Garlic is delicious, low in calories, and highly nutritious. Loaded with vitamins and minerals, this pungent cousin of onions and shallots is often used to flavor dishes from pizza to meat sauces.
Modern lifestyles and diets have led to an increasing number of people suffering from acid reflux and its unpleasant symptom, heartburn. These people may follow a low-acid diet to avoid triggering such symptoms, requiring them to limit their intake of acidic foods.
This can be especially difficult to do when a common ingredient like garlic is often used to enhance flavor. Dishes that do not have garlic as the main ingredient, but only as a seasoning, would be suspect. Without it, these dishes will unlikely to trigger symptoms of heartburn.
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Does Garlic Cause Heartburn?
Although garlic is good for you, doctors advise that those suffering from acid reflux or GERD should avoid it or strictly limit their intake. Too much garlic may irritate your esophagus and stimulate the production of stomach acid.
However, not everyone reacts the same, so it might be possible to eat a little garlic if you follow a low-acid diet. But if even this triggers your symptoms, it's best to cut it from your diet completely.
What Is the pH of Garlic?
Powdered and pickled garlic have low pH levels, even lower than fresh garlic. Pickled garlic also contains a lot of additives, such as sugar and salt, which can trigger acid reflux.
How Does Garlic Give You Heartburn?
Garlic's strong taste can irritate your throat and esophagus, triggering or worsening acid reflux symptoms. This is the most common way garlic causes heartburn, especially in people not diagnosed with acid reflux or GERD.
Eating too much garlic can also lead to indigestion, which increases stomach acid production. So limit your garlic intake, especially raw garlic, to reduce the risk of heartburn.
Is Garlic Healthy?
Garlic is very nutritious but low in calories. It contains a good amount of phosphorus, calcium, manganese, selenium, vitamins C and B6, and thiamin.
Some studies suggest that garlic or garlic extract may reduce your risk of illness and help you fight the common cold. Experts believe that the compounds and nutrients in garlic help boost your immune system.
Therefore, adding garlic to your diet during the colder months might benefit your health.
Garlic also contains active compounds that help lower your blood pressure. High blood pressure is closely linked to increased stroke and heart attack risk, and research shows that garlic supplements may lower blood pressure as effectively as medication.
Adding fresh garlic or supplements containing garlic extract to your diet may also lower your bad cholesterol levels, reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Can You Eat Garlic if You Suffer from Heartburn?
Everyone’s symptom triggers are different, so you may be able to tolerate garlic if you suffer from acid reflux. Generally, raw garlic is most likely to trigger heartburn, so you could try roasting it to reduce its pungency and strong taste.
Roasted garlic is readily incorporated into sauces, soups, and marinades.
Does Garlic Butter Give You Heartburn?
Garlic butter is high in fat, which increases the likelihood of triggering heartburn. High-fat foods stay in your stomach longer, stimulating gastric acid production.
Garlic butter also tends to be high in sodium, which disrupts digestion and irritates your stomach lining.
This makes your digestive tract much more sensitive to acid and can cause heartburn and other issues. In addition, a diet high in sodium increases your risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
So, eat salty foods in moderation and only as part of a healthy diet.
Although only slightly acidic, garlic is acid-forming, which may cause heartburn in some people.
However, if it doesn't trigger your symptoms, it's an excellent addition to a healthy, balanced diet.