Heartburn triggers vary depending on the individual, but foods to avoid include alcohol, citrus juices, dairy products and fried foods, according to WebMD. The leading cause of reflux is chocolate, causing more digestive discomfort than any other food, reports Health. This is due to the caffeine and other stimulants such as theobromine found in chocolate, and it is also high in fat and cocoa, both known to cause reflux.
All carbonated beverages can cause acid reflux because of the way the carbonation causes the stomach to expand and increase pressure, states Health. Carbonated beverages such as soda, which contains acid and caffeine, are even worse. Alcohol also causes the valve at the bottom of the esophagus to relax, which leads to reflux.
Foods and beverages like the ones listed above all lessen the effectiveness of the lower esophageal sphincter, which is responsible for keeping stomach contents in the stomach, according to WebMD. It is noted that smoking also has a negative effect on the LES and can cause issues with acid reflux. Approximately 92 percent of heartburn sufferers named food as the primary cause of their acid reflux according to a recent survey conducted by the National Heartburn Alliance. Avoiding specific foods and eating smaller meals greatly reduce the amount of reflux from the stomach to the esophagus.