Consuming foods low in acid is important on a low-acid diet. That way, you can control the symptoms of acid reflux and GERD and prevent them from escalating.
This also means that you have to be aware of the pH levels and acid content of common foods and your favorite ones.
This is especially important for fruits and vegetables as they are an important part of every diet. For example, are cranberries acidic?
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Are Cranberries Acidic?
Cranberries are an acidic fruit, which means that they should be either avoided or limited on a low-acid diet. This is because consuming too much acidic food can worsen your acid reflux and GERD symptoms, causing unpleasant complications.
Nevertheless, if you're able to tolerate cranberries in small quantities every once in a while, you can reap some impressive health benefits from these small, red berries.
What is the pH level of cranberries?
The pH of fresh, natural cranberries (including frozen, thawed) is around 3.0. This makes them moderately acidic, so you should be careful when consuming them if you suffer from any symptoms of acid reflux or GERD.
They have one of the lowest pH levels among fruits, so they can make heartburn and other ailments even worse.
Nevertheless, if you don't have particularly bad acid reflux, cranberries can be good for other digestive as well as urinary tract issues. Hence, they can be a great addition to a healthy, balanced diet, even if in small doses.
Are cranberries healthy?
Aside from their acidic profile, cranberries are considered to be a wonderful superfood, rich in many minerals and vitamins. In addition, it's not too high in calories, which means that it doesn't lead to weight gain.
Most of its caloric content comes from carbohydrates, but sugars coming from plants and fruit are the healthiest form, so it's safe to consume — as long as it's in moderation.
Cranberries also contain 22% of your daily recommended need for vitamin C. This micronutrient, also known as ascorbic acid, helps maintain your skin, tissues, and bone.
It's also a powerful antioxidant that helps boost your immune system and flush all unnecessary chemicals and compounds out of your body.
This vitamin is one of the best benefits of consuming cranberries, and it's essential for proper health. So it's a good idea to stock up on it.
These berries are also a good source of manganese. This mineral helps your body form connective tissue, bones, blood-clotting factors, and sex hormones. It also contributes to boosting your metabolism, thus preventing weight gain.
On top of that, manganese protects your brain and nerve cells from age-related damage, so it's crucial to consume enough.
Furthermore, due to a high concentration of minerals and plant compounds, consuming cranberries have been shown to help fight against urinary tract infections (UTIs).
These substances help your body fight inflammation and prevent it from progressing.
As a result, it's often recommended to drink cranberry juice or take supplements when dealing with UTIs. However, if you're following a low-acid diet, cranberry supplements might be a better choice as they're not as acidic.
Are cranberries bad for acid reflux?
Cranberries are an acidic fruit, which doesn't make them perfect for those trying to curb their acid reflux symptoms.
However, whether you should completely eliminate these berries from your diet depends on how severe your symptoms are.
For instance, if you can tolerate some acidic fruit without worsening your health, you can include cranberries in your diet, especially since they are very rich in antioxidants and many other vitamins. On the other hand, if your acid reflux or GERD symptoms are severe, it might be best to avoid cranberries and cranberry juice in particular.
Both of these are high in sugar and low in protein, so once digested, they increase the production of stomach acid.
They're also not a particularly good source of fiber, so there's nothing to soak up excess acid and prevent it from rising up your esophagus.
Is cranberry juice bad for acid reflux?
Cranberry juice is slightly more acidic than fresh cranberries, having a pH of around 2.30 to 2.52. This is because more cranberries are concentrated in cranberry juice, making it more acidic.
As a result, this juice can aggravate your acid reflux and GERD symptoms, upsetting your stomach.
As a result, doctors don't recommend consuming cranberry juice or cranberry sauce for people experiencing these symptoms.
Furthermore, cranberry juice is very high in sugar, containing almost 31g of sugar in one cup, even when it's not artificially sweetened. This is problematic since sugar tends to slow down digestion, causing increased production of stomach acid.
Furthermore, sugar causes spikes in blood sugar levels that cause an imbalance in your energy levels as well as can lead to diabetes and other health issues.
Hence, it might be best to stay away from cranberry juice and replace it with less acidic alternatives, such as apple juice.
Are dried cranberries bad for acid reflux?
Dried cranberries, just like cranberry juice, have a lower pH level than fresh cranberries. In fact, their pH level ranges between 2.40-3.00. As a result, they can be a little worse for acid reflux and GERD than fresh cranberries.
They also don't come with as many health benefits are fresh cranberries as they contain barely any minerals or vitamins. As a result, they're almost solely made up of carbohydrates.
Moreover, dried cranberries and other dried berries are very high in sugar. Just ⅓ of a cup contains 26 grams of sugar, and since people tend to consume more than that in one sitting, the calories and sugar add up.
Sugar is hard to digest, so your body has to produce more stomach acid, leading to heartburn and other issues.
As a result, if you want the benefits of cranberries, it's best to stick to the fresh ones.
Cranberries are rather acidic, so they should be consumed infrequently on a low-acid diet. This is because they can upset your stomach and esophagus, causing excess stomach acid to reflux. Furthermore, they don't have any alkalizing properties, so they also lower the pH level of your body.
On the other hand, if you can tolerate small amounts of these berries, you can get some essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that can help you stay healthy.