Sometimes even some ordinary and habitual food is not safe to eat. A harmless tomato, a cup of your favorite black tea, or a piece of cheese on your toast can hurt your body, especially your stomach. It’s all because the acidity of some products is higher than others. These foods cause heartburn, acid reflux, and other discomfort. That’s why it’s important to know the products that can harm your stomach and try to reduce their consumption.
Bright Side has studied the things that have low pH and that are not safe to eat in large amounts, and we can’t wait to let you know everything about this! As a bonus, we’ve included a list of products that are perfect for a low acid diet.
What are acidic foods?
Different substances, including the food that we eat, no matter if it’s solid or liquid, have a pH value. On a scale of 1 to 14, foods that have a pH less than 7, are considered acidic.
- pH 0 — a high level of acidity
- pH 7 — a neutral level of acidity
- pH 14 — a basic level of acidity (alkaline)
1. Spicy food and sauces
Spicy food and sauces can easily trigger the irritation of the lining of the esophagus and cause discomfort. Consuming a lot of spicy things usually leads to heartburn. Be careful with the amount of spicy products you consume if you want to avoid any problems with your stomach.
- pH of chili sauce — 2.8 — 3.7
2. Caffeinated beverages
Caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, and energy drinks can cause acid reflux and heartburn. They also irritate the esophagus or weaken the lower esophageal sphincter. This leads to the backward flow of stomach contents.
3. Citrus fruits and juices
Even though we often think that peppermint or spearmint can soothe our digestive system, this is wrong. High doses of spearmint can cause acid reflux and heartburn. Also, if you consume peppermint tea every day, you double your risk for developing heartburn. All you have to do here is reduce your consumption.
- pH of peppermint tea — 6 — 7
Tomatoes are highly acidic and can cause heartburn if you eat them too much. You can use sour candies as an antidote for heartburn from tomatoes. They promote saliva production and this is good for acid reflux, since saliva neutralizes the acid that comes up from your stomach.
- pH of tomatoes — 4.3 — 4.9
- pH of tomato juice — 4.1 — 4.6
- pH of tomato puree — 4.3 — 4.5
Alcoholic beverages, like wine or beer, stimulate the production of acid in the stomach, and in moderate or excessive intake can lead to heartburn. From one side, alcohol relaxes the sphincter valve, but from another side it damages the lining of the esophagus.
- pH of wine — 2.5 — 4.5
7. High-fat foods and fried foods
Fatty foods, including fried foods, are risky to eat, because they allow more stomach acid to back up into the esophagus. Products to avoid:
- Deep fried foods: French fries, onion rings, chips
- Fatty dairy products: cheese (pH 5.1 — 5.9), whole milk (pH 4.1 — 5,3), butter (pH 6.7 — 6.9), yogurt (pH 4.4 — 4.6)
- Fatty meat: fatty cuts of beef, pork, or lamb, bacon fat, ham fat, and lard (pH — 5.8)
- Nuts: cashews (pH — 5.9), walnuts (pH — 5.4)
- Greasy foods
This fat can cause heartburn because it relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter and promotes the release of the hormone cholecystokinin. Instead of deep frying your food, it’s better to bake it or grill it.
8. Fizzy drinks
Fizzy drink might seem like they do no harm, but they are actually really risky to drink. Carbonated beverages like Coca-Cola, Sprite, and Fanta put you at risk of getting acid reflux. Bubbles from these drinks expand in your stomach, put pressure on the sphincter, and push your stomach acid back into the food pipe.
- pH of Coca-Cola — 2.37
- pH of Fanta Orange — 2.82
- pH of Sprite — 3.24
9. Garlic and onion
For those who already have acid reflux, it is not recommended to eat garlic. Moreover, it can cause heartburn and an upset stomach too. Onions (especially raw) are also on the list of dangerous products. If you already have heartburn and you like eating burgers, it’s better to exclude the onions from your toppings.
10. More acidic foods to avoid
Here are some more foods you should limit if you don’t want them to affect your health:
- Corn oil
- Sugar, molasses, maple syrup, processed honey, and aspartame
- Mayonnaise, soy sauce, and vinegar
- Grains: corn, rice, wheat
Bonus: What happens to your body when you eat acidic foods?
Since the pH of our stomach juice is already higher than neutral, eating more food with the same acidity level won’t do you any good. When you consume acidic foods often it can lead to certain health problems like gastroesophageal reflux disease (or acid reflux), heartburn, tooth decay, and can even cause kidney stones.
Bonus #2: Good substitutes for acidic foods
Here is a list of the best alkaline foods that you can add to your healthy diet:
- Soy beans
- Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, green, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, cauliflower, corn, eggplant, kale, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, peas, bell peppers, potatoes, pumpkin, radishes, spinach, sprouts, squash, sweet potatoes
- Melons and bananas
- Whole grain bread
- Rice and couscous
- Grilled turkey and chicken
- Root vegetables, except onions
- Grilled or baked fish, without fatty sauces
- Egg whites
Do you enjoy eating any of these products? Have you ever had heartburn or acid reflux? How did you deal with it? Let’s discuss everything in the comment section!