Carrots are weakly acidic, but they have an alkalizing effect on the body, making them an ideal food for people suffering from acid reflux.
Health benefits of carrots
Carrots (Daucus carota subsp. sativus) are root vegetables widely used in many cuisines around the world. They are typically orange in color, though some varieties come in yellow, red, white, and purple hues.
Some of the many health benefits of carrots:
- antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
- helps weight loss
- regulates blood pressure
They can be eaten raw, baked, roasted, boiled, fried, pureed, or simply chopped/grated and added to salads.
Raw carrot contains:
- water (88%)
- carbohydrates (9%)
- dietary fiber (2.8%)
- negligible amounts of proteins (0.9%) and fats (0.2%).
Carrots are a very rich source of vitamin A, with one serving of 100g providing more than 100% of the recommended daily value.
Are carrots acidic?
The pH of carrots ranges between 4.9 – 5.3, placing it on the weak acid part of the pH scale.
The acidic or alkaline nature of any food or substance is represented by a pH number, on the pH scale that runs from 0 to 14. Values less than 7 are acidic, 7 is neutral, and greater than 7 is alkaline.
However, carrots are included as part of an alkaline diet. This is because they have a net alkalizing effect on the body when consumed, as measured by their potential renal acid load (PRAL).
Is carrot juice acidic?
Carrot juice like carrot is a weak acid (with a pH value like carrot) and it has an alkalizing effect on the body when digested.
The total acidity of carrot juice is low, on average 0.25 mg of organic acids is present in 100 cm3 of juice.(source)
This means both carrots and carrot juice are probably safe for acid reflux sufferers.
Simple carrot juice is made by dicing the carrots, blending in a blender with water, and straining. Industrial processing of carrot juice is more complex, involving many steps such as crushing, enzymatic hydrolysis, pressing, filtering, pasteurization, cooling, and packaging.
Is carrot good for acid reflux?
Yes, carrot can be part of a reflux-friendly diet as it is unlikely to trigger symptoms. Carrots have several health benefits that help people with acid reflux or GERD:
Fiber in carrot prevents heartburn
Carrots are rich in fiber (2.8g per 100g of carrot). The high fiber content of carrots helps to prevent acid reflux for several reasons:
- Fiber soaks up excess acid in the stomach, preventing or limiting the occurrence of acid reflux in sensitive people.
- Fiber also promotes the growth of gut microbiota, whose population is essential in fighting off harmful bacteria and maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal tract environment.
- Fibers increase gut motility and gastric emptying resulting in better digestion and prevention of constipation, all of which are good for acid reflux.
Antioxidants fight inflammation
Carrot is an excellent source of potent antioxidants like beta-carotene and vitamin C.
These antioxidants chelate free radicals, preventing oxidative stress which results in subsequent intestinal cell death and destroys the epithelial barrier.
This process is important in maintaining the proper functioning of all body cells and preventing diseases. Oxidative stress has been demonstrated to initiate and promote intestinal inflammation and cancers, all of which are not good for acid reflux.
Micronutrients protect gastric mucosa
Carrots are rich in essential micronutrients such as minerals and vitamins (vitamins A, C E, K, and B6).
Vitamins offer protection in the stomach as they help to prevent breakdown at the level of the gastric mucosa. Damage to the stomach lining can result in inflammation and stomach ulcers that can incite acid reflux.
Is carrot juice good for acid reflux?
Carrot juice like carrot offers many beneficial effects for people suffering from acid reflux. It produces an alkalizing effect when digested, therefore it is soothing for those suffering from acid reflux and would not worsen their symptoms.
Carrot juice is rich in minerals like magnesium, and vitamins which help to prevent delayed gastric emptying (gastroparesis).
Magnesium – also used in antacids
Magnesium functions as an osmotic laxative, drawing water into the intestines which increases motility in the bowels subsequently increasing gastric emptying.
Delayed gastric emptying increases the occurrences of acid reflux cycles which aggravates symptoms in patients with gastroesophageal (GERD) reflux disease.
Magnesium is also used as an antacid and heartburn remedy for constipated individuals.
Carrot juice also contains vitamin A and beta-carotene which have anti-inflammatory properties.
Beta-carotene inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines thus offering protection to the gut, as inflammation in the gut is a trigger for acid reflux.
Raw or roasted carrot for heartburn?
As mentioned earlier, carrots do not trigger heartburn, and as such people with GERD can safely consume them.
Specific data on roasted carrots and heartburn is lacking but generally unlike frying, other cooking processes like roasting, boiling and baking have been reported to be safer as far as heartburn is concerned.
Stomach pain after eating carrots
Carrots contain carbohydrates, so stomach pain that occurs after consuming carrots is indicative of indigestion to certain carbohydrates, that remain in the digestive tract and interact with bacteria to produce gas.
Besides, since carrots are rich in fiber, excess intake can result in the presence of excess fiber in the stomach which can irritate sensitive people.
Also, excess fiber will cause excess fermentation and gas production which will cause bloating and stomach pains.
Both carrot and carrot juice have beneficial effects for acid reflux and heartburn, as they have an overall alkalizing effect on the body.
Consumption should however be moderated to avoid bloating and gas that could arise from too much fiber in the system.
It should also be noted that raw carrot contains more fiber than carrot juice since carrot juice is filtered.
Symptoms like stomach pain after eating carrots are rare and usually caused by sensitivity to carbs, fiber or simply eating too much.