Here’s What You Need to Know About Acid Reflux: Causes, Recipes, and More

Fact checked by Olga Sadouskaya, MD
Clinical Pharmacologist, Chief Medical Officer

If you’re experiencing acid reflux, you’re not alone. If you’re chronically experiencing acid reflux, you may have a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a common digestive condition characterized by stomach acid flowing backward into the esophagus. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, over 20 percent of Americans have GERD.

Acid reflux can cause chest pain, a sour taste in the mouth, and heartburn. The back of your throat may also sting in a peppery way, and you may pass more gas than normal.

Whether you’re dealing with occasional acid reflux or GERD, there are steps you can take to find relief and improve your quality of life. In this article, we’ll explore the causes and symptoms of acid reflux, how long it lasts, what foods are good for reducing symptoms, and more.

What causes acid reflux?

Acid reflux is a common condition that can affect anyone. Acid reflux occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter, located between the esophagus and stomach, opens prematurely and allows stomach contents to back up into the esophagus. The lower esophageal sphincter typically opens only when food is swallowed, but when it opens too frequently or widely, it can cause acid to flow back into the esophagus. This can cause irritation and pain in the chest area and an itchy and burning throat.

A man having acid reflux after eating fast food

Having regular episodes of acid reflux may cause structural and physiological changes in the esophagus. If this happens often, you may develop GERD, which can cause further issues. There are several possible causes of acid reflux, including:

  • Hiatal hernia: This occurs when the upper part of the stomach bulges through the opening in the diaphragm, where the esophagus passes. This can allow stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus.
  • Pregnancy: The growing baby can put pressure on the stomach, causing acid to flow back into the esophagus.
  • Smoking: Smoke irritates your throat and esophagus, leading to lower esophageal sphincter muscle problems and increased stomach acid production.
  • Certain medications: Some medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and calcium channel blockers, can relax the lower esophageal sphincter and increase the risk of acid reflux.
  • Diet: Certain foods and drinks, such as spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol, can trigger acid reflux symptoms.
  • Stress: Your stomach acids are stimulated when you’re under stress, so try to manage your stressors as best as you can.

How long does acid reflux last?

Acid reflux is a common condition that usually goes away on its own. But sometimes, it can last for months or years. The severity of symptoms and how long symptoms last will vary depending on the cause of your condition. So how long does acid reflux last?

Most people have occasional heartburn that lasts only a few hours or minutes before it goes away.

If you experience severe symptoms for longer than that, see your doctor.

Also, acid reflux does not permanently damage the esophagus or create lasting health problems. However, it can be painful and uncomfortable if left untreated or mismanaged. Some common treatments include over-the-counter antacids, H2-blockers, and proton pump inhibitors.

Why do I have acid reflux in the morning?

There are several reasons you may experience acid reflux in the morning (aka “riser’s reflux”). Sleeping on your back (if your head, neck, and torso aren’t upright) can cause stomach contents to flow back into the esophagus.

Dehydration is another common cause of acid reflux and heartburn in the morning. If you’re not drinking enough water, your stomach acid can get backed up in your esophagus, causing painful symptoms like acid reflux and heartburn.

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It’s also possible that you ate too much salty or spicy food before bed or ate late at night, which causes your digestive system to slow down. Lastly, consuming too much caffeine throughout the day can cause acid reflux. It also increases the frequency of heartburn and indigestion attacks when it wears off before the next day.

What’s the best position to sleep in when you have acid reflux?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best sleep position for acid reflux will depend on your symptoms and preferences. However, there are a few sleep positions that may be more helpful for people with acid reflux:

  • Sleeping on your left side: This position may help to reduce the risk of acid reflux, as it can help to keep the stomach below the esophagus.
  • Sleeping at an incline: Sleeping with your head and torso elevated can help to prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus.

Experimenting with different sleep positions may be helpful to see which works best for you. You can also speak with a health care provider for personalized recommendations.

Is yogurt good for acid reflux?

Yogurt may be a good option for some people with acid reflux. It’s a low-acid food, which may help neutralize stomach acid and reduce the symptoms of acid reflux. The probiotics in yogurt can also help balance your bowel function. Additionally, yogurt is a rich source of protein, which can help promote fullness and reduce the risk of overeating, which may contribute to acid reflux.

However, it is essential to note that not all types of yogurt are suitable for people with acid reflux.

For example, flavored yogurts may contain added sugars and other ingredients that can exacerbate acid reflux symptoms. It is also important to be aware of any specific food sensitivities or allergies that you may have, as these can also affect your ability to tolerate certain types of yogurt.

What’s the best tea for acid reflux?

Tea is an excellent choice for people with acid reflux. Tea can have a calming effect on the stomach and can help to relax you while it’s working to reduce your symptoms.

Several types of tea may help alleviate acid reflux symptoms. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Chamomile tea: It has been traditionally used to help reduce inflammation and may help alleviate acid reflux symptoms. Chamomile is known to be good for acid reflux because of its soothing properties.
  • Ginger tea: Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce the symptoms of acid reflux.
Chamomile tea to ease acid reflux in the morning
  • Licorice tea: Licorice has been traditionally used to help reduce inflammation in the digestive tract and may help alleviate acid reflux symptoms. But you may want to choose another option if you’re pregnant or take medications as licorice can interact with some drugs and decrease potassium blood levels.
  • Green tea: Green tea may be helpful for acid reflux and other digestive issues. Green tea contains a group of compounds called catechins, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects and help reduce the production of stomach acid.

Is ginger good for acid reflux?

Ginger tea is undoubtedly the best tea for acid reflux. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and is an excellent choice for treating acid reflux because it can reduce heartburn symptoms.

It is effective due to its ability to reduce inflammation in the digestive system and stimulate the production of digestive juices. Some people find drinking ginger tea can help relieve acid reflux symptoms, such as heartburn and indigestion. If you are interested in trying ginger tea for acid reflux, you can make your own by brewing fresh ginger root in hot water or using ginger tea bags.

Are there any easy, acid reflux-friendly recipes?

If you’re looking for easy acid reflux recipes, here are some ideas:

  • Roasted salmon with roasted vegetables: Roast salmon filets and your choice of vegetables, such as asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes, in the oven.
  • Egg white omelet with spinach: Whip an omelet using egg whites and fill it with spinach, and diced bell peppers.
  • Grilled chicken with avocado and salad: Grill chicken breasts and serve them with a salad made from diced avocado, cucumbers, and mixed greens. Dress with olive oil.
  • Quinoa and black bean burrito bowls: Cook quinoa according to package instructions and mix it with canned black beans, and bell peppers. Serve in a bowl with shredded lettuce, diced avocado, and sour cream.

These are easy, acid reflux-friendly recipes because they don’t have any common inflammation triggers. Always speak with a health care provider or a registered dietitian if you have acid reflux and are looking for specific recipe ideas. They can help you come up with a meal plan that is safe and appropriate for your needs.


Hopefully, this article has given insight into acid reflux, why it happens, and how to deal with it. If you are experiencing symptoms of acid reflux, try making one of the easy recipes at home and taking some over-the-counter medications. But if your symptoms aren’t improving, be sure to speak to your doctor.

February 28, 2023