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Diet Can Make or Break Your Acid Reflux

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What foods cause acid reflux and what foods can help prevent it? NY1's Jill Urban filed the following report.

When it comes to acid reflux there are certain foods that are known offenders, like tomatoes and citrus fruits. There are a lot of other foods that you may not realize are acidic, too, and could be the root of your problem.

“Most people think of acid reflux as food just coming up, but as it turns out, acid can irritate receptors in the throat so acidic food can irritate on the way down as well,” says Dr. Jonathan Aviv, a voice and swallowing specialist.

Aviv says you can have reflux without heartburn. Throat burn, chronic cough, frequent throat clearing or hoarseness could all be signs of reflux.

NY1 asked Aviv which foods are acid reflux triggers. Berries, for example, may be healthy, but they could burn.

“Certain berries are extremely acidic, like raspberries and strawberries. You want to stay below a pH of four because anything below that activates those acid reflectors in the throat,” Aviv says.

Other surprising fruits that have a high pH include green grapes, green apples and cherries. All can trigger those receptors too.

Many think yogurt is safe because dairy can be soothing, but it’s not.

Greek yogurt, in particular, can be very acidic, especially when you add fruit or even honey to it. We often take honey to sooth the throat, but its acidic properties can irritate reflux.

Same story with condiments.

"Mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, hummus are extremely acidic. One of the problems with hummus, in particular, is it often contains garlic and onion which are not acidic, but they loosen the muscle the separates the stomach from the esophagus," Aviv says.

Now, it’s not just the food that we eat that can contribute to acid reflux, but also what we drink. Most beverages are very acidic like citrus juice, cranberry juice, tea, seltzer, and the worst offender is soda.

So, what can help? Alkaline foods! He says things like watermelon, bananas, raw green vegetables, almonds, almond milk or almond butter can help.

So if you suffer from reflux, take a look at your diet! See if eating foods with a higher pH balance could help tip the scales in your favor.

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