

    Helpful, thanks

  • Steve.papas_open24hr@yahoo.com
    Posted at 20:15h, 19 March

    Good read thanks

  • Jim Davis
    Posted at 20:15h, 19 March

    Good info.

  • Pat Lanham
    Posted at 20:14h, 19 March

    Talkin’ bout that heart burn!

  • Nicklas Armor
    Posted at 20:13h, 19 March

    So good to know!

  • Alex Wells
    Posted at 20:12h, 19 March

    Great info!

  • David Murray
    Posted at 20:06h, 19 March

    I don’t have heart burn anymore since being put on medication. I did learn al lot in reading it though.

  • Tracy Hedl
    Posted at 19:56h, 19 March


    Posted at 19:45h, 19 March


  • Brian Bailey
    Posted at 19:34h, 19 March

    I found that interesting about the milk. Ive always thought it helped my heartburn. Of course I don’t drink whole milk., just 2%. Interesting that bananas help that too

  • Elena M
    Posted at 19:31h, 19 March


  • Chris Barlow
    Posted at 19:26h, 19 March

    Lot to learn what not to eat

  • Katherine Adkins
    Posted at 19:16h, 19 March

    good iniformation

  • Brenda L Nicholson
    Posted at 19:14h, 19 March

    I stay away from all that havent had it since good information thank you

  • Stephanie Arnett
    Posted at 19:13h, 19 March

    Helpful information!

  • Debbie knauff
    Posted at 19:06h, 19 March

    Great advice

  • Sherri Moscrop
    Posted at 19:00h, 19 March

    Good info

  • Jennifer Metcalf
    Posted at 18:58h, 19 March

    This is helpful info!

  • Teresa L Woodall
    Posted at 18:57h, 19 March


  • Deborah Langford
    Posted at 18:50h, 19 March

    Good info

  • Brittney B
    Posted at 18:49h, 19 March


  • Hind
    Posted at 18:49h, 19 March

    Good info

  • Rissa Chiassin
    Posted at 18:40h, 19 March

    Basically all the best foods 🙁

  • Donna Oldaker
    Posted at 18:40h, 19 March

    Great information

  • Tammy Isom
    Posted at 18:40h, 19 March

    Lots of good information….

  • D.onna Oldaker
    Posted at 18:39h, 19 March

    Great information

  • Brandy Chandler
    Posted at 18:38h, 19 March

    I really enjoyed and learned from this article

    Posted at 18:37h, 19 March

    Will pass it on

  • Shannon H
    Posted at 18:37h, 19 March

    Shared info with my family!

  • Brett Shortell
    Posted at 18:35h, 19 March

    Wow didn’t know all that. Very useful info

  • Tracy Lynn Donnalley
    Posted at 18:35h, 19 March

    Good information

  • Porsha Elle Sade Ali
    Posted at 18:34h, 19 March

    Good information

  • Brittany Forney
    Posted at 18:32h, 19 March


  • Joan Jenkins
    Posted at 18:30h, 19 March

    Not a problem I am bothered with

  • Aaryn Crosby
    Posted at 18:30h, 19 March