Acid reflux is somewhat synonymous with a bland, limited diet. That doesn't have to be the case, though. As with the beverages we discussed on the last page, there is no scientific evidence that all sufferers of acid reflux should give up on spicy, flavorful food as a preventive measure. In one study, a Stanford professor found that simply giving up on so-called trigger foods, such as spicy foods or chocolate, had no effect on acid reflux or related symptoms. The only thing that consistently worked for patients were lifestyle changes such as weight loss or sleeping with their head elevated.
Of course, if spicy kung pao or fiery salsa always leaves you with the unpleasant sensation of acid reflux, then you'll probably want to adjust your choices. Before you give up on the item altogether, though, try just eating less of it each time. And make sure you're not getting yourself all worked up with worry before dining out at a Mexican restaurant -- the stress, not the spiciness, could be the reason for the acid reflux.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Brantley, William. "Be Still, My Heartburn." Slate. Nov. 25, 2003. (June 15, 2009) http://www.slate.com/id/2090412/
- Brody, Jane E. "Personal Health." New York Times. Sept. 25, 1996. (June 15, 2009) http://www.nytimes.com/1996/09/25/us/personal-health-487570.html
- Fantle Shimberg, Elaine. "Coping with Chronic Heartburn." Macmillan. 2001. (June 15, 2009) http://books.google.com/books?id=_2PW4_r5H4IC&printsec=frontcover&dq=coping+with+chronic+heartburn
- Griffin, R. Morgan. "The Secrets of Managing GERD and Heartburn." WebMD. Jan. 23, 2009. (June 15, 2009) http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/america-asks-9/treatment-remedies
- Jaret, Peter. "A Sigh of Relief for Heartburn Sufferers." New York Times. Nov. 8, 2007. (June 15, 2009) http://health.nytimes.com/ref/health/healthguide/esn-gerd-ess.html
- Jaret, Peter. "Heartburn Prevention Tips for Spicy Food Lovers." WebMD. Jan. 23, 2009. (June 15, 2009) http://www.webmd.com/heartburn-gerd/america-asks-9/spicy-foods
- Jaret, Peter. "Personalizing the Management of Heartburn." New York Times. (June 15, 2009) http://health.nytimes.com/ref/health/healthguide/esn-gerd-qa.html
- Maranto, Gina. "As Acid Reflux Cases Rise, Doctors Are Asking Why." New York Times. Dec. 11, 2001. (June 15, 2009) http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/11/health/as-acid-reflux-cases-rise-doctors-are-asking-why.html
- Martin, Andrew. "Decaf Being Joined by De-Heartburn." New York Times. March 14, 2007. (June 15, 2009) http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9C0CE6D81131F937A25750C0A9619C8B63&scp=6&sq=acid%20reflux%20myths&st=cse
- O'Neil, John. "Not So Fast: List of Reflux Culprits Grows." New York Times. Nov 16, 2004. (June 15, 2009) http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A00E5DE153FF935A25752C1A9629C8B63
- Ryen Doyle, Jessica. "Spicy or Bland? 6 Acid Reflux Myths You Should Know." Fox News. Aug. 21, 2008. (June 15, 2009) http://origin2.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,408221,00.html
- Worth, Tammy. "Gut check for reflex." Los Angeles Times. Oct. 6, 2008.
HowStuffWorks looks at items that adults often swallow that they shouldn't.