Lentils are a staple in Asian and North African cuisines, where they're used in soups, dahls, and curries. They're delicious, highly nutritious, and are becoming more popular in Western kitchens.
Lentils are a fantastic addition to most diets; however, many people suffer from acid reflux or GERD and often follow a low-acid diet to avoid triggering or worsening their symptoms. Such diets can be tricky to design and follow, as they require followers to know the acidity of common foods and how each affects their systems. But they can be extremely effective in curbing symptoms, particularly heartburn, which is extremely unpleasant for all acid reflux sufferers and debilitating for some.
How well do lentils fit into the meal plans of those on such a diet?
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Are Lentils Acidic?
However, everyone's symptom triggers are different, and if you can tolerate lentils, they're an excellent addition to your diet.
What Is the pH of Lentils?
Lentils have a pH of around 6.30-6.83, which is nearly neutral. However, they're acid-forming, which means that they become more acidic during digestion.
All varieties are acid-forming and may trigger or worsen your acid reflux symptoms.
Are Lentils Healthy?
Lentils are high in protein and fiber, with a cup containing 36% of the recommended daily protein intake and 63% of fiber. Protein and fiber keep you feeling full longer after eating, and fiber soaks up excess gastric acid, making acid reflux less likely.
They're also an excellent source of folate (vitamin B9), which supports red blood cell formation and cell and tissue function.
Getting enough folate is critical during early pregnancy, as it reduces the risk of brain and spine defects.
Lentils are very high in antioxidants, which flush free radicals out of your body, preventing oxidative stress and cellular damage. Each lentil variety contains different antioxidants with different properties.
Eating lentils may lower your risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular issues. One study showed that overweight people or those with type 2 diabetes increased their good HDL cholesterol levels after eating lentils for eight weeks. This type of cholesterol may lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.
However, lentils contain antinutrients, which can block nutrient absorption. Some block the production of enzymes that help break down protein.
Are Lentils Bad for Acid Reflux?
As lentils are acid-forming, they're likely to aggravate acid reflux and GERD symptoms in some sufferers. However, everyone is different, and many may be able to tolerate them.
Lentils are very rich in fiber, which soaks up excess stomach acid, making heartburn less likely.
They also contain B vitamins, which one study showed may lower the risk of reflux esophagitis resulting from persistent acid reflux.
Is Lentil Soup Bad for Acid Reflux?
Lentil soup is slightly acidic, with a pH of around 5.80.
Most recipes call for canned diced tomatoes, which are very acidic, making lentil soup likely to trigger acid reflux symptoms.
Lentil soup is also high in sodium, which can increase your risk of stroke.
However, it's highly nutritious and an excellent dietary addition if you can tolerate its acidity.
Lentils are acid-forming, which means they may worsen acid reflux and GERD in some people.