Yoga & Fitness

Why Eating Tomatoes Triggers Acid Reflux: Expert Explains

Onlymyhealth Dabur Vedic Tea

Acidity and indigestion are two of the most common gastrointestinal issues that can cause significant discomfort. Acid reflux is a condition in which stomach acid continuously flows back up into the oesophagus, causing heartburn, a burning sensation in the chest. Prevention and treatment of the condition usually involve dietary management, which includes avoiding certain foods, such as tomatoes. Speaking with the OnlyMyHealth team, Dr Amit Miglani, Director and HOD-Gastroenterology, Asian Hospital Faridabad, shed light on the same.

Also Read: GERD: Foods That Trigger Acid Reflux and Heartburn

Can Tomatoes Trigger Acid Reflux?

When you eat your food, your stomach produces gastric acid to help break down the meals in your stomach, explained Dr Miglani.

However, when you consume tomatoes, they trigger acid reflux due to their high acid content, he added further.

According to the doctor, tomatoes include two acids that cause heartburn: citric acid and malic acid, which can relax the Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES), the muscle that divides the stomach from the oesophagus, enabling stomach acid to flow back into the oesophagus and causing heartburn.

The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy also advises limiting tomato-based products, such as tomato juice, marinara sauce, and ketchup.

Other Foods That Worsen Acidity

In addition to tomatoes, other foods can also trigger heartburn. These include:

  • Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes
  • Citrus juices
  • Spicy foods like hot peppers, chilli, and spicy sauces. According to Dr Miglani, they can irritate the oesophagus, relax the LES, and exacerbate acid reflux symptoms.
  • Fried and fatty foods like fried chicken, French fries, and high-fat desserts
  • Carbonated and caffeinated beverages; switch to herbal teas or water, which can help minimise the risk of acid reflux.

Ways To Treat Acid Reflux

“Changes in lifestyle may help relieve symptoms of acidity and indigestion,” said Dr Miglani. Some of the measures to take include:

  • Avoid trigger foods
  • Eat five or six modest meals per day rather than three large ones
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol and caffeine consumption
  • Refrain from using certain medications and pain relievers
  • Manage your stress and anxiety effectively

However, if your indigestion persists, Over-The-Counter (OTC) antacids may help, according to the doctor. “Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs), which can lower stomach acid, are another option that may be prescribed, especially if you have persistent heartburn and indigestion,” he concluded.

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