Many people who often suffer from heartburn report that spicy foods — onions and garlic among them — are one of the worst triggers of acid reflux .
Research has made it quite clear that changed dietary habits can greatly minimize episodes of heartburn and that food is a natural heartburn remedy in itself. Hence, many medical professionals advise people with frequent heartburn, or with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), to avoid the foods known to cause heartburn in some people altogether. Chocolate, coffee, tomatoes, alcohol, peppermint, fatty foods, and spicy foods are all on this list of "banned foods on an acid reflux diet". 
It so happens that the foods and drinks people with heartburn are often advised to avoid are also many people's all-time favorites — and saying goodbye to spicy foods, onions, and garlic is really quite upsetting to some.
Maybe it's not quite that simple.
Spicy Foods May Trigger Heartburn, But Research Is Inconclusive
Here's what we know about heartburn:
- Episodes of heartburn can be triggered by consuming certain foods
- Certain risk factors, like obesity and pregnancy, make it more likely that you will suffer from heartburn
- A weakened esophageal sphincter makes it easier for stomach acid to back up into the esophagus, leading to heartburn
- Esophageal hypersensitivity is another major cause of heartburn [3, 4, 5]
People who suffer from chronic heartburn are, however, most likely to identify fried foods, spicy foods, and alcohol as dietary products that trigger individual episodes of acid reflux, one study suggested — perhaps because these foods relax the esophageal sphincter.  This does not mean that all people who are prone to heartburn get it after eating a spicy meal, just that some do.
It gets much more interesting, though.
Research suggests that Asian populations are less likely to suffer from chronic heartburn than Western populations . We all know that Asian cuisine is generally much spicier than Western cuisine — so if spicy foods really consistently led to heartburn or made it worse, shouldn't we be seeing much higher rates of GERD, the chronic form of heartburn, in Asian countries?
That's not all, either. Some studies even suggest that the heavy chili pepper consumption seen in many Asian countries is the reason for the lower rates of heartburn seen in those countries! Asian populations are not, research shows, less likely to experience acid regurgitation, but those who frequently consume chili peppers are less likely to experience that acid regurgitation as heartburn. This could be due to a desensitization of capsaicin receptors in the esophagus. 
So, Should You Avoid Spicy Foods If You Suffer From Chronic Heartburn?
If you're frequently plagued by episodes of heartburn and you are desperately looking for natural heartburn remedies and ways to get rid of heartburn, one of the best things you can do is to start a food journal. Jot down what you eat and when you get heartburn. In time, you will see an emerging pattern and may determine that particular foods trigger your heartburn, while others do not have much of an impact at all.
While you are doing this, keep in mind that:
- Citrus fruits can trigger heartburn
- Heartburn and alcohol are correlated
- Tomatoes are a frequent cause of heartburn
- Peppermint leads to heartburn in some people
- Heartburn and caffeine are linked
This means that it's best to avoid eating and drinking these things together while trying to figure out what triggers your heartburn. If you make a spicy tomato curry and then have an orange and a coffee afterward, you still don't know which one is to blame for your acid reflux.
Besides re-examining your diet, you should also consider adjusting how you eat — eating smaller meals more frequently rather than three large meals may help you get rid of heartburn  and it's also best to avoid eating anything in the three hours before you go to bed .