Fruits That Cause Heartburn


Fruits That Cause Heartburn are fresh and dried fruits, as well as canned fruit, the kind that comes in a syrup Apples, grapefruits, strawberries and oranges are delicious treats. Just because they are maintained in a can and preserved doesn’t mean they aren’t high in acid and can hurt your digestive tract.

Certain Fruits Can Trigger Heartburn


Sure, fried and fatty foods take a ton of blame when it comes to causing heartburn, but did you know that fruit — a snack you might consider a healthy option — can also be considered a trigger?

According to Dr. Soma Mandal, MD — a board-certified internist and women’s health specialist at Summit Medical Group in Berkeley Heights, NJ — citric fruits like oranges, tomatoes, lemons, pineapples have the potential to trigger heartburn due to their high levels of citric acid. “These types of food can increase stomach acidity and cause more heartburn,” Dr. Mandal adds.

But citrus isn’t the only plant-based item linked to heartburn.

“Chocolate contains a compound called methylxanthine, which relaxes the muscle in the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and allows stomach acidity to rise,” Dr. Mandal says. “Similarly, caffeine, mints, garlic/onions causes acid reflux by relaxing the muscle in the LES and causes stomach acidity to rise.”

However, it’s important to note that heartburn triggers can differ from person to person — citrus fruits or garlic might not bother someone else at all. Dr. Mandal points to spicy foods as another example. So, if you find that a specific food triggers your heartburn, be sure to listen to your body and bring it up to your doctor.

Dr. Mandal also recommends “limiting the amount of foods that can trigger heartburn, particularly if you are prone to developing heartburn after eating certain foods.”

Also, be mindful of when you’re eating those foods. “Another culprit in causing heartburn is eating too late at night. I recommend eating two to three hours before bedtime, since laying down usually worsens heartburn pain.”

Why do I get heartburn at night? Causes and treatment

People who experience heartburn at night may find that it is painful and disrupts their sleep.

There are a few common causes of heartburn at night, which include consuming particular foods, eating too close to bedtime, and taking certain prescription medications.

Heartburn at night or worsening heartburn symptoms may be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Many simple home remedies can help ease the symptoms while a person works with a doctor to find a more permanent solution.

In this article, learn about the possible causes of heartburn at night, as well as how to treat them.


a woman struggling to sleep because she has heartburn at night

Heartburn occurs as a result of food and acid leaking from the stomach up into the food pipe, or esophagus. Experiencing heartburn at night may mean that a person ate too soon before going to bed.

As a person swallows their food, it passes through the esophagus and into the stomach through a band of muscle called the esophageal sphincter. The esophageal sphincter acts as a valve to the stomach, keeping food from moving back into the esophagus.

Sometimes, the esophageal sphincter may fail to close completely, allowing acid and food to leak from the stomach up into the esophagus. When this occurs, it causes the burning sensation that people call heartburn.

Heartburn at night can occur as the person lies down to sleep or while they are sleeping.

When someone eats while either sitting or standing, the force of gravity helps keep acid and food inside the stomach during digestion, making symptoms less likely.

However, when the person lies down, their position can make it easier for the stomach contents to leak back up through the esophageal sphincter.

Several other risk factors contribute to heartburn at night, including:

  • dietary triggers, such as spicy food
  • having obesity
  • high stress levels
  • smoking or drinking alcohol
  • wearing tight fitting clothing
  • eating very large meals
  • eating too close to bedtime

During pregnancy

It is common for women to experience heartburn during pregnancy, even if they did not frequently experience it before becoming pregnant.

Research from 2015 notes that 17–45%Trusted Source of women experience heartburn during pregnancy. It can occur for many reasons, including the added pressure inside the body, weight gain, and changes in hormones and stress levels.

Most of the time, dietary and lifestyle changes can help control heartburn symptoms.

However, if home remedies prove ineffective for pregnant women, or they cannot take certain medications, they should speak to a doctor about other options.

Treatments and home remedies

Many home remedies and nonprescription medications may help people deal with heartburn at night.

Over-the-counter medications

Over-the-counter (OTC) medications, such as antacids or acid reducers, may help treat occasional digestive upsets and heartburn.


Antacids work by neutralizing the acid in the stomach, providing relief from symptoms. There are a few different OTC antacids to choose from, including:

  • calcium carbonate (Tums)
  • magnesium hydroxide (Milk of Magnesia)
  • sodium bicarbonate (baking soda, Alka-Seltzer)
  • bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol)

Acid reducers

Acid reducers work to decrease the production of acid in the stomach. There are two main types of acid reducers: proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and histamine antagonists (H2 antagonists).

A few different OTC acid reducers are available, including:

  • famotidine (Pepcid AC)
  • omeprazole (Prilosec OTC)
  • esomeprazole (Nexium 24HR)

Similar medications may be available with a doctor’s prescription.

These OTC medications can help relieve heartburn, but they are not long-term solutions. Anyone using OTC medications for heartburn relief should talk to a doctor if the symptoms last for more than 2 weeks.

Home remedies

If heartburn at night is becoming a regular issue, it is best to see a doctor for a diagnosis and to discuss long-term treatment options.

Some home remedies can relieve symptoms in the meantime. These include:

Sleeping on the left side of the body

People may notice that their symptoms get better if they sleep on their left side. Some believe that this helps relieve pressure on the stomach, making it less likely that stomach acid will leak into the esophagus.

Elevating the head and chest

For people who sleep on their back, heartburn may occur if stomach acid leaks from the stomach back into the esophagus as they lie down.

In these cases, the person can try to reduce their symptoms by using gravity and elevating the head and chest higher than the lower abdomen.

Specially designed wedge pillows are one way to keep the upper body more upright during the night. Alternatively, a person can try raising the upper half of the bed slightly. Safely placing cinder blocks, bricks, or wood beams under the head of the bed can help.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney DiseasesTrusted Source note that simply placing extra pillows under the head will not help. The goal is to raise the entire upper abdomen to allow the force of gravity to keep stomach acid down.

Losing weight

Excess weight puts more pressure on the abdomen and can increase the risk of heartburn.

Losing weight, if necessary, may help relieve symptoms. Pregnant women should not usually try to lose weight, however, so they should speak to a doctor about other options.

Avoiding tight clothing

Sometimes, wearing tight, restrictive clothing puts pressure on the abdomen, making heartburn more likely.

People may find it beneficial to wear loose fitting pajamas to bed rather than restrictive clothing, such as bras, compression shirts, or items with tight waistbands.

Avoiding late night snacking

Eating too late in the night may also cause symptoms to flare up. It takes time for foods to pass through the stomach and further into the digestive system after eating.

People who eat closer to bedtime and experience heartburn may wish to try ending their last meal at least 2–3 hours before they go to bed.

Eating smaller meals

Eating a large or high fat meal in the evening may mean that the body is still trying to digest the food by bedtime.

Switching to smaller or lighter meals later in the day may help reduce the risk of heartburn in some people.

The authors of a 2014 study recommend that people eat no fewer than three meals each day but aim for four or fiveTrusted Source. They reason that people who eat more frequently will have smaller meals.

Avoiding trigger foods

Some foods may be more likely than others to trigger heartburn. Common food triggers for heartburn include:

  • tomatoes and tomato products, such as pasta sauce and ketchup
  • citrus fruits, including oranges and lemons
  • spicy foods
  • greasy foods
  • peppermint
  • chocolate
  • alcohol
  • carbonated beverages, such as soda or sparkling water
  • coffee, tea, or other caffeinated beverages

Keeping a food journal and noting which foods cause heartburn can help people eliminate problematic foods from their diet or avoid eating them in the evening.

Quitting smoking

Smoking may contribute to heartburn. Smoking irritates the esophagus, and it may also relax the esophageal sphincter and increase stomach acid.

Smoking can also cause forceful coughing, which may aggravate heartburn in some cases.

Checking medication side effects

Heartburn is a common side effect of many different medications. If a person starts getting heartburn at night soon after they begin taking a new medication, the drug could be the cause.

Anyone who suspects that their symptoms are a side effect of a medication should talk to their doctor. It is essential not to stop taking any medication without consulting a doctor first.

8 Foods That Help Heartburn

Many people experience occasional heartburn or acid reflux. Heartburn is the backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus, and it’s often caused by what you eat. Thankfully, there are certain foods that are known to reduce, relieve, and help heartburn.

If you experience acid reflux more than twice a week, you may have a more serious condition called GERD. Schedule an appointment today.

8 foods that can help heartburn:

1. Whole Grains

Whole grains are grains that retain all parts of the seed (bran, germ, and endosperm). Whole grains can be consumed in their whole form or ground. Compared to other grains, they are better sources of fiber, B vitamins, iron, folate, selenium, potassium, magnesium, and other important nutrients. Whole grains can be complete foods, like popcorn or quinoa, or ingredients in other foods, like whole-wheat flour in bread. The amount of fiber found in whole-grain foods may help absorb stomach acid.

Eat these whole grains: Brown rice, oatmeal, and whole-grain bread

2. Ginger

Ginger has medicinal properties and anti-inflammatory properties that make it one of the best digestive aids. It’s alkaline, which means that it falls on the opposite side of the pH scale than acidic foods. The low level of acid eases irritation in the gastrointestinal tract. Ginger has been used throughout history for digestive issues.

Add ginger to: Smoothies, soups, and stir fry

3. Fruits and Vegetables

Almost all fruits and vegetables reduce stomach acid. Root vegetables and green vegetables are high in fiber. Foods that are fibrous make you feel full, cutting down on overeating that may contribute to heartburn.

However, some fruits and vegetables can cause heartburn. Garlic can cause heartburn and upset stomach in those who don’t regularly experience gastrointestinal issues. Those who do may have increased symptoms when eating garlic. Onions stimulate acid production which can lead to heartburn. Both garlic and onions are stronger when raw, but some still experience heartburn after eating them cooked.

Citrus fruits, like grapefruit and orange, are high acidity foods. This acid can relax the esophageal sphincter and cause heartburn. Tomato-based foods, like marinara sauce and ketchup, are also high in acid.

Eat these fruits and vegetables: Sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, asparagus, broccoli, and green beans

4. Yogurt

There are many benefits of yogurt. It soothes an irritated esophagus and is a good source of protein. Yogurt is also a probiotic, a class of foods that contain live microorganisms that maintain the good bacteria in the body. Probiotics usually contain bacteria that add to the healthy microbes in your gut.

Add yogurt to: Fresh fruit, a smoothie, and baked goods

5. Lean proteins

Eating lean proteins can reduce symptoms. According to the USDA, a lean protein has fewer than 10 grams of total fat and 95 milligrams of cholesterol in a 3.5-ounce serving. The healthiest ways to prepare lean proteins are baked, broiled, poached, or grilled. High-fat meals and fried foods can lead to reflux by decreasing lower esophageal sphincter pressure and delaying stomach emptying.

Eat these lean proteins: Chicken, seafood, tofu, and egg whites

6. Legumes

Legumes are a group of vegetables that include beans, peas, and lentils. They’re usually low in fat, have no cholesterol, and are high in nutrients like folate, potassium, iron, and magnesium. Legumes also have beneficial fats and fiber. They’re a good source of protein and a substitute for meat, which has more fat and cholesterol.

Try these recipes: Three-bean salad, couscous with peas and lemon, and lentil soup

7. Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds add fiber, nutrients, and healthy monounsaturated fats to your diet. They may also help absorb stomach acid, reducing heartburn.

Eat these nuts and seeds: Almonds, peanuts, chia, pomegranate, and flaxseeds

8. Healthy fats

Though eating too many fatty foods can trigger acid reflux, fat is a necessary nutrient. It’s essential for heart and brain health, but there are different types of fat. Replacing unhealthy fats with healthy fats may help. In addition, healthy fats also promote heart health because they can reduce the amounts of bad cholesterol in the body.

5 Foods That Cause Heartburn During Pregnancy

What causes heartburn in pregnancy?

Has heartburn become a problem for you during pregnancy? As the uterus enlarges, especially after about the 20th week, it pushes the stomach up against the diaphragm, condensing stomach contents and moving them up the esophagus. This can lead to acid reflux. To avoid reflux, you’ll want to eliminate common trigger foods from your diet. But what if the trigger foods are healthy foods? You don’t want to lose the benefits of folic acid and other nutrients by avoiding, say, orange juice, says Pat Baird, RD. She suggests you find ways to help your stomach deal with them. Here are fixes for those foods most likely to bring on the burn.

Citrus Foods

Foods like oranges, grapefruits and tomatoes can all bring on that burning sensation after meals.

The solution: Eat tomatoes on a turkey sandwich instead of in a salad. Try low-acid orange juice after you’ve had your morning cereal.

Coffee and Soda

Caffeinated beverages are known heartburn triggers.

The solution: In addition to limiting your coffee and soda intake (and limiting caffeine is good for pregnancy anyway) always put something else in your belly before drinking caffeinated beverages (like a bagel), or simply opt for decaf versions.


The solution: This is a no-brainer — no drinking during pregnancy.

Fatty foods

Fried and fatty foods tend to bring on heartburn because they take longer to digest, making it easier for food and stomach acids to slosh back up into the esophagus.

The solution: Choose leaner cuts of meat and low-fat dairy products; bake instead of frying.


The solution: Eat less. Try limiting your intake to a drizzle of chocolate sauce or only two squares of a chocolate bar — and not on an empty stomach.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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