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Common Heartburn Triggers to Avoid 

Heartburn can be set off by all kinds of foods, but some are more common triggers than others. Here’s what to watch out for.

Cases of acid reflux are kind of like snowflakes: No two are exactly alike. Everyone has slightly different triggers that can make symptoms worse, and you should pay attention to what you’ve eaten when you get a bout of heartburn. That said, there are certain foods that are likelier to lead to heartburn than others. Here are some of the most common culprits.

Acidic foods: Citrus drinks may be linked to heartburn. One study of 394 participants found that consumption of citrus drinks contributed to more heartburn, based on self-reported questionnaires. In another survey, 72 percent of people saw a connection between drinking orange or grapefruit juice and heartburn. The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders agrees that citrus juice may aggravate symptoms. Other acidic foods to avoid? Tomatoes, vinegar, and strawberries are all on the list.

Chocolate: That delicious chocolate bar might look innocent, but don’t be fooled. Research has shown that people who consume chocolate experience more acid reflux—possibly because the chocolate reduces how much pressure the sphincter muscle has. 

Spicy foods: You might want to go with the mildest option the next time you order chicken wings. In a survey, almost 75 percent of respondents saw a connection between spicy foods and heartburn. 

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