Foods that cause heartburn include grapefruit, oranges, peppers, chili, coffee, garlic and onion, according to WebMD. Meats, oils, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti with sauce, chocolate and potato chips are additional foods that can contribute to heartburn.
WebMD mentions that tangy citrus fruits cause heartburn because of their acidity. According to Dr. Robynne Chutkan, oranges, grapefruit and orange juice are highly acidic. These foods can also cause heartburn when the stomach is empty. Tomatoes are acidic and can create problems for people who are susceptible to heartburn.
WebMD adds that people who get heartburn may also fare poorly with garlic and onions. Mexican food gives people heartburn, especially spicy dishes. Foods such as meat and grains can lead to heartburn by causing stomach acid to reach the esophagus.
About.com notes that heartburn occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter, which connects the esophagus and the stomach, becomes relaxed and allows food to enter the esophagus. This also happens when the stomach creates too much acid. Foods that can relax the LES are fried foods, salad dressing and peppermint. Caffeinated drinks in the form of tea, coffee and soft drinks can also lead to heartburn.
About.com states that alcohol, caffeinated beverages and carbonated beverages can foster acid production and create heartburn. Eating large meals late at night or close to bedtime can cause night-time heartburn.