3 Condiments That Cause Acid Reflux and Heartburn

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Acid reflux is a common condition affecting more than 60 million Americans at least once a month. Around 15 million people experience it daily, which can result in significant stress and pain. Unfortunately, many things cause acid reflux, such as overeating, smoking, obesity, and pregnancy, possibly requiring a lifestyle change to keep symptoms at bay.

The good news is that by adjusting your diet, you can ease your symptoms or prevent acid reflux flare-ups from occurring at all. Although most people look at cutting out whole viands from their diet, the acid reflux-causing culprit is often found in the condiments and seasoning found in dishes. While it seems like a small part of your plate, it can trigger the most painful symptoms.

Here are three condiments that cause acid reflux and heartburn:

1. Garlic and Onions

Although these two superfoods are full of nutritional benefits, they trigger acid reflux and heartburn due to their acidic content. It can also worsen esophageal inflammation. Still, it’s essential to look at how you’re consuming these spices; they’re at their most acidic when eaten raw, so cooking them well before consuming them may lower the risk of triggering acid reflux and heartburn. Be sure to avoid raw garlic and onions as often as possible and eat them in small amounts. Consider cooking meals with aromatics like fennel, celery root, and bell peppers since they offer plenty of flavor while still being friendly to your stomach.

2. Ketchup

Ketchup is one of the most basic condiments that you can easily find everywhere. Unfortunately, it’s highly acidic, given its tomato base. Tomatoes by themselves are acidic, and when they’re processed into ketchup, the product becomes more acidic.

If you love slathering your food with ketchup, you may want to look for an alternative. Apart from its acidic content, ketchup does not hold much nutritional value, so consider swapping it for fresh salsa, which is much more nutritious and friendlier to your gut.

3. Hot Sauce

Hot sauce is an easy way to spice things up, so it is a staple in many people’s diets. People love dumping tons of hot sauce on everything from eggs to rice to sandwiches, which means very few are willing to give it up. Unfortunately, if you struggle with acid reflux and heartburn, spicy foods are one of the worst ones you could eat since it almost immediately activates the acids in your stomach. It then causes the acid to go up your esophagus, triggering acid reflux.

If you’re trying to heal from it, try to stay away from intensely spicy foods, especially if you don’t want to give them up forever. Cutting back your spicy food intake or at least reducing the amount of spice and hot sauce you put in your meals will help you manage your acid reflux symptoms, but it won’t eliminate it. If the pain gets too unbearable, consider eliminating spicy food from your diet altogether.


These three condiments are universally loved for their flavor and unique taste. However, due to their acidic content, they can also trigger painful symptoms of acid reflux. By reducing your intake of these condiments, you’ll experience an improvement in diet-induced acid reflux.

If you have more questions about heartburn, like wondering if probiotics help with acid reflux, check out our guides at Reflux Away. We regularly publish guides and articles that elaborate on what heartburn is, how it affects your mind and body, and what you can do to treat it. Sign up for our newsletter today to get the latest tips straight to your inbox!