If you regularly suffer from heartburn, what drinks should you be avoiding?

Ah, heartburn. Most of us have, unfortunately, experienced this: you’ve just enjoyed a huge, delicious meal, and are ready to either take a nice long stroll or go right back to bed. Then the early creeping feeling of acid reflux begins — an acrid, biting, burning sensation that starts backing its way up your throat, accompanied by a bitter, sour taste. Then your stomach starts rumbling, and your chest feels like you might as well be experiencing a heart attack — if you’re one of the unlucky ones, this discomfort might last for a few minutes, but if you’re in the unlucky camp, it could take hours. You might have difficulty swallowing, and if this happens regularly, you could start losing your voice on a regular basis.

If you suffer from regular heartburn, there are plenty of very effective over-the-counter medications on the market to help with your symptoms, but one of the most important basic steps to reducing heartburn is a change in diet. Dr. Deepa Verma of Synergistiq Intregrative Health to provide her opinions on the issue. “Most of the foods that trigger heartburn do the same dirty deed — they all relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) which allows for backwash of acid into the esophagus, causing acid reflux,” Dr. Verma explains.

This esophageal sphincter just doesn’t work as well as it should in some people, who experience the pain of heartburn — or acid reflux, which is often the beginning of heartburn for many — on a regular basis. Another issue that might be at stake is portion control.

“Additionally, the bigger your meals are, the more you are predisposed to getting heartburn. Eating large portions overwhelms the stomach and it cannot empty and digest that quickly, so food sits around for a much longer time,” Dr. Verma explains “Since it has no place to go, the excess acid in the stomach that is produced to promote digestion, along with the pressure from excess gastric contents, cause the LES to open up, making way for a nasty heartburn.”

Take a look at the following drinks to avoid:

“Alcohol is noted to cause relaxation of the esophageal sphincter, where it opens up into the stomach,” Dr. Verma tells us. “This sphincter relaxation allows for backflow of stomach contents into the esophagus, thus triggering heartburn and reflux symptoms.” Combine this with common heartburn culprit citrus, and you’ve got a recipe for acid reflux .

Chocolate Milkshake
“Dairy fats, or any fatty foods for that matter, tend to sit around in the stomach for a longer time, thus causing more acid to be produced to help with digestion,” Dr. Verma explains. “This excess stomach acid not only irritates the gastric lining, but causes the lower esophageal sphincter to be lax. This is how acid reflux occurs, causing heartburn, which can mimic chest pain. Scary.”

“Peppermint is often used to settle an upset or queasy stomach. However, this can be a double-edged sword. The menthol in the mint causes a numbing and relaxing effect on the esophagus, which is responsible for heartburn,” Dr. Verma says.

“Caffeine overall increases stomach acid production in addition to relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter, so this is a double whammy: the forecast is a gloomy heartburn.” Dr. Verma tells us. Coffee is especially bad due to its high acid content.

Bloody Mary
This is a triple-decker culprit: it’s alcoholic, acidic, and spicy — not the best brunch companion after all. According to an article published in the medical journal Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, capsaicin — the stuff that gives a bloody mary its spicy kick — is a serious cause of acid reflux.

Citrus fruits can often be the cause behind heartburn, and lemons — as with all citrus juices — are a known irritant and cause of heartburn in many people.

Rum & Coke
Soda is one of the biggest — and most unexpected — causes behind heartburn. Even calorie-free options like diet soda and seltzer water can be behind this one, but sodas with acid, which is an additional irritant, are twice as bad.

Swedish researchers found that lots of salt can increase your chances of heartburn. Even if you don’t go for the salted rim, it’s likely that if you’re a heartburn sufferer, citric acid from the limes and a few shots of tequila might trigger an attack.

Like coffee, black tea can make heartburn symptoms even worse. If you regularly suffer from heartburn, try switching to a ginger tea — ginger has been shown to reduce heartburn symptoms.

Grapefruit Juice
Due to its very high acid content, grapefruit juice is especially bad for heartburn — and unfortunately, because alcohol can make symptoms worse, the same goes double for a greyhound.

Hope this helps.