Different people experience different triggers for their gastro-oesophageal reflux symptoms (including heartburn).
Generally there are a few key foods that commonly make symptoms worse. These include:
1) Caffeine - Caffeine containing foods including coffee, tea, chocolate and many carbonated drinks can make reflux worse in a number of ways. Caffeine can decrease the pressure of the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES) which is a tight ring of muscle at the bottom of the oesophagus (food pipe) that normall stays closed to prevent stomach contents ‘refluxing’ back up towards the throat. Caffeine is also known to increase acid secretion by the stomach.
2) Spicy foods
3) Fatty / rich foods - the combination of spicy and rich / fatty foods (such as a hot cream based curry) will increase stomach acid production and also decrease LES pressure
4) Acidic foods - acidic foods in themselves do not cause reflux. Some people experience throat symptoms of reflux - so called Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR). In these people eating acidic foods may reactivate stomach enzymes in the throat and continue to give them LPR symptoms of throat irritation, chronic cough and throat clearing even when they are on adequate acid suppression medication