Even though experts are still debating on the foods that worsen acid reflux, some foods have proven to be problematic for many people. One of the best ways of controlling reflux symptoms is by eliminating foods that aggravate it.
Highly acidic fruits are discouraged for people with acid reflux.
That’s because they promote the release of acid in your stomach causing the onset of irritating reflux symptoms like heartburn. If you’re trying to manage acid reflux, start by eliminating or reducing the intake of the following fruits:
- Oranges and orange juice
Note that there’s no specific diet that has been proven efficient in preventing acid reflux. However, some foods and fruits are said to be helpful for some people.
Research shows that taking fiber in high amounts specifically from fruits and vegetables can help reflux patients.
But, scientists remain unsure of how fiber reduces/prevents acid reflux symptoms. Nevertheless, consuming dietary fiber is a good idea.
Apart from giving relief to reflux symptoms, fibers also help promote regular bowel movements along with other benefits.
Why do highly acidic fruits give you heartburn?
Our bodies have a 7.4 controlled blood pH level. This is slightly alkaline.
We maintain this pH through common mechanisms like urinating and breathing.
However, pH varies in different body parts. The stomach for instance has an acidic pH of 1.3-3.5 to help break down foods we eat.
But for people with reflux, this pH is usually highly acidic. So, when one eats these high acidic fruits, they increase reflux symptoms, like heartburn, chest pain, bloating, coughing, etc.
Citrus fruits for instance like limes, oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are acidic. They’re categorized as reflexogenic which means that they cause or worsen acid reflux.
Another problem is the high sugar content of juices made from such fruits. Orange juice is especially popular, but it is full of sugar and therefore can give you heartburn and other reflux symptoms.
It’s why the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) advises reflux patients to reduce their intake of these fruits.
However there are studies that actually advise using lemon water to help acid reflux.
But, if citrus fruits don’t worsen reflux symptoms for you, don’t cut them completely off from your diet even if you have acid reflux as they’re loaded with numerous health benefits.
Pineapples, on the other hand, while they contain many beneficial nutrients, they’re said to be highly acidic. They lie between 3-4 on the pH scale which means they can trigger acid reflux.
However, doctors argue that fresh pineapples contain bromelain which may help improve reflux symptoms.
Whether these fruits affect reflux depends on the person, but you may want to avoid drinking pineapple juice as it has a low concentration of bromelain.
What other options do I have?
Individuals suffering from acid reflux can eat a variety of non-citrus fruits like watermelons, bananas, berries, apples, and pears among others. These fruits are recommended for acid reflux as they have low acidity levels along with tons of health benefits.
Read our article about the best foods for acid reflux!
Additionally, it’s also wise that you include certain vegetables, lean proteins, healthier fats, and complex carbohydrates in your diet.
Other helpful tips that you can practice include;
- Chewing gum helps increase saliva production and reduces acid in the esophagus. But avoid peppermint or spearmint.
- Limit your alcohol intake or completely avoid it, alcohol is a common acid reflux trigger.
- Maintain a good posture during and after meals. Don’t lie flat immediately after eating. Also, sit upright while eating. Additionally, you can stand up and walk after eating to help gastric juices flow in the right direction.
Eating right for acid reflux doesn’t mean that you eliminate all your favorite foods from your diet. Simply by making a few modifications, you can help minimize reflux symptoms.
Aim at creating a healthy diet that doesn’t trigger or worsen acid reflux.
Frequently asked questions
Is pineapple good for acid reflux?
It is debated, whether pineapple relieves or aggravates heartburn and other reflux symptoms.
Some say it should be avoided as it is highly acidic, others say its bromelain content helps digestion, therefore it relieves acid reflux.
Unless you are allergic to pineapples you can try eating small amount of pineapple and see if it gives you heartburn.
Why does fruit give me indigestion?
Digestive problems after eating certain fruits can be either allergic reactions (rare) or acid reflux (common). It’s a good idea to use a food diary to see which fruits are causing you indigestion.
You should also consider that indigestion might not be caused by the fruits. If you ate spicy, fatty or sugary foods, that could be the culprit.