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Acid reflux is a digestive disorder that causes a painful burning sensation in the center of your chest. It happens when stomach acid flows back into your esophagus, the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. This can leave you with heartburn and other symptoms such as coughing or wheezing.

In some cases, acid reflux leads to a more serious, even life-threatening illness called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter does not close appropriately between your stomach and your esophagus.

Many foods can actually help reduce acid reflux.

Vegetables: Vegetables are a great source of fiber and liquid to help neutralize stomach acid. Eat more: asparagus, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce (especially romaine), okra, peppers (sweet green and red), spinach, and tomatoes. These vegetables can be eaten raw or lightly steamed.

Ginger: Ginger contains a substance called gingerol, which can offer relief to digestive disorders. Eat more: fresh ginger, crystallized or candied ginger, dried ginger and ginger juice, pickled ginger, or pickled sushi ginger.

Peppers: Spicy peppers contain capsaicin which is an effective anti-inflammatory agent. Eat more: chili peppers (jalapeno, habanero, Thai), cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, or dried red chili peppers. You can also make your hot sauce using chili peppers diluted with vinegar and spices to help ease symptoms of acid reflux.

Fennel: Fennel helps the digestive system with contractions that help food move through the stomach. Eat more: raw or cooked fennel bulb, raw fennel fronds, anise, and licorice (which are both similar to fennel). These can add wonderful flavor to your dishes, such as soup or salad.

Fruits: Fruits provide natural sugars and liquids which can help reduce acid reflux. However, try to avoid citrus fruits, as these can irritate reflux. Eat more: bananas, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, cherries, grapefruit (white), grapes, honeydew melon, kiwi fruit, mangos, oranges (navel), papaya, passion fruit juice or pulp, raspberries, or strawberries.

By sticking to these types of foods, you can help reduce acid reflux and GERD. However, if the problem persists or causes severe discomfort, consult your doctor for further guidance.