Cashews nuts
Nuts, including cashews, are high in fats, which slow down the emptying stomach.

Although not a major cause, nuts, such as cashews, can trigger heartburn in some individuals.

  • Nuts, including cashews, are high in fats, which slow down the emptying stomach.
  • This means that they can cause a distended stomach, which can exert pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter or LES.
  • The LES is a muscular ring-like structure present at the lower end of the esophagus at its junction with the stomach that prevents reflux of the acidic stomach contents into the esophagus.

When gastric emptying is slowed, as occurs with fatty foods, the acidic stomach contents can pass back into the esophagus causing heartburn. This may specifically be seen when consuming cashew and other fatty foods in excess.

Some people may have tree-nut allergies including cashew allergies. They may develop symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and indigestion when consuming cashews.

Which foods cause heartburn

Heartburn is a feeling of discomfort or burning pain felt in the chest.

  • It is typically felt in the center of the chest right behind the breastbone or sternum. 
  • The burning sensation is generally felt in the lower chest although it may travel upward as well.

Heartburn usually occurs after eating spicy or fatty foods or when a person lies down or sleeps right after eating a meal.

Table 1. Some of the foods that may trigger heartburn
Food category Examples
Fatty and spicy foods French fries, fried chicken, bacon, beef, high-fat steak, onion rings, pizza, chips
Fruits

Orange, grapefruit, tomato

Beverages Tea, coffee, alcohol, sodas, hot chocolate
Vegetables Creamed or fried vegetables, onions, garlic
High-fat dairy High-fat or whole milk, cream cheese, cottage cheese, cream, high-fat ice cream
Nuts Cashew, walnuts, hazelnuts
Miscellaneous Chocolate, peppermint, pepper, hot sauces

Which foods are safe for heartburn

People who regularly experience heartburn may safely consume the following foods:

Table 2. Some of the foods that can be eaten by people with heartburn
Food category Examples
Grains Oatmeal, brown rice, couscous, quinoa
Vegetables Potato, broccoli, carrots, yam, zucchini, sweet potato, beet, asparagus, green beans, cauliflower, lettuce, cucumber
Fruits Banana, melon, papaya, grapes, berries
Beverages Most fruit juices except those containing citrus fruits, clear soups, herbal tea
Dairy products Low-fat milk, cheese, and cream
Meat Fish, skinless chicken, low-fat steak
Miscellaneous Fennel, egg whites, tofu, low-fat mayo, thyme, rosemary, basil, cilantro

Tips to prevent and treat heartburn

How to avoid heartburn:

  • Eat small meals
  • Chew food well
  • Do not lie down for about two to three hours of eating a meal
  • Avoid fatty and spicy foods
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Avoid wearing tight clothes and belts
  • Avoid beverages and foods that worsen symptoms
  • Avoid sugary foods and beverages including sodas

Over-the-counter medications, such as antacids, may help manage heartburn symptoms. Certain home remedies, such as nonfat milk and lemon water, may also help relieve symptoms.

Heartburn can be a symptom of underlying conditions, such as peptic ulcers or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It is also common in pregnant women and overweight individuals.

Occasional heartburn may occur in most people, however, if a person gets frequent heartburn or symptoms worsen over time, they should consider visiting healthcare professional.

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Medically Reviewed on 1/3/2022
References
Johns Hopkins Medicine. GERD Diet: Foods That Help with Acid Reflux (Heartburn). https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/gerd-diet-foods-that-help-with-acid-reflux-heartburn

Cedars Sinai. Heartburn and Acid Reflux: What You Need to Know. https://www.cedars-sinai.org/blog/what-causes-heartburn-and-acid-reflux.html