What Types of Foods Can Cause Heartburn?

Foods that can cause heartburn include chocolate, soda, fried foods, high-fat dairy foods and alcohol, according to Health.com. Garlic; tomato-based foods, such as salsa, pizza sauce and chili; and citric fruits, such as lemons, grapefruit and pineapple, can also cause this condition, reports Healthline.

Heartburn or acid reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes, allowing the contents of the stomach to move up into the esophagus, explains Healthline. Chocolate contains cocoa, fat, theobromine and caffeine, which can cause heartburn, says Health.com. High-fat meals may minimize pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter, increasing the risk of heartburn. Certain foods also stay in the stomach longer before they move into the small intestine, notes WebMD. They include whole milk, fried onion rings, potato chips and sour cream, states Healthline.

Carbonated beverages and smoking can put pressure on the stomach, causing heartburn, according to WebMD. Eating too much can also cause this condition. Alcohol can relax the valve between the esophagus and the stomach, causing heartburn, says Health.com.

As of 2015, experts have no proof of any food effective in preventing heartburn, says Healthline. They recommend foods high in fiber, which can also reduce the risk of uncontrolled blood sugar, high cholesterol and bowel problems. Patients should consult their doctors when adding foods to their diet to minimize symptoms of heartburn.