Mushrooms are usually considered neutral in terms of acid reflux. They neither relieve nor aggravate the symptoms.
Does mushroom cause acidity?
Mushrooms are known to have a pH of 6.00 – 6.70, and as such, they are not considered acidic.
Lower pH values mean higher acidity, pH 7 is neutral and values above 7 (up to 14) mean alkalinity.
As you can see, mushrooms are slightly acidic. However, since the pH of gastric acid is around 1.5-3.5, it’s safe to say that mushrooms should not cause acidity, at least not because of their pH.
Actually, when it comes to food, the so-called potential renal acid load (PRAL) is more important than pH. This shows how much acid the stomach produces while digesting food.
Positive PRAL values mean acidity, while alkalizing foods have negative PRAL values.
The PRAL value of mushrooms is around -4 (pdf), so mushrooms are slightly alkalizing.
When do mushrooms cause acid?
While raw mushrooms are not acidic, if they are processed, they can become acidic, depending on the ingredients added:
- Cream of mushrooms: adding cream or milk can increase the acidity of mushrooms.
- Mushroom sauce: milk, cream, butter, garlic, or wine can turn the mushroom sauce into an acidic food
Ingredients like onions, tomatoes, or cheese can increase the acidity of foods containing mushrooms.
Are mushrooms hard to digest?
Raw mushrooms are hard to digest.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota compared the digestion of meat and mushrooms in 32 healthy adults. They have found that:
The mushroom diet led to greater overall gastrointestinal symptoms than the meat diet on days one and two. … The increase in stool weight and presence of undigested mushrooms in stool suggests that mushroom consumption may impact laxation in healthy adults.(source)
The main compounds that make it hard to properly digest mushrooms are:
- Raffinose: Mushrooms contain raffinose, a type of sugar that is very hard to digest.
- Mycochitin: The cell walls of mushrooms contain mycochitin, which is also very hard to digest.
Since the human body can barely break down these two materials, many people have trouble digesting mushrooms and have indigestion after eating them.
To avoid indigestion, it is recommended to steer clear of other hard-to-digest foods – like red meat – when eating mushrooms.
How to make it easier to digest mushrooms?
As mentioned above, raw mushrooms are hard to digest, however, cooking can make mushrooms easier to digest.
This is because cooking breaks down both raffinose and mycochitin into smaller, easier-to-digest molecules.
Cooking also releases many healthy nutrients and certain toxic mushrooms must be cooked to destroy the toxins. (However, some mushrooms are flat out poisonous no matter how long they are cooked! Always ask an expert, if you are unsure.)
Check out this website to find out how to prepare mushrooms so that they are easy to digest.
Do mushrooms cause gas?
Yes, for some people mushrooms might cause gas, bloating, or flatulence. High FODMAP foods are known to trigger abdominal discomfort and most mushrooms are high FODMAP.
Some common ways mushrooms can give you gas:
- Since raffinose is hard to digest, it often gets undigested in the large intestine. Bacteria start to ferment the raffinose in the colon and gas is produced.
- Mushrooms also contain mannitol, a type of sugar alcohol. During the digestion of sugar alcohols might cause gas or bloating.
indigestion might cause gas, bloating, and eventually heartburn.
Do cooked mushrooms cause gas?
As cooking breaks down the hard-to-digest large molecules in mushrooms, cooked mushrooms give less gas if any at all.
Some people have a microbiome that is more effective in breaking down the ingredients of mushrooms. Such people are less likely to have symptoms after eating mushrooms.
Others are less lucky and they might more easily have gas, bloating, or other symptoms when eating mushrooms.
Can you eat mushrooms with acid reflux?
Mushrooms are considered reflux-safe, i.e. they are not likely to trigger acid reflux symptoms even if you are prone to acid reflux or have GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease, two or more reflux episodes per week).
The two most important factors to consider when consuming mushrooms are acidity and ease of digestion.
- As mentioned above, mushrooms are not acidic and therefore they don’t cause acidity in the stomach.
- Even though mushrooms are not easily digested, they usually don’t trigger acid reflux symptoms.
Mushrooms might also produce gas, but instead of acid reflux and heartburn, the usual symptom in this case is flatulence.
If you are not sure of their effect on you, try eating a small amount one day and observe their effect before adding more.
Everyone is different, and for some people, there are some other reasons apart from the pH that might make the mushrooms have a terrible side effect.
The edible kinds of mushrooms are not known to have any harmful effects and will not cause many reactions as they are being digested. These mushrooms are safe for eating and are known to have a safe level of pH.
What is the best mushroom for acid reflux?
The best mushroom for acid reflux is a low FODMAP cooked mushroom.
- As discussed above, cooking makes it easier to digest mushrooms.
- Even though most mushrooms are high FODMAP, some are not.
Oyster, canned champignon, and dried shiitake mushrooms are a few examples of easy-to-digest low FODMAP mushrooms.
Besides indigestion and acid reflux, a few other conditions might cause symptoms after eating mushrooms. The most common ones are allergic reactions and poisoning:
Certain species of mushrooms are capable of causing symptoms of allergic reactions.
For instance, the inhalation of the spores can inflame your upper respiratory tract, thus causing watery eyes and a runny nose. You might also have a problem with your breathing when you inhale the mushroom spores.
In some cases, eating the mushrooms can cause your skin to be irritated. Consequently, this will cause rashes and hives.
Other people have also had experiences where they have swelling mouth, lips, and throats after consuming mushrooms.
When the throat swells, the person usually experiences difficulties breathing. Other signs of an allergic reaction to mushrooms include vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.
If the mushroom has caused an anaphylactic reaction, epinephrine will be used to relax the respiratory tract. If you realize that you are allergic to mushrooms, you should avoid them and other mold products like yeast.
Allergic reactions are normal if your respiratory system is sensitive to the spores, and you should not be alarmed by it.
Mushroom poisoning occurs when you ingest mushrooms containing toxins. It is not yet clear how one can differentiate between the edible mushrooms from the poisonous ones.
A mushroom hunter that is not experienced might identify the wrong kind of mushroom, leading to poisoning. The death cap mushroom and the yellow-staining mushrooms are some of the toxic types of mushrooms. Eating them may result in death.
It is not advisable to pick mushrooms unless you are an expert in the different kinds of mushrooms. Choosing the wrong one might result in mushroom poisoning, which has the potential to cause death.
Another way that you can avoid mushroom poisoning is by buying mushrooms from greengrocers, supermarkets, and sources that you can trust. This will ensure that you get mushrooms that have been picked by experts in the field and are edible and safe for you.
Some of the symptoms of poisonous mushrooms include:
- muscle weakness
- gastrointestinal illness
- liver failure and death
It would be best to get immediate medical assistance when you or a friend has signs of mushroom poisoning. Toxic mushrooms can be deadly, and you must get treated for poisoning as soon as possible.
Albeit mushrooms are considered safe for people with acid reflux and GERD, it is good to keep in mind that they are hard to digest, so consume them in moderation and cook them well before eating.
Mushrooms bought in groceries are safe to eat, however, those that were picked in the forests should be examined by an experienced specialist.